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Thursday, September 6, 2012

God, Israel, and damage control


Oops! The Democrats omitted reference to God and to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in their 2012 platform. Republicans attacked and so damage control was the order of the day.
As shown on the appended video Antonio Ramón Villaraigosa Mayor of Los Angeles and high profile Latino representative in the drama chaired the session that suspended the rules and introduced the amendments. To introduce the amendment itself Ted Strickland was chosen. He has a Master of Divinity degree and was former governor of Ohio. This is all meant to show that the appropriate high level Democrats all love God and Israel.
When the vote is taken the chair is obviously perplexed at the result. The vote needs a two thirds majority to pass. Instead of somehow arranging an actual recorded vote which was obviously much too complicated for the Democrats the chair was given the responsibility of assessing the decibel levels.
This might work had the will of the convention attendees been clear. But it was not. As you can hear on the video. The result is not clear. To his credit Villaraigosa accepted this and so voted again with almost exactly the same result. Puzzled the chair took a third vote with the same unclear result.
No doubt Villaraigosa knew that the amendment was supposed to pass and so he declared that it had passed in the opinion of the chair on the third vote. There were quite a few boos. We can expect the Republicans to gloat on this result and use it to go after the Democrats again.
The Democratic Party, they can claim, is filled with atheists and anti-Semites who boo God and hate Israel. It is not clear who originally removed the clauses from the 2012 platform when they were in the 2008 document.
No doubt many think that it is not really appropriate to incorporate reference to faith in a political platform. The United States is not supposed to be a theocracy. However religion obviously plays a huge role in U.S. politics. Imagine if you can the uproar if the Democrats had chosen an Imam to announce that reference should be made to Allah in the Democratic platform! Marketing of the Democratic brand must be carefully managed so as not give offense while attracting votes.
Every U.S. president has taken the position that the status of Israel should be decided through negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians. However the Jewish lobby is also very important in U.S. politics. Proper rituals must be played out to show that Israeli demands are front and center in American politics. American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) members were apparently involved as the 2012 Democratic Platform was drafted. However they may not have read the final text.
When the Republicans, including Romney. used the omission of required references to Jerusalem to question Obama's pro-Israel credentials obviously action had to be taken immediately. Obama apparently personally intervened to have references to God and Jerusalem as the capital of Israel put back in the platform. As you can see from watching the video appended the Democratic convention is far from democratic.


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