What a weird Democratic National Convention! The two most popular speakers by far — Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton — aren’t running for office. And the man who is supposed to be the Master Orator of the 21st century, Barack Obama, gave one of the flattest, most disappointing talks of his career.
More on that in a moment. First, I’ll discuss what had to be the strangest moment of a very strange convention: The bungled effort to change the Democratic Party platform after it had been approved.
It all began when the people framing the party platform decided to delete all references to God. If allowed to stand, it would have marked the first time the Creator was not acknowledged in the platform of either major political party.
When the omission sparked a ton of media comments and Republican criticism, word came down from high — no, not heaven, but the Obama White House — that the platform had to be amended — immediately.
Antonio Villaraigosa, the mayor of Los Angeles, was serving as chairman of the convention when the effort was made to put God back in the platform. He read the new language, then called for a voice vote to approve it. He told the assembled delegates that the change had to be approved by a two-thirds majority.
When he called for the “ayes” and “nays,” he and the assembled multitude got quite a shock. The “ayes” didn’t get anywhere near the two-thirds approval necessary. Many commentators who were there in person thought that the “nays” actually got more votes.
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Chip Wood (photo)