Responding to a hissy fit ginned up by a random Weekly Standard writer, and carried along by Fox News, Democrats just changed their platform a day after they adopted it, adding language saying that “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel,” and adding a reference to God.
Both parts were in the 2008 platform, but were removed this year. Sources indicate that most of the stakeholders who saw copies of the platform prior to the unveiling had no problem with the language previously. But Daniel Halper, a writer for the Weekly Standard, compared the language between 2008 and 2012, and wrote that Democrats “removed pro-Israel language” from the platform. Evening broadcasts on Fox News included graphics saying “No Jerusalem in Dem platform.” (Incidentally, this is a BS issue.) In addition, conservatives tried to stir a similar kerfuffle over the omission of a reference to Americans’ “God-given talents.” Mitt Romney pounced on this as well.
Last night, Democrats put on what most observers agreed was a successful series of campaign speeches. It would be hard to believe that these hits on the platform document would have been anything close to a story within a few days. Nevertheless, Democrats felt the need to amend their platform, one day later. In order to do this, they had to suspend the rules to amend after the fact. This required a 2/3 vote of the delegates. Acting convention chair Antonio Villaraigosa took a voice vote and decided that he got 2/3 –
which was very questionable which he did. Then Ted Strickland, the former Ohio governor, who delivered a powerful populist speech last night, made the motion to add back the Jerusalem and God references into the platform. That also needed a 2/3 vote. Villaraigosa asked for another voice vote, and clearly got an equal number of Ayes and Nos, if not a majority in the negative. Villaraigosa asked again, and got the same result. He looked around, not knowing what to do. He asked a THIRD time, and that time he just decided to lie and claim that he got a 2/3 vote. So he rammed through the platform changes. (Here’s the video.)
The Republican noise machine, then, successfully changed the Democratic platform document, a day after the fact. For context, there were lots and lots of liberals who spoke out about deficiencies in the platform, on housing, on civil liberties, on all kinds of subjects. None of them merited a change. But when one Weekly Standard writer and a group of trolls carp, Democrats leap to attention. Never mind that this kind of tactic never once leads to conservatives somehow letting up on their criticism. The olive branches never lead to anything positive.
What we saw last night is how Democrats often talk and campaign. What you saw today with the platform is how they govern.
UPDATE: Clearly AIPAC rules the Democratic Party and has for some time; they play a role here. But I find it impossible to believe that they never saw the platform before yesterday: how this works usually is that stakeholders clear the language. Also, the addition of the “God” reference as a last-minute platform change, just an offhand reference to “God-given talents,” suggests that AIPAC (who clearly wouldn’t care about that) wasn’t driving the boat on this.
Changes between the 2008 Democratic Party platform’s language on Israel and the 2012 version were due to a deliberate effort to refocus the platform toward President Barack Obama’s policies, two officials directly involved in its drafting process told The Cable.
Leading pro-Israel groups such as AIPAC were heavily involved in the platform-drafting process, saw final language of the draft platform, and told platform drafters they were satisfied with it, both officials said.
AIPAC denied this, but only after the omission of the Jerusalem language became controversial.
…Obama personally intervened to get the platform changed, by the way, according to multiple sources.