Unforced Errors

Earlier this week, in Charlotte, North Carolina, there was a rather loud and boisterous kerfuffle regarding the actual language of the 2012 Democratic Party platform. The original language of the platform had expunged all references to God and had omitted long-held stances on the subject of Israel—two staples of the DNC platforms for the last several decades. Several conservative groups and the GOP (not necessarily and usually, not often the same thing)—in what turned out to be a brilliant piece of strategy, planned or not—called enough attention to the change in the party platform that, in a blatant attempt to save face and a short-sighted effort to deflect the wrath of the American people, the DNC was forced to hastily convene the delegates and call for a voice vote to set the record straight. The party bosses must have felt it would be a relatively easy job to hold the vote and then arrange to spin the whole affair as a simple oversight.

This quickly backfired on them. National networks with TV cameras rolling caught the voice vote live, complete with boos from the delegates over the language change. Those opposed were so vociferous in their objection, the chair had to call for a vote three times, and in the end, can be clearly seen, flummoxed, flustered and fiercely determined to ensure that the party’s politically expedient stance new stance would be upheld even if the ayes of the 2/3 majority had to be imagined “in the opinion of the chair”.

If this political battle were a chess game, at this point it would have amounted to an early check by the GOP and the capturing of a knight from the DNC. The inevitable spin afterwards amounted to a pawn sacrifice.

Despite the outcry from the GOP and others, there really was no need for this to become such a big deal—it was a mere tempest in a teapot as a friend of mine is fond of saying. The First Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees all of us the right to practice religion as we see fit, or not, if that is our choice, even if that choice is not politically expedient.

The political pandering by the DNC to “fix the oversight” was deplorable and an obvious attempt to pander to a larger block of voters. All in all, it was a string of unforced errors, but that’s just the unofficial view.