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What the Platform Fiasco Says About the Dems

Spectacle is evidence of incompetence, not anti-Israel conspiracy.

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Virginia Delegates at the 2012 DNC(AP)

You’re going to hear a lot in the coming days about the omission of Jerusalem (and reference to God) from the Democratic party platform, and how when party leadership attempted to reinstate the language—which had been present in previous platforms—the change was shouted down and booed by the assembled DNC delegates. Is the language’s initial removal an indication of President Obama’s secretly anti-Israel agenda? And is the adverse reaction to its reinstatement a demonstration of the profoundly anti-Israel feeling which animates the Democratic Party? Not quite. This entire sorry spectacle is not evidence of a conscious conspiracy, but rather mostly an exercise in incompetence.

To start, we need to understand one basic fact: Party platforms are utterly irrelevant. Here’s my former boss, Professor Walter Russell Mead explaining this point last week:

Hungry for story lines, any story lines, the press has occasionally tried to gin a little bit of drama out of fights over the party platform, but the honest truth is that no party platform means anything in American politics anymore. No president refers back to the platform in framing legislation, no congressional leader uses it to set the legislative agenda, no living soul ever reads or quotes it for any purpose whatever. …They are dead letters, produced out of a sense of ritual and to the extent they have any purpose whatever, they are idle playgrounds aimed at keeping clueless party zealots busy counting coup and scoring imaginary points.

Precisely because modern party platforms are empty and inconsequential, no one really polices them, even on important policy positions. Thus the RNC platform opposes all abortions with no exceptions for rape, incest or threat to the life of the mother, but no recent GOP presidential candidate—including Mitt Romney, John McCain and George W. Bush—has ever run on that.

More broadly, take a look at some of the weirdest bits from the current RNC platform that were shoe-horned in by party activists, including calls for a return to the Gold Standard and to fight creeping Sharia law.

Similarly, the DNC platform’s Africa agenda has stopping Joseph Kony as its top priority—more important, apparently, than anti-AIDS efforts. And so on. There’s simply nothing authoritative about the platform, and nothing necessarily representative of the broader party and candidate it purports to stand for, whether President Obama or Mitt Romney.

But what about the drama on the convention floor, when many delegates opposed the amendments to reintroduce the language on God and Jerusalem? Does that reveal some deep-seated animus towards Israel (and religion) within the Democratic party? Among some convention delegates, perhaps. In the rest of the party, not so much. Here’s why:

First, the people who attend national party conventions as delegates are the true believers. You have to either be a local elected official or fulfill a complex set of requirements to be chosen. Only the absolutely, unreservedly committed make it. (Trust me, I’ve been interviewing these people for the last two weeks.) This is a deliberate screening process—it’s meant by both parties to reward the faithful and curate the most enthusiastic television audience. But it can backfire when you want to insert a moderate position into your platform—whether on Israel, God, or abortion—and you have the most radical elements of your party on the floor doing the voting.

Which brings us to the second point, which is that the left-fringe of the Democratic Party—rather than the rank-and-file—is undeniably much more critical of Israel than the American and Democratic mainstream, much like the global left. That definitely played a role in the opposition to the Jerusalem language on the convention floor, as well as the opposition to the inclusion of God. But it says much less about the rest of the party, which consistently polls pro-Israel and pro-God.

Moreover, it’s crucial to keep in mind a third point, which is that these delegates personally participated in the voting on the party platform on Tuesday and enthusiastically adopted it. For a party bigwig to then get up on the podium and unilaterally propose post facto revisions is effectively to tell these individuals “you screwed up.” Naturally, this wasn’t well received, and was viewed as an anti-democratic attempt by party elites to impose positions on the delegates. Had the previous language on Jerusalem been in the platform to begin with, I doubt delegates would have cared. But once it was removed from the initial draft and ratified, delegates were committed to what they’d chosen.

As for how the original offending language (or lack thereof) got into the platform in the first place, Shmuel Rosner reports that former Congressman Robert Wexler, current president of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, oversaw the drafting of this portion of the platform. Rosner suspects that this situation is a “case of a man who knows too much.”

He has too much of an opinion on the ‎issues to be able to think about the platform with the required simplicity. As he ‎omitted Jerusalem he was thinking—and I’m speculating here—about Israeli-‎Palestinian negotiation and leaving this issue for the two sides to determine, he was ‎thinking about Obama not taking sides so as not to alienate the Palestinians, he was ‎trying to be smart about it – and ended up damaging the party. Instead of doing the ‎simple, obvious thing, and repeating the 2008 language as not to make waves, Wexler ‎was trying to demonstrate his wits and mastery of the issues.

So basically, what transpired at the DNC was the result of a silly but well-intentioned mistake compounded by the fact that the convention floor was the absolute worst place to rectify it. (Note also that this sort of chaos broke out at the RNC when Republican Party leadership essentially disenfranchised Ron Paul supporting-delegates. I was there and saw it firsthand—but you barely heard a thing about the incident in the media because it didn’t involve the perpetually over-reported Israel. Party radicals protesting on the convention floor isn’t uncommon, just under-covered.)

All in all, this unfortunate episode is not revealing of anything that we didn’t already know, namely that (a) convention delegates are more radical than representative of their party’s broader constituency and (b) the far-left of the Democratic party is less pro-Israel than the rest of America.

It’s not an exoneration of the Democratic Party by any means. But it’s also not an indictment.

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shameful pandering on your part to cover for both the democrats and Obama, this had nothing to do with “incompetence”, this was intentionally done by Obama in order to reflect his views, he ordered the change and the DNC followed it. Your entire article is a lie, how gullible and obtuse do you think your readership is?, this reminds me of the Judenrats hustling the newly arrived prisoners into the gas chambers while assuring them they were going to take a shower, anything to stay alive in Obama’s far left camp eh?

Politico: Obama had approved dem platform with Jerusalem and god omissions prior to convention,”did not seek to change it”

http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=4260B28F-F657-4D3A-9E72-38BD9238C7A4

on Tuesday, the DNC spoke to CNN who stated the they changed the Israel platform to “reflect Obama’s policies”

http://weaselzippers.us/2012/09/05/dnc-says-jerusalem-was-deleted-from-democratic-platform-to-reflect-obamas-policy/

christopherhobemorrison says:

The call from American politicians for Jerusalem to be capital of Israel is irrelevant to an election except as an exercize in brown-nosing. The Republican Party has made brown-nosing the basis of its platform and policies. The only people who think this little cat fight is important are trolls for the Republican Party, and we see an example in golem. If you look at what he is saying you can see him drooling on his shoes.

Gaspar says:

I think this is more than generalized incompetence – it’s incompetence at covering up a growing alienation from Israel and even acceptance of anti-Semitism in the Democratic party. The idea that Democrats’ problem was their incompetence at a cover-up does not comfort me. I have always voted for Democrats, but I wish there were a movement now for Jewish Democrats to re-register as Independents, just to remind the Democratic party not to take us for granted. I may re-register just to make a point.

mishamb says:

Wow, that’s a lot of spin in a little space. Since Rosenberg is
evidently working as a Democratic party activist and not a journalist,
it’s worth breaking down what he really said here. He’s right that
Israel has broad support among Democrats and among Americans in general
for that matter — something close to 70 percent among Americans, less
among Democrats. (This of course doesn’t mean Americans support all of
Israel’s policies, but that’s a different debate.)

But the spin, as opposed to journalism comes in here: “First, the people who attend national party
conventions as delegates are the true believers. You have to either be a
local elected official or fulfill a complex set of requirements to be
chosen. Only the absolutely, unreservedly committed make it… But it can backfire when you want to insert a
moderate position into your platform—whether on Israel, God, or
abortion—and you have the most radical elements of your party on the
floor doing the voting. ”

In plain language, not spin,
what this means is that the most committed Democrats — the ones who run
the local parties, the ones who often volunteer on local elections and
staff the offices of elected officials and go on to run for public
office, really don’t like Israel very much. It’s pretty straight
forward. Why nobody will admit it is beyond me.

Unless those who
have a more moderate view on Israel step up and take action on this, the
Democratic party will eventually become the anti-Israel party and
because so much of the rhetoric used against Israel is grounded in
antisemitism, the Democrats will eventually become the party of Jew
hatred. This won’t happen overnight, but if people keep their heads in
the sand about what’s going on, it will eventually happen.

By the
way, I probably haven’t voted for more than one Republican in the last
25 years and that Republican was John Warner, R Va., after he spoke out
against extremest Republicans. I though courage like that deserved to be
rewarded. I wish somebody in the Democratic party had that kind of
courage now.

Beatrix17 says:

Elliot
Abrams in Wall Street Journal 9/5/12 shows how the Democratic
platform over the years follows its historical stances, in this
instance on Israel. Platforms are important for this reason.

And I
think the omission of Jerusalem in this year’s Democratic platform is
significant. Perhaps, it was just premature. The opposition to
restoring Jerusalem as a plank didn’t seem to be resulting from the
delegate’s ego, but from a significant segment of the audience. The
cameras focused on angered Arab Americans and we know the left is
anti-Israel. None of this can be dismissed or treated lightly.

i’d rather a party “brown-nosed” the Jewish electorate and Israel than show extreme hostility to it, allied with it’s enemies, stood silent while they were castigated and demonized by it’s neighbors and International bodies, and promoted the narrative of it’s enemies whilst completely ignoring the plight of it’s citizens, this act by Obama was just the final chapter of years of similar “irrelevance”

“yep, nothing to see here move along now, those are the showers down the path, you’ve had a long train journey, we need to make sure you’re clean, just leave all your things on the ground over there first, you can trust me, i’m Jewish just like you!”

i’d rather a party “brown-nosed” the Jewish electorate and Israel than show extreme hostility to it, allied with it’s enemies, stood silent while they were castigated and demonized by it’s neighbors and International bodies, and promoted the narrative of it’s enemies whilst completely ignoring the plight of it’s citizens, this act by Obama was just the final chapter of years of similar “irrelevance”

“yep, nothing to see here move along now, those are the showers down the path, you’ve had a long train journey, we need to make sure you’re clean, just leave all your things on the ground over there first, you can trust me, i’m Jewish just like you!”

jeannebodine says:

Is it worth it? Selling your soul & the people of Israel for a politician? I believe you know in your heart that our President detests Israel. I am an Irish Catholic who weeps for our brethren in Israel & prays every day that G-d will keep them safe until we can replace Obama with someone who will reflect America’s position as a true & lasting ally of Israel.

Shame on all the Jewish people who are jumping to defend such an ugly attempt to please Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians by removing Jerusalem from the platform. There should be zero tolerance and zero defense for such actions. Completely irrelevant in what party this happens! Shame on you all!!! Am ISRAEL Hai.

It seems to me that as an American Jew issues like the separation of church and state are central, as well as the issues of Tikkun Olam. Whatever work needs to be done on the democratic platform in terms of Israel, it is far better on issues of importance to American Jews (choice, secular education, healthcare, reasonable taxation) than the republican platform.

Pam Green says:

Yes, and Obama didn’t even come to the convention when all of this erupted; he stayed in his hotel room, they said. And of course there’s been no apology. And then they humiliated Rabbi Wolpe, and forced him to stay there at the convention after everyone left, to say his prayer to an empty stadium! These were intentional insults, not “incompetence”. And they were seen around the world, signaling to anti-Semites and Islamist terrorists that Israel is fair game.

There’s also the rumor that Obama has let Iran known, through European third-parties, that he will not support an Israeli attack as long as Iran doesn’t touch American ships and hardware in the ME. What more does Obama have to do to convince Jews to vote Republican?

In any case, scapegoating Wexler is a new twist on this story. This is the first I heard that it was Wexler who changed the language of the platform. Can we believe this? I don’t.

Pam Green says:

How can you say this when Obama didn’t help homeowners, didn’t back Wisconsin or Occupy, didn’t prosecute a single bankster but prosecuted more government whistleblowers than all other presidents combined, took away collective bargaining rights of unions, stood with Monsanto against family farms, allowed fracking, renewed BP’s contracts and opened the Arctic to drilling, and passed horrific laws giving himself the powers of a dictator! And this is just his domestic policy! He is not helping the middle class or the poor. He is a sham.

This article was like the tap dancing scene that Richard Gere did in the movie Chicago.

It’s funny that you think “Rosenberg is evidently working as a Democratic party activist and not a journalist.” The articles he wrote covering the RNC last week were frequently accused of being too pro-Republican. I personally think the things he says are simply often things people don’t want to hear, because people are more comfortable demonizing one side or the other when it comes to politics.

mira375 says:

This is one huge rationalization. A convention hall full of local elected officials from across the nation is the fringe of the party? Please.

juanito says:

Yes, sell yourself to the highest bidder.

I’m still dizzy from the spinning in this article.
What REALLY happened is obvious to anyone who watched, and has watched, the tactics of the political parties

Scene 1 [behind the scenes] The Democratic party, unable to stand on their record, discusses methods to incite “party spirit” and improve the voting in their favor among those they have not impressed (and to whom they have done much to harm or little to help) during the current term. An idea is floated and accepted: Let’s create a platform that doesn’t reference God or Israel. Then we get an up-and-coming to say “the president doesn’t like this and wants to ensure the country and the world knows he is FOR God and FOR Israel”. Amendments to add God and Israel will be floated, and then a public, floor vote will be held where all America can hear how IMPORTANT God is to them. THAT should keep the independents and religious left from going towards Romney and cast their vote, in good conscience, for Obama. And so it begins…

Scene 2 [DNC convention, opening] A platform, purposely devoid of God (for the purpose outline above) is proposed and voted on. It is passed and the platform is accepted. (This seems to be going well. As predicted the “other side” is making some noise about not seeing any reference to God and is unsure what to make of it)

Scene 3 [DNC convention floor, with considerable more fanfare than the original platform vote] One up-and-coming introduces another up-and-coming as having an amendment for the platform. As planned, up-and-coming #2 says “the president wants it” (and of course he and others in the party want it – have to show solidarity). As planned, the new platform WITH God and Israel clearly stated is displayed and a vote is taken.

The vote is taken audibly and looking for a 2/3 response in favor of the amendment to include God. Up-and coming #1 takes the vote and begins to say his scripted comment “the 2/3 vote is in and the amendment is carried”. However, since the audible vote is clearly NOT 2/3 in favor, he checks himself and does not finish the statement.

[up-and-coming #1 looks nervously about behind him, unsure what to do]

Scene 3, take 2 [DNC convention floor, directly following the failed first vote to amend the platform to add God and Israel]. Up-and-coming #1 decides to call for a new vote. This time he, emphasizes that he wants everyone in favor by calling, more loudly and with changed tempo to draw attention to the words “All those…in FAVOR..call out AYE!”. Again the vote is taken, and again, there is clearly not a 2/3 in favor of the amendments. Instead it is almost a dead heat in the yays and nays. Again, up-and-coming #1 stumbles and does not declare a carry of the amendment.

[Another member of the party, in an aside (caught on microphone) counsels up-and-coming #1 to "give them what they want"]

Scene 3, take 3 [DNC convention floor, directly following the failed second vote to amend the platform to add God and Israel] Up-and-coming #1 calls for the vote again. Despite this time’s overwhelming “No” vote he calls out his originally scripted response “The Chair, hearing a 2/3 vote in the affirmative, the amendments carry and the modified platform is accepted”.
Cut! That’s a wrap.

[Excess boo-ing from the delegates in the convention]

This is:
a) a political tactic designed to show all the moderates that the current administration isn’t as extreme left as actions taken during the past 4 years would indicate
b) a failure since the delegates clearly voiced they AREN’T moderates and DON’T want God anywhere near their platform
c) a demonstration that, unscripted and off-prompter, it is much harder to carry out a charade and lie

True colors have been shown. Be warned, God is not mocked. Abandon God, and God will abandon us. And just adding a phrase containing God and Israel isn’t going to save us.

I’m still dizzy from the spinning in this article.
What REALLY happened is obvious to anyone who watched, and has watched, the tactics of the political parties

Scene 1 [behind the scenes] The Democratic party, unable to stand on their record, discusses methods to incite “party spirit” and improve the voting in their favor among those they have not impressed (and to whom they have done much to harm or little to help) during the current term. An idea is floated and accepted: Let’s create a platform that doesn’t reference God or Israel. Then we get an up-and-coming to say “the president doesn’t like this and wants to ensure the country and the world knows he is FOR God and FOR Israel”. Amendments to add God and Israel will be floated, and then a public, floor vote will be held where all America can hear how IMPORTANT God is to them. THAT should keep the independents and religious left from going towards Romney and cast their vote, in good conscience, for Obama. And so it begins…

Scene 2 [DNC convention, opening] A platform, purposely devoid of God (for the purpose outline above) is proposed and voted on. It is passed and the platform is accepted. (This seems to be going well. As predicted the “other side” is making some noise about not seeing any reference to God and is unsure what to make of it)

Scene 3 [DNC convention floor, with considerable more fanfare than the original platform vote] One up-and-coming introduces another up-and-coming as having an amendment for the platform. As planned, up-and-coming #2 says “the president wants it” (and of course he and others in the party want it – have to show solidarity). As planned, the new platform WITH God and Israel clearly stated is displayed and a vote is taken.

The vote is taken audibly and looking for a 2/3 response in favor of the amendment to include God. Up-and coming #1 takes the vote and begins to say his scripted comment “the 2/3 vote is in and the amendment is carried”. However, since the audible vote is clearly NOT 2/3 in favor, he checks himself and does not finish the statement.

[up-and-coming #1 looks nervously about behind him, unsure what to do]

Scene 3, take 2 [DNC convention floor, directly following the failed first vote to amend the platform to add God and Israel]. Up-and-coming #1 decides to call for a new vote. This time he, emphasizes that he wants everyone in favor by calling, more loudly and with changed tempo to draw attention to the words “All those…in FAVOR..call out AYE!”. Again the vote is taken, and again, there is clearly not a 2/3 in favor of the amendments. Instead it is almost a dead heat in the yays and nays. Again, up-and-coming #1 stumbles and does not declare a carry of the amendment.

[Another member of the party, in an aside (caught on microphone) counsels up-and-coming #1 to "give them what they want"]

Scene 3, take 3 [DNC convention floor, directly following the failed second vote to amend the platform to add God and Israel] Up-and-coming #1 calls for the vote again. Despite this time’s overwhelming “No” vote he calls out his originally scripted response “The Chair, hearing a 2/3 vote in the affirmative, the amendments carry and the modified platform is accepted”.
Cut! That’s a wrap.

[Excess boo-ing from the delegates in the convention]

This is:
a) a political tactic designed to show all the moderates that the current administration isn’t as extreme left as actions taken during the past 4 years would indicate
b) a failure since the delegates clearly voiced they AREN’T moderates and DON’T want God anywhere near their platform
c) a demonstration that, unscripted and off-prompter, it is much harder to carry out a charade and lie

True colors have been shown. Be warned, God is not mocked. Abandon God, and God will abandon us. And just adding a phrase containing God and Israel isn’t going to save us.

I’m still dizzy from the spinning in this article.
What REALLY happened is obvious to anyone who watched, and has watched, the tactics of the political parties

Scene 1 [behind the scenes] The Democratic party, unable to stand on their record, discusses methods to incite “party spirit” and improve the voting in their favor among those they have not impressed (and to whom they have done much to harm or little to help) during the current term. An idea is floated and accepted: Let’s create a platform that doesn’t reference God or Israel. Then we get an up-and-coming to say “the president doesn’t like this and wants to ensure the country and the world knows he is FOR God and FOR Israel”. Amendments to add God and Israel will be floated, and then a public, floor vote will be held where all America can hear how IMPORTANT God is to them. THAT should keep the independents and religious left from going towards Romney and cast their vote, in good conscience, for Obama. And so it begins…

Scene 2 [DNC convention, opening] A platform, purposely devoid of God (for the purpose outline above) is proposed and voted on. It is passed and the platform is accepted. (This seems to be going well. As predicted the “other side” is making some noise about not seeing any reference to God and is unsure what to make of it)

Scene 3 [DNC convention floor, with considerable more fanfare than the original platform vote] One up-and-coming introduces another up-and-coming as having an amendment for the platform. As planned, up-and-coming #2 says “the president wants it” (and of course he and others in the party want it – have to show solidarity). As planned, the new platform WITH God and Israel clearly stated is displayed and a vote is taken.

The vote is taken audibly and looking for a 2/3 response in favor of the amendment to include God. Up-and coming #1 takes the vote and begins to say his scripted comment “the 2/3 vote is in and the amendment is carried”. However, since the audible vote is clearly NOT 2/3 in favor, he checks himself and does not finish the statement.

[up-and-coming #1 looks nervously about behind him, unsure what to do]

Scene 3, take 2 [DNC convention floor, directly following the failed first vote to amend the platform to add God and Israel]. Up-and-coming #1 decides to call for a new vote. This time he, emphasizes that he wants everyone in favor by calling, more loudly and with changed tempo to draw attention to the words “All those…in FAVOR..call out AYE!”. Again the vote is taken, and again, there is clearly not a 2/3 in favor of the amendments. Instead it is almost a dead heat in the yays and nays. Again, up-and-coming #1 stumbles and does not declare a carry of the amendment.

[Another member of the party, in an aside (caught on microphone) counsels up-and-coming #1 to "give them what they want"]

Scene 3, take 3 [DNC convention floor, directly following the failed second vote to amend the platform to add God and Israel] Up-and-coming #1 calls for the vote again. Despite this time’s overwhelming “No” vote he calls out his originally scripted response “The Chair, hearing a 2/3 vote in the affirmative, the amendments carry and the modified platform is accepted”.
Cut! That’s a wrap.

[Excess boo-ing from the delegates in the convention]

This is:
a) a political tactic designed to show all the moderates that the current administration isn’t as extreme left as actions taken during the past 4 years would indicate
b) a failure since the delegates clearly voiced they AREN’T moderates and DON’T want God anywhere near their platform
c) a demonstration that, unscripted and off-prompter, it is much harder to carry out a charade and lie

True colors have been shown. Be warned, God is not mocked. Abandon God, and God will abandon us. And just adding a phrase containing God and Israel isn’t going to save us.

I would suggest you read the historical books of the Jewish faith and see how many times your very posit was tried by the people of Israel, and how many times it was proven wrong. And how long they suffered under the thumb of an oppressor each time before realizing, only God – the One True God and not the many false gods – could deliver them.

Choice: the ability of an adult, despite conscience and knowledge, to use their position of greater power to slaughter an innocent

Secular education: teaching despite a preponderance of evidence to the contrary, that everything happens by itself, all life is coincidence, and people are not the pinnacle of creation but a current conjoining of random chances

Healthcare: unwilling to take care and precautions in ones own life (such as exercising, eschewing junk food, eating in moderation, staying away from self destructive behavior and drugs, and refraining from sexual promiscuity in its various forms) a demand for fixing the ill effects of those choices and a desire to experiment beyond where nature has fixed boundaries is demanded. “Birth control”; abortion; sex change operations (and on and on)… paid for by everyone else.

Reasonable taxation: Don’t tax me, and don’t tax thee, tax the rich man behind the tree.

Yeah, these are important things to stand up for. NOT.

Not anti-Jewish, only kissing the rear of Muslim Obama. Democrats have to bow to Obama or they will be cut off from him. To me being cut off should be considered a positive, but Democrats think they must treat Obama with God-like reverence. As muslims do- kneel and bow to Obama.

golem- good way to look at it. Obama diverts the attention of the people by pointing to side issues like incompetence and dishonesty to avoid the issues that show what he is trying to do.

klee-on the same princuple I say that Obama should not jump to please the Israelis. I like the Jewish people BUT I do not want the Jewish people to be treated like spoiled children that get whatever they cry for. The day Golda Meir was murdered she said to me that she feared her life is short because she said no. Many years before that Menachem Begin related to me how he had come to watch some arab children and then realized that he was spoiling himself by carrying hatred for arabs- the self-love of hatred had made him think of himself as fullfilled. At that moment he fell to his knees and wept for being so selfish. The arab children helped him back to his car. The next day he invited Anwar Sadat to tour the arab neighbor he had been in. They had a great time that day. That started a friendship that lasted many years. I only suggested that he go see if the arab children played like Jewish children. The rest came from their hearts.

rosenberg’s article is simply a lie. and its disgusting. another kapo is born.

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What the Platform Fiasco Says About the Dems

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