View 740 Thursday, September 06, 2012
The Democratic Party National Convention yesterday had a number of interesting developments. One was disturbing. Whether through inadvertance or design, the Platform left out any references to God or Divine Providence – in particular a previous reference to God-given talents was ommitted – and had to be reinserted. http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/09/05/Democrats-change-platform-God-Israel This required a suspension of the rules and a special order of business, which requires a 2/3 majority vote. This was sprung on the delegates at an early hour when the floor was partially empty, and Convention Chairman Anthony Villaraigoso, Mayor of Los Angeles, thought it would go as a simple routine since it was at the personal request of President Obama. Instead, it took three voice votes, and in none of them was it obvious that the resolution had passed, much less had been approved by a 2/3 majority. After the third voice vote in which it seemed to me that there were fewer ‘ayes’ than ‘nays’, the Chairman ruled that the motion was carried by a 2/3 majority and it was so ordered. Now in a normal parliamentary event it is my understanding that it is always in order to move for a standing vote or division of the house, and has been so since the days of the Senate of Rome. I haven’t read the DNC Rules, but I’d wager there is such a provision there; but if so no such motion was acknowledged by the Chairman, and the amendments to the rules were deemed to have been adopted by 2/3 vote.
I find this more disturbing than most seem to have found it. This is a fairly blatant disregard of rules of the Convention at the diktat of the President of the United States. I would hate to see it become a precedent. I would hate even more for it to be ignored by all commentators and press. Rules are important, and this country seems to be making up new ones while ignoring the rules that govern how rules are made. That cannot be a good sign.
Other developments were just odd, as with Sandra Fluke making the case that the Republicans’ failure to make me pay for her birth control pills is oppression of women and control over her access to birth control. It’s only accessible if it’s free. If failing to force tax payers to pay for birth control pills is a war on women, the nation is very much in trouble. There is one sure fire method for Sandra Fluke to avoid pregnancy, and it has been known since pre-Biblical days. Arthur C. Clarke predicted in Childhood’s End that discovery of reliable means of preventing pregnancy and of determining paternity would bring about a cultural revolution, and he was entirely right, but even he didn’t predict that contraception means provided by taxpayers would become an absolute right, and anything less than that was a war on women.
There were other speeches about the goodies one must have from government, but precious little about how the taxpayers acquired the obligations to pay for them. Since 90% of Federal taxes are paid by about 30% of the people, and the demand is for more of “the rich” to “pay their fair share”, one would think there might be some discussion of obligations as well as rights, but I haven’t heard any.
Bill Clinton made a great speech about how he ought to be President, and how much better he was at the job than Obama. Apparently the speech went over well with Mrs. Clinton, who is said to have watched it from Brunei where she is attending some diplomatic event. The fashion reporters say she looked sharp. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/06/hillary-clinton-photo-style-brunei-china_n_1861487.html I have been unable to determine the exact nature of the diplomatic event that requires the presence of the Secretary of State.
Former President Clinton made a few references to foreign policy, but that wasn’t the thrust of his speech. He did a great job of demonstrating that we’d probably be better off now than we were four years ago if he had been President, but not so well at showing how things are better now than they were in January 2008. He tried, though, and kept at it for half an hour longer than scheduled. One can imagine the mood of the President as he waited behind the curtain to come out when Mr. Clinton finished his speech. And waited.
We don’t yet have data on the ‘bump” in popularity that the DNC will earn for President Obama in the polls. The RNC didn’t give Romney much. That convention ended with Romney Advantage; the speculation is that the DNC bump will score a point for Obama making the election score deuce all. The unemployment number have been released to show advantages for Obama’s policies, but not by a lot, and we can expect that over the next few days to weeks those number will be adjusted. All adjustments so far have been to make them less favorable to the Administration; and of course Elisabeth Warren’s speech made it very easy to conclude that the economy is horrible, and probably getting worse. That probably wasn’t the impression she intended.
All told, it’s still the silly season. The election won’t really turn on God-given talents, or on whether Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. And in most parliamentary procedures, a vote requiring a 2/3 majority is automatically a standing vote, as it has been since the days of Old Rome.