Samuel Dunbar Livingston
p.m. on September 4, the first day of the Democratic National Convention,
freelance blogger Jeff Dunetz broke the news that the Democrats had removed
from their platform a plank calling for
the isolation of Hamas, the permanent settlement of Palestinian
refugees in Arab countries, and recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of
these items are crucial to Israel and each have
been key areas of contention for those who believe this president
has not been friendly to the Jewish state,” Dunetz posted on his personal
blog, The Lid, and simultaneously on the conservative website BreitBart.
minutes later, CBN’s David Brody (coincidentally?) reported on The Brody
File that the Democratic platform had also done away with God.
critics will suggest that when you have planks in your platform that support
abortion rights and gay marriage then it’s no wonder that God’s name would
be dropped as well,” Brody wrote.
the Democratic platform declared that “we need a government that stands up
for the hopes, values, and interests of working people, and gives everyone
willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given
“God-given” was out. The Democrats merely embraced “the simple principle
that hard work should pay off, responsibility should be rewarded, and each
one of us should be able to go as far as our talent and drive take us.”
contrast, the Republicans had increased their platform references to God
from two in 2008 to 12 in 2012. America’s talents, right of self-defense,
natural beauty, and resources were all designated as “God-given.”
was God, not Israel, that caught the attention of Fox News and its friends.
On his 6
p.m. show, Special Report, Bret Baier went head-to-head with Sen. Dick
Durbin in a heated exchange. Durbin claimed Fox was wrongly framing
Democrats as godless and “carping on a trifle,” but Baier continued to dig.
“I’m not drawing conclusions,” he said. “I’m just asking why these changes
“Democrats remove ‘God’ from DNC platform, insert Obama’s name over 100
times,” screamed the headline at the news website examiner.com.
members of the GOP presidential ticket got into the act as well.
their having removed purposefully ‘God’ from their platform suggests a party
that is increasingly out of touch with the mainstream of American people,”
GOP standard-bearer Mitt Romney told Fox’s Carl Cameron while campaigning in
New Hampshire September 5. “I think this party is veering further and
further away into an extreme wing that Americans don’t recognize.”
not in keeping with our founding documents, our founding vision, but I guess
you would have to ask the Obama administration why they purged all this
language from their platform,” added Paul Ryan on Fox & Friends the same
Meanwhile, in a press
release posted almost immediately on its website, the Romney campaign
declared, “It is unfortunate that the entire Democratic Party has embraced
President Obama’s shameful refusal to acknowledge that Jerusalem is Israel’s
capital. Four years of President Obama’s repeated attempts to create
distance between the United States and our cherished ally have led the
Democratic Party to remove from their platform an unequivocal acknowledgment
of a simple reality.”
p.m. September 5, the liberal watchdog site Media Matters reported that Fox
had attacked the Democrats no less than 22 times for giving God the
heave-ho. “Republicans are trying to make it into a wedge issue, and that’s
very disappointing,” Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki told the Washington Post
response from the Democratic camp was to try to undo the damage as quickly
as possible. What they got, however, was a fiasco.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the Convention Chairman, called on
former Ohio governor Ted Strickland, who moved to suspend the rules in order
to amend the platform to restore the former God and Israel language. This
required a two-thirds voice vote, but while Villaraigosa’s teleprompter read
that the motion passed, the vote in the hall sounded like no such thing.
mayor called for a re-vote. Again, no two-thirds. And another re-vote, which
sounded the same. Finally Villaraigosa simply declared that the motion
thereafter, AIPAC, the über-influential Israel lobby, issued a statement of
approval: “We welcome reinstatement to the Democratic platform of the
language affirming Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Together, these party
platforms reflect strong bipartisan support for the US-Israel relationship.”
AIPAC’s first public comment on the platform language. It is hard to avoid
the conclusion that the restoration of the Israel paragraph had been worked
out in private.
the next day, top presidential advisers Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod
went on CBS’ This Morning to announce that the restoration had been ordained
by Obama himself.
thought it was important to put back in what has been in the platform,
Jerusalem being the capital, and so he put it back in,” Jarrett said.
counting on others, he has some other duties and responsibilities,” Axelrod
said. “And so when he learned that what had been in the platform had been
taken out, he said put it back in.”
Meanwhile, those responsible for the platform ran with a “mea culpa”
narrative, insisting in an appearance on CNN’s Starting Point that the whole
thing had just been a mistake.
a technical omission and nothing more than that,” said DNC Chairwomen Debbie
Wasserman Schultz. “Through the drafting process and the platform committee
process, there was never any discussion or debate over adding or subtracting
Newark mayor Cory Booker, co-chairman of the platform committee: “It was an
unfortunate omission, and it in no way detracts from the point that we have
a president of the United States who believes both in God, we all know that,
but also believes in that plank [supporting Jerusalem].”
wasn’t so easy to make the controversy disappear.
goes to the ’prompter,” said the ‘Daily Show’s’ liberal host Jon Stewart
September 6. “On the positive side, we finally have found the evidence of
Democratic voter fraud that the Republicans are always complaining about.”
Stewart added that he had “faith in a God who’s not too insecure, who
doesn’t freak out if you don’t mention his name enough.”
Stewart’s sometime sidekick Stephen Colbert wasn’t so sure. “Folks,” he
warned his Colbert Report audience. “He’s very sensitive. Read your Bible,
He’s got a hair-trigger. And of course the Democrats cannot hide what
they’ve done from God because he Googles himself constantly.”
nothing more than a Fox-driven tempest in a teapot?
September 7, Slate’s David Weigel accused Dunetz and others in the
conservative media of “trolling” the convention to make trouble. As evidence
he quoted Michael Goldfarb of the Center for American Freedom saying, “We
think it paid off in our coverage of the platform fiasco that more
established papers like the Post all but ignored. There was a real
demand for hard-hitting, fact-based coverage of this Godless, anti-Israel
convention, and we’re doing our best to give people what they want.”
more a media concern than a delegate concern,” Mayor Villaraigosa told the
Los Angeles Times September 8. And a continuing culture war
Pledge says ‘under God.’ I will not take ‘God’ out of the name of our
platform,” Romney told a crowd in Virginia Beach September 8. “I will not
take God off our coins, and I will not take God out of my heart. We’re a
nation bestowed by God….We the American people were given our rights not by
government but by God himself.”
“America’s Left wants a godless society here in the United States, just as
Europe’s Left has created such a society there-—and the Democratic party is
run by the Left,” thundered Dennis Prager on National Review Online
September 11. “At least half the Democratic delegates wanted the word
‘God-given’ and the reference to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital to stay out
of the party platform.”
omissions were nothing more than oversights, as the Democrats claimed,
disinterested observers were not so sure.
Speaking with Religion News Service reporter Lauren
Markoe September 6, the University of Akron’s John Green noted that
Democrats have long had a problem with “God talk.”
“Their coalition, which includes a substantial number of
nonreligious people but also a diversity of religious people with varying
approaches to God, doesn’t have a clear and simple conception of the
divine,” Markoe wrote.
rather than risk offense, the platform writers may have decided to leave God
out,” Green said.”