Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa looked like he wanted to be somewhere else, anywhere else, but on the stage at the Democrat Convention. Villaraigosa’s job was to get delegate agreement on an amendment restoring God, and Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, to the party platform. Never mind that President Obama had approved the platform as written. That was before the omissions became a political liability and it was necessary to pretend otherwise.
Villaraigosa, looking increasingly uncomfortable, had to call for a vote three times because each time the “nays” sounded just as loud, if not louder, than the “ayes.” Finally, in true Obama fashion, he announced that the desired outcome had occurred. He declared the amendment passed by a 2/3rds voice vote.
Villaraigosa must have remarkable hearing to discern that 2/3rds of the delegates voted in the affirmative. If the point truly were to determine the will of the convention, he would have polled the delegates. That didn’t happen and the effort to paper over the omissions backfired. Instead of the issue becoming a fading blip on the Democrats’ horizon, the spectacle of at least half the delegates loudly rejecting the inclusion of God and the affirmation of Jerusalem is now a national embarrassment. It exposed the President and his political operatives as willing to say anything, do anything, to improve the chances of a win in November.
In a way, it was a profoundly sad moment. The contentious vote revealed that a once proud party has lost its moorings. Captured by radicals in 1968, the party leadership has become ever more alienated from mainstream America and, if the aye voters are an indication, from its own rank and file.
Just how alienated was made clear by the convention motto: “We made it possible.” It was a perfect pairing with Obama’s “You didn’t build that.” Both phrases belittle the individual and laud government. A convention video stated, “Government’s the only thing we all belong to.” Clint Eastwood disputed the contention that we belong to the government in his appearance at the Republican Convention: “Government works for us. Not the other way around,” he said. Eastwood got it right.
Former UN Ambassador and lifelong Democrat Jeanne Kirkpatrick chronicled the split between the old party and the radicalized one that drove her and fellow centrists out.
“’We’ affirmed the validity of the American dream and the morality of American society. ‘They’ adapted the characterization of intellectuals like Charles Reich [author of the New Age tract The Greening of America] who described the U.S. as a sick society drunk on technology and materialism. ‘We’ rejected the effort to revise American history, making it a dismal tale of dead Indians and double dealing white settlers, imperialism and war. ‘They’ rejected facts and truths we held dear. ‘Their’ extravagant attack on American culture and institutions made ‘us’ progressively aware of our attachment to both. ‘Their’ urgent utopian schemes for reform of almost everything made ‘us’ more aware of our fundamental caution concerning radical reform.”
As the moribund economy precludes singing “Happy Days Are Here Again,” party leaders can neither cite the record of the past four years nor reveal their true intentions. Unable to defend their policies, they divert attention through invective and ad hominem attacks on their opponents. Beyond likening Republicans to Nazis, the attacks on Republican women, on Sarah Palin and her daughter and most recently on Paul Ryan’s wife are, as teenagers like to say, “way gross;” too gross to repeat in a family newspaper or on this blog. The Democrats have succeeded in lowering political discourse to the level of schoolyard taunting.
Remember when Obama called for a “basic level of civility in our public debate?”
It all adds up to the Democrats’ second biggest problem. No matter how hard they try, or how many lies they tell, they cannot expunge reality.
A recently released U.S. Department of Agriculture report shows that 46.37 million people are now receiving food stamps. Food stamp spending has more than doubled in four years to a record $75.7 billion. It is now the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s largest annual expense.
Unemployment, reported by the Department of Labor Statistics at 8.1% in Auguest 2012, did not include the underemployed (those in part-time jobs) and those who have given up seeking work. Were those numbers included the figure would be over 14%. Gallup has called the governments reporting of these numbers into question. And the government has responded by suing the polling organization – just coincidentally, of course.
Even Obama partisans know that for many Americans “hope and change” translate into disappointment and despair. No amount of convention rhetoric, appeals to emotion or Clinton spin can conjure up a positive response to the question: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”