It shouldnt have gotten to this point. Wasserman Schultz and Wexler should have been well-informed before, but they apparently werent. As a major city mayor and former legislative leader, Villaraigosa should have known that he should have told them. Someone from the Democratic Party should have.
This is not the type of vote for the floor on the last day of the convention. It should have been handled days before.
A new vote was then scheduled hours after Wexler and Wasserman Schultz were claiming all was well. At that point, the convention chairman or someone from the party should have tried to line up the votes. They didnt.
Villaraigosa should have known that Arab-American delegates, many from Michigan, opposed the changes. The God language didnt bother them. But the Jerusalem issue did because of the state of Palestinian-Israel tensions.
The two issues were rolled into one voice vote, which would take a two-thirds supermajority to pass.
It didnt. In the somewhat sparsely attended hall that afternoon, Arab-Americans, critics of Israel, platform-purists and perhaps an atheist or two shouted No! louder than the supporters shouted Yes!
In the opinion of the let me do that again, he stumbled.
As a mayor and former chief assemblyman, he should have known how to take a voice vote over a fait accompli item. If the voice-vote goes against his wishes, he generally lies and says the item passed. There are ways to challenge a chair. It happens all the time in a lawmaking body. But this is a convention party platform, which is essentially a ceremonial document.
But Villaraigosa didnt do that. He called a second vote.
Again, the nays had it.
I um I guess, he stammered again, Ill do that one more time.
At this point, its catnip for the media and Republicans.
Vote number three was like the first two.
In the opinion of the chair, two thirds have voted in the affirmative, he lied (finally), and the platform has been amended.
Unlike Eastwoods rant, this was actually a scripted event. The teleprompter showed that Democrats expected the chairman to say the measure passed on the first try. That makes Villaraigosa both a bad actor and parliamentarian.
The drama, while embarrassing, didnt prove to be too damaging. Polls indicate that Eastwoods speech vied for attention with Republican nominee Mitt Romneys, and Obamas convention appears to have given him a more-measurable boost in the polls to pull ahead of Romney.
But in a highly scripted event like a convention, unscripted moments like this tear down the Potemkin-village walls to give the media and opposition a glimpse of whats going on behind the scenes.
And it became clear that, while Republicans got stuck with an empty chair on stage for their convention, the Democrats wound up with an empty suit.