The rough and tumble of American politics has a long and rocky history. But modern American politics has added a new twist of the knife to what is often called America’s “blood sport”—the October Surprise. So fearful are campaigns, especially presidential campaigns, that a shocking revelation about a their candidate will break on the news just weeks before an election that modern campaigns vet and script every syllable uttered and every thread worn . . . even down to the candidate’s underwear.

But such careful scripting notwithstanding, politics and politicians are notorious for get off script. And such was the case at the 2012 Democratic National Convention . . . except it wasn’t October. Yesterday, September 5, the Democrats experienced a September Surprise.

I wrote an article about the DNC’s platform committee removing the name of God and Jerusalem as Israel’s capital from their platform. But before the day was out I had to amend that article because the DNC decided to hold a floor vote to amend their platform—to reinstate God and Jerusalem. That in and of itself is no big deal, except these things never happen during modern political conventions. And for both the Democratic and Republican conventions the surprise vote was the first spontaneous event. It brought a sense of reality and nostalgia of what political conventions use to be—it was refreshing . . . until it turned ugly.

Antonio Villaraigosa, the mayor of Los Angeles, presiding, called for a voice vote on amending the party’s platform. According to the rules, the insertion of the language required two-thirds of the quorum present. Mayor Villaraigosa called for the yeas and nays and they were evenly split. The Mayor was stunned and stared into the already prepared teleprompter: “In the opinion of the chair, two-thirds having voted in the affirmative . . .” The vote clearly wasn’t two-thirds in the affirmative. So, he called for a second vote and the result was the same. After the third vote, the Mayor read the prepared teleprompter and that was that. Except it wasn’t.

After the third vote and the declaration that the yeas had it, the hall burst out in boos. Now, one could argue that the booing was against the blatant political power play and not against God. But no one can argue against the truth that half the delegates voted against God and Jerusalem. So, which is worse: removing God from the DNC platform in the first place or voting against its inclusion on the floor vote to amend the platform or booing that God was reinstated in the platform?

I believe President Obama didn’t know about the original language in the platform, the one that had removed God and Jerusalem. But no matter. He is the leader of the Democratic Party—a Party that has, over the course of the convention, advocated a more secular country, and that now decries the use of God’s name in their official Party document.

Eighty-six percent of all Americans, according to many polls, believe in God. So why would the Democrats place themselves on the wrong side of the electorate? The only answer I can think of is because at least half of the delegates really do want a more secular county—something I wrote about in my book, O America! A Manifesto on Liberty.

The problem for the Democrats is that the video of the hall booing God very well may make its way into Republican ads. And if it does and Barack Obama loses in November the Democrats shouldn’t be surprised—they can look back to the September Surprise and say they drove another nail into Obama’s political coffin.

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