Party platforms usually don’t get too much attention, and are taken even less seriously by the candidates the parties nominate for office. This time around, Democrats attacked the Republican platform for having the exact same language on abortion as it always has had — and left themselves open to big attacks when their own platform purged God and withdrew recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. That led to what a senior White House official called “an unfortunate stumble” yesterday, when Barack Obama supposedly demanded that both get put back into the platform:
Things got so bad that President Barack Obama was forced to personally intervene, ordering language mentioning God and naming Jerusalem as the rightful capital of Israel be added.
Obama had seen the language prior to the convention, a campaign source said, but did not seek to change it until after Republicans jumped on the omissions of God and Jerusalem late Wednesday. And even then, it had to be forced through a convention hall full of delegates who nearly shouted down the change.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the convention’s chairman, kicked off Wednesday’s proceedings by trying to clean up a mess Democrats made by omitting from their official party platform mentions of God and of Jerusalem as the preferred capital of Israel.
Villaraigosa called for a voice vote on an amendment offered by former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, who chaired the platform drafting committee. Facing boos and “nay”s, he tried again, before announcing that in his judgment, a two-thirds majority had approved the measure. He was booed again as he walked off the stage.
Now, Obama owns the platform in a way few nominees ever do. The Chattanooga Times-Free Press editorial board takes a look at what that means, and what it will cost if enacted in an Obama second term. The price tag, according to cross-references between the demands and previous CBO scoring for them? $675 billion over 10 years:
In fact, the Democratic platform recommends launching a number of new federal schemes and increasing the funding for many existing programs. Among the 21 new spending proposals included in the Democratic Party platform are:
• $453 billion over ten years to fund an expansive stimulus-like job creation scheme;
• $18.4 billion over ten years to get the transportation sector to buy into alternative fuels:
• $6.5 billion over five years for global food security and agriculture research;
• $5 billion in one-time funding for clean energy handouts;
• $5 billion in one-time funding to force the government into the broadband Internet business;
• $980 million over ten years for government-funded abortions (if taxpayers’ pay for 10 percent of abortions); and
• $45 million over five years to support American Indian and Alaska Native languages.
In total, the Democratic Party platform recommends $674.8 billion in additional federal spending over the next decade.
You won’t find these totals in the platform itself; in fact, you won’t find any hint of what these platform planks actually cost. Instead, the newspaper cross-referenced these programs against cost projections from the CBO and the White House itself to get an idea of what kind of spending Democrats want to pursue.
Would they get all of these programs through Congress? Probably not, unless Democrats returned to the large majorities they enjoyed in 2009-10 and Obama remained in office. But one can see from this list that deficit control isn’t just a low priority for Democrats, it’s not a priority at all despite Bill Clinton’s apologetics last night. Thanks to Obama’s personal intervention in the platform controversy over God and Jerusalem yesterday, this makes his priorities clear as well.