American politicians have long stretched the truth — often past its breaking point. They’ve also long decried the other side’s continuation of that mutually deceitful tradition.
But while both Republicans and Democrats have told some whoppers at their conventions over the last two weeks, none could match the remarkable fib-flurry rate achieved Wednesday night by Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
The chair of the Democratic National Committee, during an interview with CNN at the convention in Charlotte, was doing her best — or was that her worst? — to “spin” the debacle that developed over the initial absences of the words “Jerusalem” and “God” from the party platform.
The 2008 platform identified Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
It also included a sentence proclaiming the need for a U.S. government that “gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.”
In the original 2012 platform, “Jerusalem” and “God” were gone, with “God-given potential” replaced by “talent and drive.”
Belatedly recognizing the perils of appearing anti-Israel and anti-the-Almighty, party officials scurried Wednesday to restore “Jerusalem” and “God” to the platform.
But amending that document requires at least a two-thirds vote by delegates. And when convention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of Los Angeles, presented the “yes” or “no” question on adding “Jerusalem” and “God,” the voice vote answered roughly 50 percent for each.
Twice more he presented it. Twice more the voice vote sounded about 50-50.
Then Mr. Villaraigosa absurdly declared that the amendment had passed by the two-thirds margin needed.
That flagrantly un-democratic outcome precipitated a chorus of Democratic boos.
Yet Rep. Wasserman Schultz later told CNN — with a straight face — that the missing words were “essentially a technical oversight,” that “there wasn’t any discord” over the amendment, and that “it was absolutely a two-thirds” voice vote.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper, certainly no GOP sympathizer, offered this withering assessment of what he heard: “Debbie Wasserman Schultz said, ‘It wasn’t a change of language, there was no discord that we saw and it was a two-thirds vote.’ I mean, that’s an alternate universe.”
And unfortunately, alternate versions of reality will keep coming from both parties until Election Day — and beyond.