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2004-07-29

DNC Ignores Objections to Party Platform, Declares Unity

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The DNC claims its platform passed with no objection. There was. It just wasn’t recognized from the podium. [includes rush transcript]

As we reported yesterday on Democracy Now!, the official platform that John Kerry and John Edwards will campaign on for the next 3 months was passed at the convention with no debate or dissent allowed. But that doesn’t mean that some of the delegates didn’t try to raise questions. Journalist John Nichols of The Nation magazine explains.

  • John Nichols, The Nation magazine.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: As we reported yesterday, the official platform that John Kerry and John Edwards will campaign on for the next three months was passed at the convention with no debate or dissent allowed. But that doesn’t mean some of the delegates didn’t try to raise some questions. Journalist John Nichols of the "Madison Capital Times" explains.

JOHN NICHOLS: At the Republican National Convention, every vote for president, when they do the nomination, will be cast for George Bush. It will be a complete lock step party. There will be no dissent. The Kerry people want the same thing here. So they have been putting enormous pressure on the Dennis Kucinich delegates. Dennis Kucinich delegates are so sort of for lack of a better term, the sweetest people in the party. They’re true believers in peace. They may not be the most practical political folk but a lot of them got involved in politics for the first time. They want to go to a national convention to make a statement about the war in Iraq. And so now, in all these delegations, they are being approached by incredibility powerful people saying don’t you dare vote for Dennis Kucinich because we need absolute unity in the vote. I talked to some of the Minnesota folks who were Kucinich delegates, very good, solid folks. They had Walter Mondale come to them and say you really shouldn’t vote for Dennis Kucinich, you know. You should vote for Kerry.

AMY GOODMAN: And explain why it matters. I mean obviously Kerry is going to take the vote.

JOHN NICHOLS: Yeah. It’s a question of whether he gets, you know, like 5,000 votes or 5,070. It’s not like a big debate here. But, I think that’s the big problem in both parties. But, it certainly at this convention and the Kerry campaign, it’s an obsession with control. And one of the wonderful things about politics is that often, campaigns are won not by scripting everything, but by having a little bit of openness to that rare opportunity that opens people up, that connects in ways that you didn’t expect. Remember, Franklin Roosevelt came to the 1932 convention as a relatively conservative democrat. But the people at the convention were passionate about doing something about the depression. And Roosevelt himself was sort of dragged politically into another place than he had arrived. That was healthy. He was a dramatically better president because he followed the moment rather than simply followed the script. And I think at this convention, John Kerry would be, I think he would have actually been wonderfully benefited by a little debate about the war. Instead, you probably weren’t here for it, but they voted on the platform yesterday afternoon at precisely 4:00 right after the echo of the national anthem was still in the air, the seats were essentially empty, there were about maybe 150, 200 people on the floor. Richardson comes up and says well, we are going to vote on the platform. Do I hear a motion to pass or end the vote? Moved. Is there any debate? And there were actually a bunch of Kucinich backers, some Dean folks and some Kerry folks who said yes, you know. Let’s debate. And Richardson said, hearing no objection, I pronounce it passed. That was it. And you see that’s really problematic. Because I don’t think that it would harm John Kerry at all to have it be known that within his party, there’s a sector of folks who really do want to immediately withdraw from Iraq. There’s another sector who would like to have some sort of clear timeline and another sector who are sort of where Kerry is, which is murky. But that dialog wouldn’t hurt. It might actually make john Kerry better.

AMY GOODMAN: Journalist John Nichols of "The Nation" magazine and the "Madison Capitol Times." Speaking just outside the fleet center.

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