There’s a man behind a curtain somewhere doing whatever one does to a teleprompter.
Load? Arm? Detonate?
Last week, in Tampa, a Republican teleprompter put words into the mouth of Speaker of the House John Boehner, then chairing the convention, specifically these words: “In the opinion of the chair, the ‘ayes’ have it and the resolution is adopted.”
The resolution concerned whether a number of Ron Paul delegates would be seated. The vote was awfully close. How the actual voice vote turned out was supposed to be for Boehner to judge, not an anonymous guy (or gal) behind the curtain, ghost-writing democracy.
Yesterday, while the Democrats gathered in Charlotte, North Carolina, were busy tucking God and Jerusalem back into their platform, Los Angeles Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa held the gavel. But not control of his own teleprompter.
The resolution restoring those elements to the party’s platform, coming after the platform committee had already completed its work, required a two-thirds vote. When the votes were heard . . . well, Mayor Villaraigosa wasn’t sure. He had the convention vote again. And then again.
Finally, perhaps after seeing the teleprompter, which read, “In the opinion of the chair, two-thirds having voted in the affirmative . . .” he decided, to loud booing, that the resolution had received two-thirds.
As the country prepares (cringes) for the fall campaign, we’ll hear plenty from President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney and about both men. But who cares? The real power in our system of governance, as these conventions make clear, are the guys running the teleprompters.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.