The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

So much for proper procedure

August 28, 2008

Nancy Pelosi — “Permanent Chair of the Convention,” whatever that title means — called for a motion to suspend the rules so that the convention could approve Joe Biden as the party’s Vice-Presidential candidate by acclimation. The motion was moved and seconded, and then approved; I didn’t hear any opposition when she called for “no” votes. So the motion passed, and Pelosi then announced that Biden had been nominated by acclimation. Strictly speaking, that’s not true: all that was approved was the suspension of the rules. Procedurally speaking, there should then have been a motion to approve Biden by acclimation. There wasn’t.

Apparently, the logic of theatrics took precedence over the logic of Robert’s Rules.

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Patrick Thaddeus Jackson is Professor of International Studies in the School of International Service, and also Director of the AU Honors program. He was formerly Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of International Relations and Development, and is currently Series Editor of the University of Michigan Press' book series Configurations: Critical Studies of World Politics.