Posts Tagged ‘dr. james c. dobson’
Rubin: “The talk-show conservatives who were so successful in riling the conservative opposition to immigration reform in 2007 proved to be the flimsiest of paper tigers—-Their shouted directions to the conservative foot soldiers, and their warnings of the dangers of a McCain presidency, were ignored”
[…] “Following John McCain’s victory in Florida last week the chorus of McCain-hatred grew louder on talk radio shows and on many conservative blogs,” writes Jennifer Rubin in a New York Observer article titled Voters Reject Romney … and Limbaugh and Coulter and Dobson
Rush Limbaugh declared that McCain was not conservative and unacceptable as a candidate. Formerly respectable conservative figures took delight in criticizing McCain’s war record—yes, his war record—by tallying up the number of planes he had lost in combat. Ann Coulter and James Dobson, a social conservative leader and head of the Focus on the Family organization, declared McCain so indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton, the featured villainess in any conservative drama, that they would vote for her or stay home.
In short the McCain villifiers doubled down on their bet that they could derail McCain and lift their favored alternative, Mitt Romney, to victory.
Then the voters had their say. McCain racked up victories from California to New York to Missouri. Romney was pretty much relegated to Utah and Massachusetts, two more home states to go along with his Michigan win. Mike Huckabee, also the object of talk show and blogger derision (for, among other grave offenses, raising taxes to build schools and allowing children of illegal immigrants access to college scholarships) had a fine night, taking a batch of southern states.
The talk-show conservatives who were so successful in riling the conservative opposition to immigration reform in 2007 proved to be the flimsiest of paper tigers. Their shouted directions to the conservative foot soldiers, and their warnings of the dangers of a McCain presidency, were ignored.
They did their best to boost Romney, who had striven mightily to endear himself to this crowd, but the voters shrugged and rejected him overwhelmingly. Had Romney not changed residences so often he might have been shut out of the primaries entirely […]
[…] [Limbaugh, Coulter, Dobson et al] might threaten to withhold support for McCain, but does it even matter at this point? Will voters listen to that marching order when they did not follow previous voting advice?
McCain cannot, in what will likely be a close election, entirely ignore the possibility. But something has clearly changed. The façade of influence, the illusion of electoral importance that these conservative pundits previously held, is gone. They can raise issues, jam the White House switchboard and scare timid politicians. When the chips are down, though, they cannot determine elections. Voters, who base their decisions more on common sense than extreme ideology, get to do that […]
We concur. Well, for those most part. But, sadly, there is evidence to suggest that the radio talkers and conservative celebrities were beginning to affect attitudes about Sen. McCain. Here be evidence for our claim, as provided by the estimable John Dickerson in a slate.com article titled McCain Not Stopped; But Romney is not seen as a true conservative:
[…] Exit polls nevertheless show that McCain’s problems with conservatives run deep. He lost among conservatives in almost every state except Connecticut and New Jersey, where he split them evenly with Romney. McCain also lost conservatives even in the states he won. Conservatives went for Romney in New York and Illinois. “Hard to do well with conservatives when everyone with a microphone is beating hell out of us,” says a top McCain aide. While the conservative voices weren’t enough to stop McCain, or to elect their guy, tonight they were enough to bruise him […]
Now with Romney promising to hold out and fight until the convention, and even attempt to turn around promised but not-officially-bound delegates, we can expect the voices of Limbaugh, Coulter, Dobson et al to grow louder, more dire, and more shrill. See:
“I am deeply disappointed the Republican Party seems poised to select a nominee who did not support a Constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage, voted for embryonic stem cell research to kill nascent human beings, opposed tax cuts that ended the marriage penalty, has little regard for freedom of speech, organized the Gang of 14 to preserve filibusters in judicial hearings, and has a legendary temper and often uses foul and obscene language,” writes Dr. James Dobson in a statement read by Laura Ingraham over the air, and posted to race42008.com by Jason Bonham in a contribution titled Breaking: Dobson Slams McCain on Ingraham
[…] But what a sad and melancholy decision this is for me and many other conservatives. Should Sen. McCain capture the nomination as many assume, I believe this general election will offer the worst choices for president in my lifetime. I certainly can’t vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama based on their virulently anti-family policy positions. If these are the nominees in November, I simply will not cast a ballot for president for the first time in my life […]
But Dr. Dobson’s constitutionally guaranteed right to vote may be the only influence he has left.
“James Dobson, the founder and head of the evangelical media and counseling group Focus on the Family, is constantly described by the media as a power broker, kingmaker, and ‘the Christian right’s most powerful leader,'” writes Rita Heal for http://www.time.com in an article titled Is Dobson’s Political Clout Fading?
As such, his endorsement is seen as key by G.O.P. presidential candidates in the 2008 race. On Wednesday night, his political action website Citizenlink.com released assessments of the major Democratic and Republican candidates — and political observers immediately checked in to see whether Dobson’s organization was leaning toward Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney, the two G.O.P. candidates who have made the biggest play for the evangelical vote. As Focus on the Family weighs in on the presidential race, however, an examination of the group’s records shows that its influence may not be all that it once was, and that its actual base may have become smaller.
For months, Dobson has been playing it coy, seeming to favoring the Mormon Mitt Romney over Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee, who would otherwise appear to be the natural Christian right choice. In December, Dr. Dobson praised a Romney speech as “a magnificent reminder of the role religious faith must play in government and public policy. His delivery was passionate and his message inspirational.” Dobson even made a congratulatory phone call to the candidate […]
[…] Dobson has only endorsed one presidential candidate in the past — George W. Bush in 2004, who ran unopposed for the G.O.P. nomination. And the Christian right’s most powerful leader may not want to back a candidate so early in the game. Backing a losing horse could devalue the worth of any future Dobson anointment, especially when America is seeing the rise of a younger generation of less combative preachers like Rick Warren, Joel Osteen and Bill Hybels […]
[…] The ministry apparently has been “flat” for some time. For example, in 1994 Dobson’s monthly newsletter had a circulation of 2.4 million copies. Today, that circulation is about 1.1 million. Also, in the 1990s, Dobson was drawing audiences of 15,000 or more to his speeches; but in the lead-up to the 2006 mid-term election, only about 1,000 people heard his anti-abortion speech at the 2,500-seat Mt. Rushmore National Monument amphitheatre. Daly explains that the event was a last-minute invitation and that Dobson rarely accepts speaking engagements.
According to news accounts and audited financial reports posted online for potential donors, the organization’s staffing is down (30 layoffs last September). Total donations and number of donors are down as well. Focus orders and resells copies of Dobson’s tapes and books, which are the evangelist’s personal business; but those purchases have declined from $678,000 in 2004 to $269,000 in 2006. His last book was published in 2001; another is not anticipated until 2009. The whole Dobson family, including wife Shirley, daughter Danae and son Ryan, produce books and tapes, but revenue from all Dobson-family materials are down, from $781,000 in 2004 to $307,000 in 2006 […]
“James Dobson Declares Values Voters Still Have a Strong Voice; Calls Romney’s speech a “magnificent” reminder of faith’s role in politics and policy,” as reproduced by Justin Hart in a race42008.com post titled James Dobson on the Romney Speech
Colorado Springs, Colo. — Focus on the Family Action founder and chairman James C. Dobson, Ph.D., issued the following statement today in response to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s speech on “Faith in America”:
That’s interesting. Is there a vast Dobson responsa literature?
“Gov. Romney’s speech was a magnificent reminder of the role religious faith must play in government and public policy. His delivery was passionate and his message was inspirational. Whether it will answer all the questions and concerns of Evangelical Christian voters is yet to be determined, but the governor is to be commended for articulating the importance of our religious heritage as it relates to today.
Dobson’s reasoning is perverse on its face. Romney’s inoculation script—what bloggers refer to as The Speech—reminds us not that religious faith plays a role in government or public policy, but rather in US electoral politics as the Evangelical movement, whom Dr. Dobson purports to represent, maintain a bloc that Romney sorely wants to claim for his own. It is precisely Romney’s peril—his Agony-in-Iowa—that provoked Romney into finally delivering The Speech.
Please also note Dobson’s hedging and qualifying: “Whether it will answer all the questions and concerns of Evangelical Christian voters is yet to be determined” … etc. Dobson is right to be cautious. He’s been burned before for drawing too close to Romney, e.g. at the so-called Value Voters Summit:
Back to Dobson:
“Many in the media have been busily crafting the obituaries of ‘values voters’ in recent months. David Kirkpatrick of The New York Times, along with Tom Brokaw, Frank Rich and other liberal journalists, have been predicting a dramatic ‘Evangelical crackup’. They are dead wrong. Religion has already played a major role in this election cycle, and will continue to be evident through’08. The sanctity of human life, the institution of marriage and the care and nurturing of children will be important issues to people of faith as they choose a new generation of leaders. You can take it to the bank.
Here is Dobson’s real concern, his only concern: power, power in the form of the influence he once wielded in Republican party politics. Dobson uses the occasion of Romney’s abject humiliation—Romney’s being forced by Gov. Huckabee to dwell on the topic of his faith tradition—to lash out at voices in the media who had the audacity to suggest that Dobson’s power is on the wane.
“Again, Gov. Romney’s speech served as a reminder that religion has always played a significant role in electoral politics. Candidates who disregard the spiritual heritage of this great nation and its viability today will do so at their peril.”
Here Dobson corrects himself precisely where we suggested above—not government, not policy, but the marketplace-barnyard of electoral politics is Dobson’s concern. What Dobson means to say is this: “Candidates who disregard Evangelical elites like Dobson will do so at their peril.”
Here is the problem for Dobson: power—power not in the form of coercion, but rather power in the sense of group cohesion or social solidarity, what ibn Khaldun would call asabiya—never needs to justify itself or to argue for its own existence. And Romney’s speech is not a demonstration of Romney drawing strength from a vital movement or an historical source, but precisely the opposite—it is rather a demonstration of supreme weakness, almost helplessness on Romney’s part as he tries to attach himself to a base that has lost its coherence.
Moral: Dobson and Romney deserve one another.
P.S. About my subject line: apologies to Dylan Thomas and lovers of poetry everywhere.