Yes, Dobson's comments "leaked" during the 2008 campaign, too. It's his SOP.
Well, as I said, I'm not intending to defend everything Dobson says or does.
But let's just keep in mind, this is a group of social conservative Evanglical leaders who are meeting to discuss whether they can get behind one of the more conservative candidates, and perhaps edge out Romney in the process.
Their business is not to placate the press, or us, or libertarians. There business is to see if they can agree on a candidate and persuade Evangelicals to vote for that candidate.
Whatever one thinks of Evangelicals, we NEED THEIR VOTES if we are going to win this ballgame. So, if Gingrich has some negatives that the media will harp on, that could easily end up with millions of Evangelicals staying home, as they did in 2006 after Bush disappointed them in his second term.
In that column I identified 43 mistakes made by the GOP since 1984 that have been leading toward the death of the conservative movement. Among those mistakes, I identified Dr. James Dobsons irresponsible attack on former Senator Fred Thompson (which accused Fred Thompson of not being a Christian) as being responsible for 7 of the GOPs 43 mistakes on the path to the death of conservatism. In the title and in my column, I coined the term Dobsons Choice, which is a play on words for the common expression, Hobsons Choice.
A Hobson's choice is a free choice in which only one option is offered. As a person may refuse to take that option, the choice is therefore between taking the option or not; "take it or leave it". The phrase is said to originate with Thomas Hobson (15441631), a livery stable owner in Cambridge, England. To rotate the use of his horses, he offered customers the choice of either taking the horse in the stall nearest the door or taking none at all.
In August of 2008 Alan Keyes wrote a column for WorldNetDaily entitled 2-Party System: No Choice But Evil. Keyes column also used the Hobsons Choice/Dobsons Choice play on words in a paragraph header (NOTE: Im not accusing Dr. Keyes of appropriating my idea). Keyes used the term to describe Dr. Dobsons August flip-flop to endorse and vote for 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain.
Prior to McCains nomination, Dr. Dobson declared that he could not in good conscience cast his vote for Sen. McCain. He did so in light of the senators positions on key issues of moral concern, including his support for embryonic stem cell research and his unwillingness to defend the natural family as the basis for the institution of marriage. Keyes column took issue with Dobsons willingness to abandon an absolutist position on stem cell research. The column was posted on Free Republic by FReeper EternalVigilance at:
In the discussion thread that followed I responded to a post by FReeper Lakeshark who wrote:
I think Dobson is as close to a modern day hero as there is. He has done more than most to preserve values in America than anyone I know, and for that I am grateful.
Dobson is largely to blame for giving us McCain as the GOP nominee. Fred Thompson didn't return Dobson's calls and was slow to make a pilgrimage to kiss his ring, so Dobson signle-handedly removed the only viable conservative in the race by leaking an email that falsely said Fred Thompson wasn't a Christian.
Dobson tried to play kingmaker and lost. He killed Thompson's campaign and steered alot of evangelicals with limited politcal acumen to Huckaphony (not a conservative, but probably a devout Christian). Without a good chunk of those polital-novice evangelicals, a conservative cannot beat a well-financed moderate for the GOP nomination.
It was a vain and stupid move by Dobson. In addition to taking out Thompson, Dobson also marginalized every evangelical who is also practicing Republican. Country clubbers and moderates within every state and local Republican party have become emboldened by what they see as the dumb and weak evangelical faction and are challenging conservatives on every platform position, down ticket election and party leadership post.
Meanwhile, at the top of the ticket, McCain didn't need evangelicals to win the nomination. And he won't consult them when picking his VP. And if McCain should get lucky and win the election in November, you can bet your life savings that McCain will not be employing conservatives in his Administration or consulting them on policy matters.
Yep, you're my hero, Dr. Dobson. You have selfishly set the conservative movement back at least 10 years.
Later in my debate with Lakeshark I remarked:
Look, there are 2 types of evangelicals - there are some who are active within their state and local Republican parties and integrate their faith into their politics (a group I identify with) and there are those who simply vote and occasionally integrate their politics into their faith. The latter are the larger group. After Dobson's attack, the 'non-political' evangelicals moved largely to Huckabee with the inferred endorsement of Dobson. Without the 'non-politcal' evangelicas Thompson saw he had little chance to win the nomination and quit (although he would have won the Louisiana caucus had he remained in the race 2 days longer).
"For 'political' evangelicals that left a choice of Stab-the-party-in-the-back McCain, Massachusetts-Mormon Romney, Pro-choice-but-otherwise-conservative Giuliani and Huckaphoney - all flawed candidates that were unacceptable to one or more factions of the party.
Giuliani miscalculated the moderate support he hoped to have in Florida and was next out. With Fred & Rudy out, 'political' evangelicals briefly flirted with backing Romney, but grudgingly coalesced behind McCain after doing the calculations and realizing that the 'non-political' evangelicals would never actively support a Mormon and the country clubbers would never support the Rev. Tax Hike Mike.
And that's how Dobson stuck the Republican Party with McCain.
What really bothers me is that Dobson didn't speak with Fred directly before leaking the 'Fred's not a Christian' email. As the most visible and politically active evangelical voice in America, Dobson should have known better. Maybe Dobson was irritated that Fred hadn't yet made a pilgrimage to kiss his ring like the other candidates who were courting the evangelical vote. Maybe Fred was dumb for not doing it.
My only hope is that evangelical leaders learn from the folly of Dobson's choice and make less arrogant and more intelligent choices in 2012 or 2016. Of course, the politicians will adjust and will make a greater effort to court Dobson and others. And I don't know how I feel about that. Part of me really liked the fact that Fred was willing to tell Dobson and the other Pharisees to cram it.
And now in 2012, were here at the same juncture and that political moron Dobson is at it again making the same mistake.
Dobson makes an off the record comment harmful to Gingrich (a conservative who could actually defeat the Establishment moderate Romney). Other evangelicals interpret Dobsons comment as a non-endorsement endorsement of Rick Santorum (an evangelical conservative who is less likely to defeat the Establishment moderate Romney). The most likely result of Dobsons comment/non-endorsement is the nomination of Mitt Romney.
What will Dobson do for an encore?
Before the eventual Establishment GOP coronation of Mitt Romney aka the Republican Party Convention Dobson will wonder aloud whether evangelical Christians can support a Mormon, but not actually state that specifically. That comment will do predictable damage to Republicans and will cause some Evangelicals to either opt-out of the electoral process or drift to a quixotic third-party challenge by nut job libertarian Ron Paul. After Mitts nomination, Dr. Dobson will repudiate his non-statement on whether evangelicals could support a Mormon and suggest (but not say directly) that he will indeed vote for Mitt Romney.
Hey, Dr. Dobson shut your piehole!! Stick to commenting on religion and stay away from politics. You are a political moron and have selfishly set the conservative movement back at least 10 years!!