No news: Dobson ‘might’ endorse McCain

Presidential politics can be interesting. The most laughable and least significant report of the week was Focus on the Family leader James Dobson’s pronouncement that he “might” endorse Republican Sen. John McCain.
In the words of military veteran Gomer Pyle: “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”
Imagine that, a Religious Right figure supporting a Republican candidate. When is the last time that happened?…never mind.
Of course, Dobson, who famously said he “would not vote for John McCain under any circumstance,” still wants to be a player in national politics. So this is a calculated move to keep him visible and connected.
A “maybe-endorsement” is designed to keep the attention on the endorser rather than the endorsee. It also carries a political threat.
This is probably the latest effort by the declining Religious Right to pressure Sen. McCain into choosing a running mate they like. McCain has not coddled fundamentalist Christians like previous candidates — even calling some of them “agents of intolerance” in the past.
McCain, an Episcopalian who attends North Phoenix Baptist Church where Dan Yeary is pastor, has tried to assure Christian fundamentalists that they would like his selection of Supreme Court justices and his opposition to gay marriage.
But Dobson seems to want more before giving a full endorsement — which everyone who knows anything about anything knows is coming.
It is hard to imagine, however, that those over whom Dodson has influence are waiting to see which candidate they should support. The only influence over the presidential election that Dobson may have is whether his followers walk briskly or sluggishly into the polls to vote for the Republican nominee.
Of course, all votes count — even from those who consider you a lesser evil.


  1. It is just as interesting that neither Condi Rice nor Colin Powell have yet “endorsed” McCain. Politics has always produced some strange bedfellows. In the last election a reporter, in an apparent attempt to blindside McCain, asked about his ancestors’ (Mississippi) ownership of slaves. McCain’s response was that he always considered his family a “military” family and had not thought about slave ownership. It appears that one of those slaves (census records did not reflect slaves by name) was my favorite folk guitarist’s, with a blues influence, mother, Mississippi John Hurt. Hurt, who died in the 60s, became very popular amongst Northeastern college students, mostly white. Today, most of Hurt’s fans and finger-picking emulators are white (many European). Apparently, Oprah’s endorsement of Obama alienated female Clinton supporters. My main point being that factors other than political idealogy seem to control political alliances.

  2. DAvid Gushee, Mark Noll and Northland Baptist Church’s Joel Hunter are strong alternative plumblines for convictional evangelicals to consider as they explore other folks beside Dobson and Al Mohler as they make come up with a calculus for casting their ballot in November.
    The June 30 New Yorker article by Frances Fitzgerald is a great source for folks disturbed by Mohler and Dobson’s recent staging in Richard Land’s studios, according to Bob Allen at Ethics daily.
    Let’s hope the likes of Mercer, Campbell and Samford provide opportunities for Dobson and Mohler to engage Hunter, Gushee and Noll this fall before the election. If nothing else should lessen the narcissism of Mohler and Dobson they alone are today’s evangelical Moseses coming down from Sinai with the Presidential tablets.

  3. Fox-
    It is interesting that Al Mohler (during a radio broadcast with James Dodson, according to the article you mentioned) said that Sen McCain (who, I believe, has been married twice) “defends the institution of marriage” while Barack Obama (who is still married to his first wife) doesn’t.
    It is interesting how political ideology is more definitive than personal practice for some.

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