Cancel the honeymoon...the wedding is off. After waiting for months for Fred Thompson to enter the GOP presidential primary, it appears that the bloom is already off the rose.
OK, I know it's wrong to enjoy watching the spats of others...but I have to admit that the brouhaha between James Dobson and Fred Thompson has me giggling. The dust up began with the following statement by Mr. Dobson in which he unequivocally states that he can't support Thompson as the future "prime time" president.
From CBN News:
"Isn't Thompson the candidate who is opposed to a constitutional amendment to protect marriage, believes there should be 50 different definitions of marriage in the U.S., favors McCain-Feingold, won't talk at all about what he believes, and can't speak his way out of a paper bag on the campaign trail?" questioned Dobson.
"He has no passion, no zeal, and no apparent 'want to,'" the Focus founder continued. "And yet he is apparently the Great Hope that burns in the breasts of many conservative Christians? Well, not for me, my brothers. Not for me!"
"Everyone knows he's conservative and has come out strongly for the things that the pro-family movement stands for, but I don't think he's a Christian, at least that's my impression," said Dobson before commenting that the presidential hopeful would have a hard time tapping into the Republican Party's conservative Christian base to win the GOP nomination.
In the video below, Thompson, during an interview with Sean Hannity, basically tells Dobson to get lost...adding that he hasn't spoken with Dobson, but he would take the Focus On The Family leader's call if he wanted to offer an apology.
I've written about Dobson in the past and it is my contention that he is all about James Dobson...and not much else. The following is from a posting this past may following the GOP's dismal performance in the 2006 election. Dobson had just issued a terse rebuke of the Giuliani candidacy.
From Victory Is Coming Sayeth The "Lords" To The Hordes:
I view Dobson's words to be an anticipatory shot across the bow at the politicians who could damage the standing of the far right...but more importantly I view his words as an acknowledgment that 2006 put his power over those he leads at risk. If my hypothesis is correct, those aligned with Dobson will counter intuitively draw a much clearer line in the sand with regard to the 2008 election. Losing the election is secondary to losing the hold they have on their followers.
Conceding doctrine in order to win an election is far worse than losing an election. As long as the adherence to doctrine is maintained, rightness can be affirmed. If rightness can be affirmed through leadership’s unwavering and willful demonstration of faith, (even in the presence of predictable defeat) then that faith can be extrapolated to and embraced by the flock. That negates the risks associated with the possible negative attributions that may result from the previously identified human frailties and that might befall the individual followers should they perceive that their cause is lost (and their beliefs invalidated).
Therefore it is essential that the enemy remains clearly identified as well as the need to persevere. In order to achieve the promised victory, the wrongness of the opposition must be magnified in order to allow momentum to intervene and sustain the faith of the followers. Victory will have been postponed but never conceded. That leaves the identified and established fundamental beliefs and their absolute premise intact and available to employ in the maintenance of unquestioned and unchallenged power.
In the end, leadership reassures the flock that victory remains the goal and that it remains attainable...but only through blind adherence to the doctrinal interpretations of the leadership because they are the individuals who have exhibited sufficient will and faith to sustain the flock. The end goal has been delayed but the ending remains unchanged. The movement lives on and the benefactors [James Dobson] live well in the here and now. Everyone else is asked to be patient, to contribute [money] to the cause, and to anxiously await the rewards of the afterlife.
Essentially, Dobson is focused upon preserving his cash cow and what he perceives to be his empire. Keep in mind that recent reports suggest that Focus On The Family's fundraising has declined and they have also laid off a number of employees. I've never fully believed that Dobson sought to be a kingmaker; he's far more interested in being the king of his own empire and receiving the spoils that accompany the role.
Therefore, I contend his foray into the political arena is simply the means to maximize his ministry and the millions of dollars that he can be raised under the guise of promoting a family values political agenda. So long as the flock thinks Dobson has significant political influence, he will be able to continue picking the pockets of the pious.
If Dobson believes the evangelicals cannot swing the 2008 election, I suspect he would prefer to be seen as having sat it out. In doing so, it becomes difficult to measure any diminished power. In fact, if the GOP were to lose in 2008, Dobson could use that as evidence of his capacity to decide elections.
Anyway, I expect to see more fireworks before the GOP chooses a candidate. Time to make some popcorn.