Is The Religious Right Losing Its Edge?

Election '08

In January, Focus on the Family's James Dobson ruled out voting for John McCain, if he won the Republican nomination. "Speaking as a private individual, I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances," Dobson said in a statement. In February, just as McCain was wrapping up the GOP nod, Dobson reiterated that McCain was unacceptable.

As recently as April, Dobson told the WSJ, "I have seen no evidence that Sen. McCain is successfully unifying the Republican Party or drawing conservatives into his fold. To the contrary, he seems intent on driving them away." Dobson added that McCain has "written off" social conservatives.

And yet, Dobson has suddenly discovered that his hatred of McCain is not as intense as his hatred of Barack Obama.

Conservative Christian leader James Dobson has softened his stance against Republican presidential hopeful John McCain, saying he could reverse his position and endorse the Arizona senator despite serious misgivings.
"I never thought I would hear myself saying this," Dobson said in a radio broadcast to air Monday. "... While I am not endorsing Senator John McCain, the possibility is there that I might." ... In an advance copy provided to The Associated Press, Dobson said that while neither candidate is consistent with his views, McCain's positions are closer by a wide margin.
"There's nothing dishonorable in a person rethinking his or her positions, especially in a constantly changing political context," Dobson said in a statement to the AP. "Barack Obama contradicts and threatens everything I believe about the institution of the family and what is best for the nation. His radical positions on life, marriage and national security force me to reevaluate the candidacy of our only other choice, John McCain."
Dobson recognizes that he's done a 180-degree turn here, and told the AP, "If that is a flip-flop, then so be it."

Now, it's tempting to just dismiss this as yet another unprincipled religious-right leader, doing what these clowns always do -- shill for the Republican Party.

But I have to admit, Dobson's reversal actually surprises me. In fact, from a political perspective, Dobson isn't doing himself any favors here.

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