Did anyone really think that Focus on the Family chieftain James Dobson wouldn't back the Republican ticket this fall? Doubt it -- but Dobson managed to keep his name in the press for months pretending to be non-commital while acting as partisan as any delegate at the ongoing Republican National Convention. In June, he attacked Democratic nominee Barack Obama for allegedly "dragging Biblical understanding through the gutter" -- a claim Fox Newser Bill O'Reilly and his ilk were happy to publicize. Then, the next month, he said he wasn't endorsing presumptive nominee John McCain yet, but he could imagine doing so in the future. You coy devil, you.
No need to imagine now. Dobson's currently a scout leader in the Republican camp -- and it's all because of vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
Today, the home page of CitizenLink.org, Focus' political arm, sports a video about a pro-life meeting at the RNC featuring a clip of conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly and comments from the Free Market Foundation's Kelly Shackleford boasting that the Republicans' platform plank regarding opposition to abortion is the strongest in the party's history. And while the report takes a minor swipe at McCain, claiming he actually preferred softer anti-abortion language, two press releases make it clear where Dobson's heart lies. Here's the first, an August 29 offering found under the headline "Dr. James Dobson: McCain’s Choice of Palin 'Outstanding'":
Colorado Springs, Colo. – Focus on the Family Action founder and chairman James C. Dobson, Ph.D., issued the following statement today after learning that Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, had selected Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate.
Dr. Dobson will further discuss McCain's pick tonight at 9 p.m. ET on Fox News Channel’s Hannity & Colmes.
"Sen. McCain’s selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is an outstanding choice that should be extremely reassuring to the conservative base of his party. She is a strong executive who hates corruption and puts principle above politics. After floating the names of Tom Ridge and Sen. Joe Lieberman in recent weeks – selections that would have created consternation among pro-family Republicans – Sen. McCain has chosen a solid conservative who has a reputation for espousing common sense.
"Gov. Palin’s commitment to the sanctity of life is not just a political position. She was advised to abort her fifth and youngest child when it was learned he had Down syndrome. She refused. That’s bravery and integrity in action.
"Gov. Palin’s views align with Sen. McCain’s own stated position that human life is precious and must be protected – and that gives us confidence he will keep his pledges to voters regarding the kinds of justices he would nominate to the Supreme Court and the way he would conduct our nation’s domestic and international affairs. This selection by Sen. McCain is a very encouraging sign for his campaign.”
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In addition, the site features a second press release, "Dr. James Dobson: The Palins Are in My Prayers," released on September 2, after the revelation that Palin's teenage daughter Bristol is in the family way:
Colorado Springs, Colo. – James C. Dobson, Ph.D., issued the following statement today in the wake of media reports that Bristol Palin, 17-year-old daughter of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, is pregnant.
"In the 32-year history of Focus on the Family, we have offered prayer, counseling and resource assistance to tens of thousands of parents and children in the same situation the Palins are now facing. We have always encouraged the parents to love and support their children and always advised the girls to see their pregnancies through, even though there will of course be challenges along the way. That is what the Palins are doing, and they should be commended once again for not just talking about their pro-life and pro-family values, but living them out even in the midst of trying circumstances.
"Being a Christian does not mean you're perfect. Nor does it mean your children are perfect. But it does mean there is forgiveness and restoration when we confess our imperfections to the Lord. I've been the beneficiary of that forgiveness and restoration in my own life countless times, as I'm sure the Palins have.
"The media are already trying to spin this as evidence Gov. Palin is a 'hypocrite,' but all it really means is that she and her family are human. They are in my prayers and those of millions of Americans."
No more game-playing for J.D. He's on the McCain-Palin bandwagon now, and if the ticket is elected in November, he no doubt expects that he'll have an open invitation to the Oval Office whenever he'd like. Which is what he's wanted all along. -- Michael Roberts