James Dobson, Focus on the Family's moral arbiter and chief scold, isn't supposed to play a major part in this year's presidential election. After all, the longtime powerhouse in Republican politics has no detectable fondness for that party's presumptive nominee, John McCain, and the only way he'll support Barack Obama is if he's ordered to do so by Jesus Christ Himself during a nationally televised news conference. But the Colorado Springser is still capable of driving the national agenda, as he proved on June 24. As noted in this Demver blog, Dobson leaked the contents of a forthcoming anti-Obama rant to the press -- and before the day was out, right-tilting yapper Bill O'Reilly and local conservative Dan Caplis were singing from his hymn book.
On The Radio Factor, his nationally syndicated gab fest, O'Reilly highlighted clips from a 2006 Obama speech that Dobson used to argue that the Dem has a twisted view of both the Bible and the Constitution. He then aired a virulent attack ad aimed at Obama that was created by a group calling itself the Coalition Against Anti-Christian Rhetoric -- a spot a TV station in South Dakota pulled after complaints from the Obama campaign. O'Reilly criticized the commercial, but not until running it in its entirety and giving its blatantly racist message a coast-to-coast platform. Those Anti-Christian Rhetoric loons must have been dancing with delight.
O'Reilly didn't reference Dobson on his broadcast -- at least not during the portions I heard. But on the KHOW afternoon-drive program, Caplis, joined by co-host Craig Silverman, cut out the middle man, juxtaposing snippets from Obama's address with the broadcast responses delivered by Dobson. Surprise, surprise: Caplis, who made it clear that he thinks Obama is an enormous threat to our nation in the June 12 Message column, found himself agreeing with Mr. D.
Dobson may be on the outside looking in regarding the 2008 presidential election, but his ideological buddies are still listening closely to what he says. -- Michael Roberts