Monday, July 21, 2008

On John McCain and the Disappointing Dr. Dobson

It's all over the Blogosphere. Focus on the Family Founder Dr. James Dobson is reconsidering his position on GOP Presidential hopeful Senator John McCain.

meDobson founded Focus on the Family in 1977. The radio show and publishing house has become one of the leading voices for Evangelical Christianity and its political wing, the Religious Right. Back in primary season, Dr. Dobson wasn't very supportive of McCain. Politico sums it up like this:
Earlier, Dobson had said he could not in good conscience vote for McCain, citing the candidate's support for embryonic stem cell research and opposition to a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, as well as concerns about McCain's temper and foul language.
In a pre-recorded radio show that airs today, Dobson has opened the door for a flip-flop: "I never thought I would hear myself saying this... While I am not endorsing Senator John McCain, the possibility is there that I might."

It doesn't really surprise me (or even disappoint me, I suppose) that Dr. Dobson may endorse McCain. McCain is the GOP nominee. The Religious Right has hitched its wagon to the Republican star. What choices are there?

What does disappointment me is the shifting rationale for the two positions. Dr. Dobson couldn't vote for McCain a few months ago. It was a matter of conscience; he'd just stay home on election day. How could a true believer vote to make someone president with McCain's views on family issues? It was a matter of principal. But as the political waters have gotten deeper, the principals have floated away. Now it's just a practical issue. McCain is the lesser of two evils, and Dr. Dobson is likely to endorse one of the evils in hopes of avoiding the other.

It doesn't bother that Dr Dobson may endorse McCain. It bothers me that he took the original position and framed the discussion as a moral and religious choice to start with. It bothers me because it seemed sincere at the time, and now it just seems hypocritical...


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