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James Dobson scratches one more off his list

James Dobson is the founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, a conservative, nonprofit ministry that appears to wield large influence among Christian Republicans. From its mountainside headquarters in Colorado Springs, Dobson and crew issue newsletters, radio broadcasts and mass e-mailings on issues of their day.

As a nonprofit, Focus is supposed to be nonpartisan. But speaking allegedly as an individual, Dobson has made his own past political choices crystal-clear to his flock, including his endorsement of George W. Bush in 2004.

We've written recently about the strange phenomenon of Dobson this year instead announcing which Republican candidate he is not going to endorse. You might call it a Dobson's Choice.

He's not going to endorse Rudy Giuliani; Dobson said that one was irrevocable and has to do with the former mayor's acceptance of abortion on demand. Dobson is also not going to endorse John McCain because of restrictions in the McCain-Feingold bill to limit the ability of groups like Focus to contact constituents about pending legislation.

Now, according to the Associated Press, Dobson has just issued his latest nonendorsement, this one of Fred Thompson. In an allegedly private e-mail, which the AP obtained, Dobson writes:

"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?"

Dobson continues: "He has no passion, no zeal, no 'want to.' And yet he is apparently the Great Hope that burns in the breasts of many conservative Christians. Well, not for me, brothers. Not for me!"

Yes, but how does Dobson really feel about the former Tennessee senator?

A Thompson spokeswoman said the candidate "has a 100% pro-life voting record. He believes strongly in returning authority to the levels of government closest to families and communities, protecting states from intrusion by the federal government and activist judges. We're confident as voters get to know Fred, they'll appreciate his conservative principles."

And we're confident we'll be hearing much more from Jimmy D. There's still Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul to nonendorse among Republicans. One of them is even a Mormon! And there's a Baptist and converted Catholic in there too!

Not to mention Newt Gingrich, the political sleeper noncandidate who used Dobson's radio show last winter to publicly confess that he was having an affair during the very time he was denouncing Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky business. Dobson has called Gingrich the "brightest guy out there."

Hmmmm.

--Andrew Malcolm

 
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Another fatwah from the man of the mountains! Fred must be crying himself to sleep on his huge pillow.

The more I hear, the better I feel. Dobson not endorsing is a positive step IMO.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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