It’s been awhile since I’ve been as furious with a public figure as I am right now with Dr. James Dobson. I’ll begin this post with his post:

“I Cannot, and Will Not, Vote for McCain”

Now, my outrage at his statement is not for the reason, or at least not primarily, for the reason you might think: it’s not because he says that he will not vote for John McCain. I happen to think that that decision is merely incredibly stupid, a lapse in judgment, a big mistake borne of a rigid, inflexible commitment to lockstep orthodoxy on every point (can you tell I think that it’d be stupid not to support John McCain? I do. And I say that, as readers of the Zone know, as a person who considers McCain to be quite the mediocre choice for president in many, many respects, and as a strong supporter of Mike Huckabee.). But even though I consider McCain, for his many foibles and inconsistencies, to nonetheless be so far superior to either Socialist potential nominee at this incredibly important stage of our national history that voting for him isn’t even a very hard call, I can understand to at least some degree how a person might decide not to vote for McCain, much in the same way I decided long ago that, for me, Rudy Giuliani was a bridge too far. Fair enough; good people can disagree on the worthiness of McCain to receive a vote. It’s not for that reason that I believe Dr. Dobson to be inexcusably irresponsible (so if you write in to comment, don’t even talk about John McCain. This post is not about John McCain). Rather, I refer you to one sentence taken from the middle of his statement. Speaking of Mrs. Bill Clinton (or Barack the Wonder Boy), and John McCain, Dobson said:

If these are the nominees in November, I simply will not cast a ballot for president for the first time in my life.

Those words are infuriating. They represent a gross abdication of his responsibility, a betrayal of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship in our nation. It is an irresponsible act not to vote in a presidential election. And given his stature as a statesman on moral issues, to advocate this staggering irresponsibility is inexcusable. Thousands of brave Americans have given their lives so we could have the right to vote. For Dr. Dobson to lift up spitting on their graves, taking a cowardly pass on the responsibility of voting, is reprehensible. Can’t vote for the Republican or the Socialist? Fine. Vote third party (I’ve done that). Write in a candidate (I’ve done that). Vote for yourself. Vote for me (I actually got a vote in an election in Pennsylvania several years ago. Don’t remember what the contest was. Beginning and end of my political career. For now.). But to urge Americans, by his considerable example, to act in such an irresponsible manner? I’ve used up about all the adjectives I can think of to describe it.

As far as I’m concerned, unless and until Dr. James Dobson retracts that part of his statement, he has forfeited his moral authority. He has gone off the reservation. With these words, he’s not the faithful, concerned American that I always thought he was. To whatever degree he might could have been said to speak for me, he no longer does. He can keep his material, ’cause I’m no longer interested in buying what he’s selling.

Funny (in a sad way): he calls his public policy/political magazine “Citizen”. If you don’t get the irony of that, you’re not paying attention. Time to rename it “Irresponsible Citizen”.

Did I mention I was ticked?

10 responses »

  1. Jane says:

    Our preacher candidate, the Christian, is staying in a hopeless race for the sole purpose of spoiling the Romney vote because he, the Huckster, is colluded with McCain to skim votes to hand delegates to McCain. 1. It’s legal. 2. It’s common. 3. It’s smart maneuvering. 4. It’s dirty, deceitful and zero integrity. So much for someone Christians can support. If he was the wonder horse over whom you salute and flagwave, he’d not only refuse to play that game, he wouldn’t lie to the press about doing it and he would do the honorable thing by bowing out like Rudy and Fred did. He’s McCain’s Monica for the VP spot. He deserves McCain to betray him and choose another. “Jerk” comes to mind. So do other words my mother wouldn’t define let alone let me use. All she’ll let me say is shame on him.

  2. Byron says:

    No, Jane, 1000 times no. I don’t buy your conspiracy theory on this one; sorry. But you’re entitled to your opinion!

  3. Jack Brooks says:

    Amazing. Jane claims to have the power to read Huckabee’s mind.

    Focus on the Family is supposed to be a Christian ministry organization (allegedly, considering its heavy reliance on secular psychology). Consequently, Dobson shouldn’t even be in the business of endorsing candidates. Secondly, from a Christian yardstick, a lot of what you could criticize McCain for doesn’t come into view. You can easily criticize many of the votes McCain has cast since 2000. But does the Bible have a position on whether ads that name a candidate should or should not be aired 30 days before a general election (Campaign Finance Reform)? Does it speak to whether illegal aliens ought to have an opportunity to apply for citizenship if they do so from their home country and pay a $2,000 fine? No. So in what way is Dobson’s petulant refusal to vote — his anti-endorsement — the act of a man who leads an explicitly Christian and ostensibly non-partisan ministry organization? Dobson as a private citizen has every right to decide to do what he claims he’s going to do (or not do, in this case), even though I think it’s utterly foolish. But he had no right to announce such a thing in his role as President of FOTF, or give it the appearance of a “Christian” standard.

    But Dobson has been living way over the Biblical line between actual Scripture-based moral issues and matters of personal opinion for years, and it appears he no longer knows the difference.

  4. Jane says:

    Newsflash: We do not have a constitutional right to vote in a federal election. Local, state, yes. Federal, no. Google it. Once you realize you are not responsible for the outcome if you don’t vote, that weight and the accompanying guilt is gone. Voting is a noble privilege when the selection is easy. God is in control and I answer to Him. We can then concentrate on the Matthew 26 mission when our voting choice sucks.

    I had to put down the pencil once in a governor race because both candidates supported abortion. I had a vision of one of those babies asking me if I tried to save them. So if Dobson’s conscience is speaking to him, fine.

    As for The Huckster, it was Bill Clinton who publicly suggested the conservatives get behind Huck on a new evangelical ticket. Can you say Ross Perot? It worked for Bill, why not Hill? That’s my big red flag on Huck, an opinion sourced from Bill-where’s-that-intern-Clinton.

    So if Comrade Hilldebeast is in charge, will she see this voters’ rights chink and do something about it? McCain already tried to skew free speech. I don’t see much difference EXCEPT on the Islam threat, but am not sure I want to insist on voting for the devil or the deep blue sea. That’s irresponsibility.

    This is not American Idol and I don’t want to be even partially responsible for putting turbans on my grandsons’ heads if they still have them attached. So…….. on the terrorism basis and the Fair Tax basis, a McCain/Huckabee isn’t aallll bad but is little good beyond that.

    Still undecided.

  5. Byron says:


    I think you miss my point, on two points. One, I’m not sure where you get that we don’t have the “right” to vote in a federal election (maybe it’s not spelled out in the Constitution per se, I take it?), but at any rate, that’s not my point: my point is that we have a responsibility to, and as you say, a privilege of, on the basis of the lives given and the blood shed to secure all of the rights we enjoy. But second, you are approaching it as if we only had two choices, and that’s not true either. There may only be two candidates with any theoretical chance of winning the election, but that’s irrelevant. My issue with Dobson is that to be a “Citizen”, we must guard the right (constitutional or otherwise) to vote, to have our voice heard on Election Day, and to say, “I’ll sit this one out” is an abdication of his responsibility, and sets a terrible example. Vote third party, vote for yourself, vote a write-in, but to be a real “citizen”, you must vote. And if you choose not to vote, then by all means, shut up (I’m not speaking to you, Jane, but simply in general), because you forfeit your authority to opine on matters political.

  6. Byron says:

    Oh, and further (though this is not a post about McCain), I must remind you that McCain and Huckabee (if that’s the ticket) are reliably pro-life, and McCain has pledged to look for Alito/Roberts clones to appoint to the Supreme Court. That’s a stark, stark contrast between he and Mrs. Bill, and with us sitting one Justice away from the potential overturn of Roe, then I think you need to have that vision again of babies asking you what you’ve done to save them. Then, the choice becomes easy, and that’s why Dobson is not only being incredibly irresponsible, but IMHO, cut-off-the-nose-to-spite-the-face stupid.

  7. Hillary Clinton would be the most pro-choice, anti-life president in history. I am mystified by Dr. Dobson’s actions. I have a great deal of respect for what God has done through him at Focus – it is a most amazing place and work. But on this issue, I completely disagree and urge those who disagree to contact FOTF with your views.

  8. Jack Brooks says:

    You inspire me to write at my blog, Byron. I didn’t even know about Dr. Dobson’s piece. I honestly think several of his claims about McCain, though standard conservative boilerplate by now, are either factually wrong or leave out tons of details.

  9. Richard says:

    I personally think Dobson is irrelevant in this election. He did basically the same thing the conservative radio guys did: tell us why certain candidates are bad, not stand up and really endorse someone, then cry like babies when their choice isn’t nominated. Dobson should have endorsed the Huck months ago.
    On an unrelated note, I’ve put together a web browsing program highlighting the Huck’s coolness. Here’s my best pitch:

    Ever get tired of all those websites which don’t prominently feature the Huck’s photo on every page? Sick of links pointing to websites other than Well, friend, have I got the tool for you! This handy, dandy, self-contained web browser will completely Huck-ify your web experience! – Click on download the HuckaBrowser!!! Oh yeah, and email it to all the Huckamaniacs you know!

  10. Derlin says:

    And now, somewhat oddly in my opinion, Dr. Dobson endorces Mike Huckabee!

    I think the better approach would have been to endorse someone, and only worry about who to vote for (or to refrain from voting) in the general election after the party candidates had been decided.

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