Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin VP Choice - Dobson Endorses McCain

I woke up this morning to learn that Dr. James Dobson has endorsed John McCain for President.

John McCain has not changed. This is the same candidate that sponsored McCain/Feingold which would have pretty well destroyed whatever political power organizations like Dobson's have left as well as trashing the First Amendment in the process. This is the same candidate that has thumbed his nose at his own party to side with Democrats again and again. This is the same McCain who has studiously stiff armed Dobson throughout the entire campaign. As a matter of fact, this is the same candidate that was expected to name a pro-abortion VP candidate if not Democrat Joe Lieberman. And, this is the same candidate that repeatedly ignored the has whole evangelical wing of the GOP until now.

And, I suppose that Dr. Dobson has not changed either. I briefly read his statement this morning with its carefully nuanced explanation of his change of heart. He did leave himself wiggle room in earlier statements and he has now wiggled. But, it is the price of that wiggle that concerns me.

Sarah Palin appears to be a very decent person. Her courage in bringing to term and raising a Down's syndrome baby is inspiring. But, her political record as governor of a small, sparsely populated state does not inspire great confidence in her as a world leader. The decision to place her on the ticket was purely political and had nothing to do with her qualifications past the election. She is pro-life, evangelical and very attractive. And above all else, she is a woman. Consequently, the forces that see the GOP as a brand to be marketed instead of a moral and political cause to be upheld, hope to use her sex to attract disenchanted Hillary constituents. But there is a problem there. She is almost a cliche' ... an extremely attractive young woman that will look awfully good on aging John McCain's arm at official functions. (Student's of John McCain's personal life might see a trend here.)

If the election were a beauty contest she would win hands down. But, despite the fact she is probably a remarkably decent person, an evangelical, a hunter, a former model and beauty queen and just cute as the dickens, she lacks the gravitas a lot of us would like to see in a person who will be one heart beat away from being commander in chief. Evangelical's great relief at who McCain DID NOT pick cannot make up for the enormous gaps in Palin's resume' and by selecting her, McCain gave up the great benefit of offering a proven, seasoned ticket that would provide sharp contrast to O'Bama's lack of experience.

Should McCain be elected, I suspect that Vice President Palin will be assigned mostly ceremonial duties as Dan Quail was and will be carefully managed by controllers. What effect she will have on the direction of a McCain administration is certainly an open question but, using Quail as the template, I suspect it will be minimal. So, it is entirely possible that the last major evangelical endorsement was swapped for an entirely ceremonial and minimally influential seat at the table in a possible McCain administration.

McCain's people called Dr. Dobson and the evangelical's bluff. They knew that if they campaigned far enough to the left to allow whomever was running for the Democrats to run to their far left wing base that the Evangelicals would blink and vote for any GOP candidate out of fear, even a GOP candidate that has insulted them, stiff armed them and refused to make even the empty, nearly meaningless campaign promises that most candidates make to evangelicals in an election year. In this way, McCain can keep strong support from the Country Club wing of the GOP which has always despised and mistrusted evangelicals anyway, campaign hard toward the so called undecided center swing votes, and in the process keep the majority of a evangelical voting bloc for almost no expenditure of political capital. It is a masterful triangulation against his own base that even Bill Clinton would admire.

In 1996 Dr. Dobson wrote: "Only the most partisan supporters of the present regime could insist that we still live in a functioning democracy. (snip) I doubt most Americans are aware of the current impotence of their vote." I think the same can be said about evangelical's influence in the GOP political process right now. Until evangelicals learn to street fight and not sell out cheap, they will continue to be an ever more impotent and now even ignored faction of the party.


Postcript: According to Andrew Sullivan writing in the Daily Dish at the ( link HERE), it would appear that we evangelicals sold out cheaper than we realized:

She opposes same-sex marriage, but she has stated that she has gay friends and is receptive to gay and lesbian concerns about discrimination.[9] While the previous administration did not implement same-sex benefits, Palin complied with a state Supreme Court order and signed them into law.[28] She disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling[29] and supported a democratic advisory vote from the public on whether there should be a constitutional amendment on the matter.[30] Alaska was one of the first U.S. states to pass a constitutional ban on gay marriage, in 1998, along with Hawaii.[31] Palin has stated that she supported the 1998 constitutional amendment.[9]

Palin's first veto was used to block legislation that would have barred the state from granting benefits to the partners of gay state employees. In effect, her veto granted State of Alaska benefits to same-sex couples. The veto occurred after Palin consulted with Alaska's attorney general on the constitutionality of the legislation.[29]


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