Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 5, 2006

BUSH'S TALK IS SHALLOW, BUT IS DOBSON'S?....When Bush touts the "importance" of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage today from the White House, keep in mind the rhetoric is shallow.

Though Bush himself has publicly embraced the amendment, he never seemed to care enough to press the matter. One of his old friends told NEWSWEEK that same-sex marriage barely registers on the president's moral radar.

"I think it was purely political. I don't think he gives a s--t about it. He never talks about this stuff," said the friend, who requested anonymity to discuss his private conversations with Bush.

You mean Bush is insincere and will play up the amendment as some kind of empty political sop to his far-right base? You don't say.

The same Newsweek story, however, included another tidbit that's a little more significant.

Last month James Dobson, the influential founder of Focus on the Family, met privately with key Republicans, including Frist, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader John Boehner, to warn them about the political consequences of failing to promote issues like marriage. "If you forget us, we'll forget you," he said, according to a GOP House leadership aide who was briefed on the gatherings, but declined to be identified discussing private meetings.

Keep in mind, Dobson and a few of his high-profile cohorts had a similar meeting eight years ago. In 1998, he sat down with Newt Gingrich and the GOP leadership and, according to everyone who was there, Dobson threatened to leave the Republican Party unless the GOP embraced a religious-right style agenda with significantly more enthusiasm. "If I go," Dobson said, "I will do everything I can to take as many people with me as possible."

He was brought back into the fold, but the cease-fire was temporary and Dobson's making similar noises now. Pretty soon, if he expects his threats to be taken seriously, Dobson may actually have to follow through.

Steve Benen 10:37 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (50)

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Do you liberals even care that when you publicly cast aspersions on President Bush's sincerity regarding issues such as gay marriage, you bolster the confidence of our nation's enemies?

Posted by: American Hawk's stand-in on June 5, 2006 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

This is what I have been waiting for...
cheering for
and expecting.

The alliance holding the republican party together is an unholy one.

Big business is reliant upon science AND advertising (in which sex is used to sell everything).

Big Religion undermines both science and sex.

How long can nucleus of the Republican party hold together?

My answer is: It's got to go KABOOM!


Posted by: koreyel on June 5, 2006 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

>>Pretty soon, if he expects his threats to be taken seriously, Dobson may actually have to follow through.

The words: 'a consummation devoutly to be wished for' spring to mind.

Posted by: CFShep on June 5, 2006 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

The promotion of the "protect marriage" amendment will be even less effective this go-round.

It doesnt help when reporters write that Bush is bringing back the measure in the opening sentence, but that it has "no hope in passing" by the Senate in the sentence immediately following.

Posted by: billyjoe on June 5, 2006 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

I think this issue is an example of why liberal stereotyping of W. has its limits. Is W. a fundamentalist who believes he was chosen by God to bring Chirst back into our public tradition? If so, then why wouldn't he be sincere about banning gay marriage?

Or is he a cynical politician, who happens to be be Chrisitian, but uses fellow Christians for the sole purpose of winning elections, and then proceeds to pursue more secular, corporatist policies?

I find myself tripping over this inconsistency quite a bit when railing against the Bush admin. I think if Bush has succeeded in doing anything, it is draining any meaning left in our political labels.

Posted by: Amitava Mazumdar on June 5, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Guys guys guys....

Bush was a CHEERLEADER and member of Skull & Bones.

these creeps aren't gay - they are demented.

Anal Sex is an indoctrination tool which assigns power slots AND keeps ambitious boys and girls 'inline' later when they achieve a degree of success.

Are you all such wankers that you don't know about such goings on ???

Bush is a butt fuckee -- in case nobody noticed.

Owned and operated by men he admires and hopes to please.

Posted by: tj on June 5, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Amitava, the eternal question in analyzing the actions of the Bush administration is how to allocate the explanations of various officials' statements and actions among incompetence, stupidity, and evil. I'm sure some of them fit purely into one category, while others represent some combination of two, or even all three. We may never know the true answers, but we can oppose the administration nonetheless.

Posted by: KCinDC on June 5, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Pretty soon, if he expects his threats to be taken seriously, Dobson may actually have to follow through.

Dobson himself will never follow through, of course, and both he and the Repug leadership know it: it's all just Kabuki.

But fundie voters might. They have in the past, and they might do again, now that the mask is torn and they can see the corporate greedheads in the altar-boy costumes.

That's why the "culture of corruption" theme is so powerful, and why the Repugs are scrambling madly to promote any hint of scandal -- even a fake one -- against Democrats.

Corruption will split the Republican party. Every Democratic politician should be hammering the "corrupt Republicans" theme every time s/he gets in front of a camera.

Posted by: bleh on June 5, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Let Dobson go. He can start his own party, run his own candidates and maybe they'll win dog catcher -- here and there.

Posted by: bryrock on June 5, 2006 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

No health insurance, college tuition, high gas prices, and etc....and the fundies biggest worry is gay marriage??

Posted by: SweettP2063 on June 5, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

I find myself tripping over this inconsistency quite a bit when railing against the Bush admin. I think if Bush has succeeded in doing anything, it is draining any meaning left in our political labels.

Amitava, the eternal question in analyzing the actions of the Bush administration is how to allocate the explanations of various officials' statements and actions among incompetence, stupidity, and evil.

I think you guys might be making this a little harder than it needs to be. A fervid desire to amass wealth and power, and to compact and cement it among an ever-shrinking group of persons, is the single unifying thread among everything that Bushco does. It really is the full extent of their "political philosophy."

Once one acknowledges this, the seeming contradictions between traditional/neo/religious/etc. conservatism in this administration's actions quickly resolve themselves.

Posted by: shortstop on June 5, 2006 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Dr. Dobson go elsewhere? Where, pray tell? He sure can't hitch up with godless liberals, and third parties are the political equivalent a fish gasping on the river bank.

The real danger to Dr. Dobson is the disillusion of his flock should his promises to them evaporate. It will be interesting to see which villain Dr. Dobson chooses to blame when this effort fails.

Posted by: Zen Curmudgeon on June 5, 2006 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

This president's "moral radar" has been on black-out for 5+ years now.

As for Dobson...if he left where would he go?

Posted by: ckelly on June 5, 2006 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

I fail to understand where it is he thinks he'll go.

Posted by: Alexander Wolfe on June 5, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

President Bush's actions on the amendment may be mostly political and even shallow, but without meaning any disrespect to Benen personally (I don't know who he is), his posts so far also have been pretty shallow liberalism -- too much Clinton marriage coverage, not being able to understand we are the good guys, Florida craziness and now Dobson leaving the Republicans? Pretty light stuff, altough pretty long winded.

The Florida post indirectly raises something I always thought was interesting -- that the Elian Gonzalez situation probably resulted in the election of George Bush. I assume it must have produced more Bush votes than the 537 or whatever the final number was by which Bush carried Florida. Personally, I am glad Al Gore did not become president, but George Bush was very lucky in Floriday -- Gonzalez, the butterfly ballot, Nader on the ballot, friendly state government (although not local government or the Florida Supreme Court), and friendly U.S. Supreme Court.

Posted by: brian on June 5, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

"Pretty soon, if he expects his threats to be taken seriously, Dobson may actually have to follow through."

And that would be such a shame. :D

Posted by: RT on June 5, 2006 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Amitava, It's not such a contradiction to think you are put in office by God and yet remain apathetic about gay marriage. Jesus didn't have anything to say for or against gays. Sex just wasn't much of an issue for him. Paul, on the other hand, had issues. He was the original fundie.

Posted by: Chenier on June 5, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Had GW followed the policy of containment in Iraq appeasing the French, Germans, Russians, the UN, and the Liberals and initiated backroom deals with Saddam for oil, he could have amassed twice the riches and twice the power. So shorty, if GW was solely focused on power and riches, as you claim, he certainly could have gone a much easier route, no?

This very statement of yours is contradicted by other statements of yours citing low poll numbers and GW's go it alone policy in Iraq as him being a lame duck President. So which is it shorty? Or do you even know anymore? Is your blind hatred of the President causing you to just pull shit out of your ass now to bash him with?

Posted by: Jay on June 5, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK
Is W. a fundamentalist who believes he was chosen by God to bring Chirst back into our public tradition?

No, he's a megalomaniac who thinks he was chosen by God to rule with absolute power. "Christ" and "public tradition" have very little to do with it.

Or is he a cynical politician, who happens to be be Chrisitian, but uses fellow Christians for the sole purpose of winning elections, and then proceeds to pursue more secular, corporatist policies?

Well, certainly a lot of the people working for him are cynical political operators of largely that stripe, whether or not they are themselves actually Christian at all.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 5, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Dobson doesn't really WANT a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage (which he should know would be a political disaster for his movement) . . what he really wants is to URGE a constitutional amendment. He doesn't want to play with real bullets.

Also, he lives to threaten, not to DO. What Kevin is reporting is just more threats. Dobson is not going to do anything more.

Posted by: dan on June 5, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Since the left seems to think that this issue could implode the GOP, I urge you to put this issue at the forefront of your '08 platform (btw, how's that coming along?) and see how far you get. The left does not have the balls (pun intended) to run on this issue. They just like to use it as a club in an attempt to make the GOP look insensitive, yet when push comes to shove they'll back away every time. Typical liberal.

Posted by: Jay on June 5, 2006 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK
Dr. Dobson go elsewhere? Where, pray tell? He sure can't hitch up with godless liberals, and third parties are the political equivalent a fish gasping on the river bank.

If Dobson could get other Religious Right leaders, they have enough influence over enough activists that they could pose a real threat of creating a party that would displace the Republicans: the electoral system in the US will only support two nationally viable parties, and the only way for a new party to become viable is for one of the existing viable parties to collapse.

But the Republican Party has made itself dependent enough on the Religious Right that its quite credible, though by no means certain, that a massive sudden defection by that faction would lead to the party collapsing.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 5, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Dobson's threats to take his voters and leave the Republican Party is simply Republican strategy. Just where would he take his votes that has a chance in hell of getting him more of what he wants? He knows who butters his bread.

Dobson is a Republican insider and I'm convinced he makes statements like this to stir up his followerskeep in mind HIS goal is to separate his followers from their moneyand put it in his own coffers. Every time he tells his followers they are being let down by the Republicans, he tells them they have to work harder, contribute more, or the gays are going to win. Then he gets the President to say he supports an amendmentthen they all get behind the Party to beat the gay loving Democrats.

While many Democrats want to believe the far right is mad and ready to stay at home, I think, each time I hear such talk of dissention, they are simply rolling out the next campaign strategy to get out their voters.

read more observations here:

www.thoughttheater.com

Posted by: Daniel DiRito on June 5, 2006 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Pretty light stuff, altough pretty long winded."

Funny, that's always my reaction to your posts too, brian.

Posted by: brewmn on June 5, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

"If you forget us, we'll forget you,"

Bush, the bigots' bitch.

He can't 'lead' beyond the end of his leash. Not that this is anything new, of course.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on June 5, 2006 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Had GW followed the policy of containment in Iraq appeasing ...

Strawman, followed by supposition contrary to fact, followed by a false option. You really are dumb enough to be a conservative.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on June 5, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Dr. Dobson go elsewhere? Where, pray tell?

To Afghanistan, to join the like-minded Taliban? He can either stay here and covertly attack his country's principles, or he can go there and fight his country honestly.

Which will he pick?
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on June 5, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Jay says "Had GW followed the policy of containment in Iraq appeasing the French, Germans, Russians, the UN, and the Liberals and initiated backroom deals with Saddam for oil, he could have amassed twice the riches and twice the power. So shorty, if GW was solely focused on power and riches, as you claim, he certainly could have gone a much easier route, no?"

Well, yeah, Jay, even GWB knows that now. But back when they were planning their adventures, they never dreamed it was going to blow up in their faces like it has. Your statement says nothing about intent, just about competence.

Posted by: tim on June 5, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with the others, Dobson is a bluffing and posturing politician. Part of this is show to keep his own base happy.

There will be a vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment. It will in all likelyhood fail. Whether or not Bush pushes it aggressively or not, Dobson will do exactly the same thing: Support rightwing politicians that kowtow to his radical agenda.

I didnt believe it the postutring before the 2004 election either when Bush was actually on the ballot. Until he lost the trust of the American people, Bush was about as supportive a President he had ever had whether he did everything Dobson wants with his radical agenda or not.

Posted by: Catch22 on June 5, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Write in James Dobson for President under the Christian Alliance Party (this ad approved and paid for by the Democratic Pary)

Posted by: Patrick Nelson on June 5, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

No, he's a megalomaniac who thinks he was chosen by God to rule with absolute power. "Christ" and "public tradition" have very little to do with it.

Gawd. Where do you get this crap? And Al Gore is a megalomaniac who thinks he was chosen by God to save the environment.

Posted by: BGF on June 5, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Good, I hope Dobson does leave the Republican party. An extremist Demagogue like him does not deserve to be a part of American Politics.

Posted by: Jon Karak on June 5, 2006 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

"I think you guys might be making this a little harder than it needs to be. A fervid desire to amass wealth and power, and to compact and cement it among an ever-shrinking group of persons, is the single unifying thread among everything that Bushco does. It really is the full extent of their "political philosophy.""

One of the many reasons left-wing morons like you will never gain any real political power in this country is that you not only don't understand your opponents, you don't want to understand them. Pumping up your own sense of moral superiority and self-righteousness is far more important to you than actually trying to advance the causes you believe in.

Posted by: Cent on June 5, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

One of the many reasons left-wing morons like you ...

No, Cent. Shortstop was talking about the people who run the GOP, not the people who're dumb enough to vote for them.

Carry on.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on June 5, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Gracious! I seem to have hit a couple of nerves!

Jay-Jay: Still, even at this late date, having trouble distinguishing between "desire" and "ability to competently execute"? That would explain your continuing membership in good standing of Club Backwash. How will it feel to be the last man to die for the overweening mistake that is Smirky McLush?

"Cent": Why don't you tell us why you think "a fervid desire to amass wealth and power, and to compact and cement it among an ever-shrinking group of persons, is the single unifying thread among everything that Bushco does" is a self-righteous remark rather than a statement of fact? Are you suggesting that such an desire is without virtue? And while you're at it, why don't you tell us about the "causes you believe in," how you're "advancing" them, how they fit together into a cohesive political philosophy and how George W. Bush has supported them. We're listening.

Posted by: shortstop on June 5, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Give it up, shortstop. You're asking a whore to publically admit what she can't face herself: she's not really a part of her favorite john's life and never will be.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on June 5, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Hee, Grand Moff.

"But he said he loved me! He said it!"

Posted by: shortstop on June 5, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK
Good, I hope Dobson does leave the Republican party. An extremist Demagogue like him does not deserve to be a part of American Politics.

"The Republican Party" is not the same thing as "American Politics".

Posted by: cmdicely on June 5, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Well I put it out there and you took the bait. Had GW followed the policy of containment, Saddam would still be attempting to destroy his neighbors, improve upon his WMD programs and the French, Germans, and the Russians would still be making billions of dollars (enriching their cronies) at the expense of the ordinary Iraqi citizens and the left would be perfectly content with that. You don't give a fuck about the people of Iraq so I am going to tell each one of you to go fuck yourselves the next time I hear crocodile tears about the loss of life in Iraq. You're all a bunch of selfish, self important pathetic elitist losers.

Posted by: Jay on June 5, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

And George Bush does love me! He does! He wouldn't lie about that!

Posted by: Jay on June 5, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Who don't even have the balls to post under their own names. What a bunch of fucking idiots.

Posted by: Jay on June 5, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Cent....you nailed it!!!!!!!!! Well done, nice post.

Posted by: Jay on June 5, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Examples please Jay of Saddam "attempting to destroy" his neighbors while under containment. And isn't our dreaded national enemy #1, Iran, a neighbor?

"improve upon his WMD programs"? Your flailing again, no evidence of this Jay. Saddam's programs were non-existent under containment.

Great Jay, at least Bush has the US making billions of dollars and enriching his cronies at the expense of the Iraqi citizens is that it?

You didn't give a fuck about the people of Iraq when Saddam was truly, actively committing atrocious acts of genocide - so why pretend now?

Posted by: ckelly on June 5, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Fucking liberal fucking pussies fucking fucking morons, go fuck yourselves! I swear to God the sight of you makes my head explode. If I ever met one of you motherfucking commie losers in a dark alley, I'd...hey, whose 13-year-old daughter is this? Hi!

Posted by: Jay on June 5, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Jay:

You're about ready for another rendition of The Troll Song.

I don't share the emerging consensus here on Dobson. I've read some of his crap, and I think he's entirely sincere and entirely dedicated to his cause.

The thing about the most fervent fundevangelicals is that at a rank-and-file level, they have a very ambivalent feeling about political power. They're willing to climb aboard a bandwagon when and if they think they can get something for it. Otherwise, politics is a corrputing game to them, and they have no patience with staying aboard a coalition.

It really always does boil down to whether this large and disciplined bloc decides to say at home -- as they did in '92.

Dobson is more than willing to pull the trigger on that. It's not a question of "where they'd go" -- it's a question of whether they'll go anywhere at all.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on June 5, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

the electoral system in the US will only support two nationally viable parties, and the only way for a new party to become viable is for one of the existing viable parties to collapse.

I've read similar sentiments in other places but have never seen the reasoning behind this assertion. Would you mind elaborating? (links to such analysis would be fine). Thanks in advance.

Posted by: Edo on June 5, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Dobson may leave the Republican party if his demands aren't met. Oh, that is most distressing. Horrible.

Bwah hahahahahaha!

Posted by: CT on June 5, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Jay. Jay. Come down now. It's time for your medication. Jay, come down. You'll hurt yourself. Do you need a ladder? Should I call for an attendant?

Posted by: CT on June 5, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

On Real Bush Values: Bush's secret bisexual Affair exposed!

Folks, The woman who can confirm this story is now running for Gov. of NV. here: mcconnellforgovernor.com for Leola McConnell. Yes, SHE WAS THERE. As an eye witness!!! Randi Rhodes broke this today on her Air America Show. With the debate on the massively hypocritical 'Marriage Amendment' to our Constitution, we need this nuclear hypocrisy more widely known. Cheers, VJ, ga. The sordid details: [http://bushssecretlifein84.tripod.com/]

This was with the then Mayor of Knoxville, TN., Victor Ashe, now the Amb. to Poland. It pays to know some Bushs intimately!!

Posted by: VJ on June 5, 2006 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK


Why is it whenever anybody says anything about Bush that isn't to the righties' liking, we're all immediately giving aid to the enemy?

C'mon righties, that hogwash don't wash, that dawg don't hunt no mo. You need to get a life, righties. And mind yer own bidness while yer at it.

Posted by: dejah on June 5, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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