Here’s what James Dobson said about John McCain early last month:
Should Sen. McCain capture the nomination as many assume, I believe this general election will offer the worst choices for president in my lifetime. I certainly can’t vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama based on their virulently anti-family policy positions. If these are the nominees in November, I simply will not cast a ballot for president for the first time in my life.
Now, Dobson’s changing his tune. Focus on the Family action just sent a “special alert” to its backers, with a subject line that retracts Dobson’s vow to stay home come Election Day: “Dr. Dobson: ‘I Will Certainly Vote’.” Here’s what the alert says:
Dr. James Dobson told Sean Hannity on Sunday night he is going to vote in the November election – ending weeks of speculation that he would sit on the sidelines over his policy disagreements with the two major parties’ candidates for the White House.
Weeks of speculation that he would sit on the sidelines? That wasn’t speculation. That’s what Dobson said. The special alert continues:
On Hannity’s America on the Fox News Channel, Dr. Dobson told his longtime friend he definitely plans to cast a ballot this year.
“Let me just say that I will certainly vote, Sean,” he said. “I think we have a God-given responsibility to vote, and there are all of the candidates and the issues down the ballot that we have an obligation to weigh in on and let our voices be heard.”
Dr. Dobson, speaking as a private citizen and not as a representative of Focus on the Family, as he always does when discussing political candidates, added that he “has problems” with all three major presidential contenders, especially the Democrats.
As for John McCain, Dr. Dobson responded with a question of his own when Hannity said he had received assurances from the Arizona senator that he would keep the pro-life and pro-marriage planks in the GOP’s party platform.
“Did he give you a commitment about embryonic stem-cell research?” Dr. Dobson asked.
“We did not get that,” Hannity replied.
“But that’s an important one for me,” Dr. Dobson explained. “And you can’t really call yourself pro-life if you’re in favor of killing those babies.”
Dr. Dobson said he would not elaborate on how he would vote in November. He has said that he and his wife, Shirley, chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, have been and will continue to pray that God’s will be reflected in the outcome of the election.
This is an invitation from Dobson to John McCain to win his backing (perhaps unenthusiastic backing, but hey, it’s better than outright opposition) by rescinding his support for expanded federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. From its chats with various leading lights of the Christian Right, God-o-Meter knows the embryonic stem cell issue has emerged as the biggest sticking point between the movement and McCain. How much of this is because the Christian Right feels that last year’s scientific breakthrough allowing skin cells to be reprogrammed to mimic embryonic stem cells gives their ailing anti-embryonic stem cell research cause new life? Quite a bit.
It’s that breakthrough that could also give McCain the political wiggle room to change his tune on embryonic stem cell research without being tarred a bald-faced flip flopper. But the Christian Right has been pressing McCain to dial back is support for more federally-funded embryonic stem cell research for months, and McCain hasn’t blinked. Let’s see if that changes this week.