showdown.jpgA couple days after reversing his vow to stay home on Election Day to protest John McCain’s candidacy, Dobson made it clear that he’s not exactly warmed to the Arizona senator. Here’s what he told The Wall Street Journal:

I have seen no evidence that Sen. McCain is successfully unifying the Republican Party or drawing conservatives into his fold. To the contrary, he seems intent on driving them away.
To my knowledge, he has not reached out to pro-family leaders or changed any of the positions that have troubled them. He still believes, for example, that federal money should be allocated for laboratory experiments with tiny human embryos, after which they would be killed when they are no longer useful. He continues to favor allowing each state to create its own definition of marriage, potentially giving the nation 50 different legal interpretations. It would create chaos within families.
On March 7th, the senator delivered a speech to influential members of the The Council on National Policy, during which he thoroughly disappointed and irritated many of those in attendance. By contrast, McCain spoke last week during to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council on Foreign Policy, and reiterated his support for governmental intervention in the global warming debate, proposed shutting down Guantanamo, blamed the U.S military for torturing prisoners of war and promised to pander to our European allies before defending America’s interests around the world. These policies frustrated conservatives, whom McCain seems to have written off.
One of his senior advisors asserted recently on Fox News that ‘the right’ can just go its own way, stating that McCain can win by attracting moderates and crossover Democrats. That seems to be the strategy. These are not the policies and pronouncements of a man who is seeking to ‘unify the party.’ Indeed, they appear to be fracturing an increasingly divided constituency.

Notice the first complaint in Dobson’s tirade: it’s about McCain’s support for federally funded embryonic stem cell research. As God-o-Meter noted Monday, Dobson and other social conservatives have signaled that getting McCain to withdraw his support for federal monies for expanded embryonic stem cell research is their best bet for getting McCain to shift a position and come more into line with the Christian Right.
Equally noteworthy about Dobson’s statement–and the rest of the Wall Street Journal article, which quotes a long list of disgruntled conservatives–is how little outreach the McCain camp seems to have done to conservative big wigs. This could say more about the campaign’s limited abilities–it’s still struggling to grow into a full-on general election machine, with all the resources and personnel that implies–but it might also be a window into the campaign’s anti-Rovian strategy. If McCain believes the way to win in November is by taking moderates, and if he’s already personally disinclined to compromise his independence for electoral gain, then his campaign might never get around to doing robust conservative outreach. Still too early to tell which is the case.


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