Bring It On!

Kissing Up To James Dobson Requires A Lot Of Lip Service

August 5th, 2008 | by Daniel DiRito |

Nothing makes Focus on the Family’s James Dobson happier than having his ego stroked…and Mark Joseph does just that in an open letter opinion piece on Fox News. The only thing missing in Joseph’s “adore-itorial” is a picture of Dobson’s freshly lip-kissed behind.

Joseph’s glorification of Dobson is only a portion of two articles…one addressed to each of the presidential candidate in which he reminds them that “It’s all about the Christians stupid!”. The following excerpts are from the one directed to John McCain.

From Fox News:

First, if you do nothing else, fire up the Straight Talk Express or whatever it’s called and get your tail to Colorado Springs. Can you really be dumb enough to have called James Dobson and asked him to come to your hotel room in Denver? Are you crazy? Would you call the pope and tell him you’re going to be in Switzerland and would he mind meeting you at your chalet?

Evangelicals don’t have popes; they have leaders with names like Dobson, Colson, Warren, Graham and Mohler. Unless you have a death wish, suck it up, fly to Colorado Springs and work out a mutual mea culpa ahead of time wherein you say you’re sorry for the “agents of intolerance” thing and Dobson says he spoke too soon when he said he’d never vote for you. By the way, there’s a way to do this without outraging your friends in the press: wrangle an invitation to be on Dobson’s radio show. That way you’re not going to beg, but rather to be a guest on his show — just as you would be on Leno or Letterman.

And while we’re talking about your wife, tell her to take it down a notch. She is one of the most gorgeous creatures on God’s green earth, but every time Hank in Little Rock or Jimmy in Greensboro sees her in her outfits, all they can think about are the times they were tempted to dump Helen and Suzy sitting on the couch next to them for a “Cindy” they met at work or on a business trip. A little less makeup and fewer form-fitting outfits will go a long way to tamp down the resentment from Jimmy and Hank.

You win by 5, but remember: Only if you go to Colorado Springs.

I’ve given you a sampling of Joseph’s thinking but you really need to read both articles in their entirety to get the full picture. Needless to say, his Dobson-centric view is music to the ears of the Focus folks. Here’s how they view Joseph’s observations.

From Focus On The Family’s CitizenLink:

Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain are receiving some “straight advice” from columnist Mark Joseph.

In twin columns for, Joseph tells the presidential candidates what they need to do to win the White House.

Tom Minnery, senior vice president for government and public policy at Focus on the Family Action, said: “Dr. Dobson would gladly open his door to either candidate for a discussion of issues vital to the family.”

While the mainstream media see Dr. Dobson as a “typical televangelist,” Joseph tells CitizenLink he has “always understood Dr. Dobson’s role and influence to be far larger.

“Many moms listen to his show as they car pool their kids around or run errands,” he told CitizenLink. “They trust him on issues of childrearing and want to hear his opinion on other issues, as well.”

Minnery said Joseph accurately describes Dr. Dobson’s influence with millions of American voters. “It’s a deposit of trust built up over 30 years,” he said.

Oh yes, thank goodness someone recognizes how important and powerful James Dobson…thinks he is. As expected, anything that reinforces Dobson’s pompous persona is going to get top billing on the Focus website.

I’ll give Joseph credit for one thing. He realizes how much of Dobson’s identity is defined by the high jinks of hierarchy. After all, why would the two candidates vying to lead the free world think that James Dobson would travel to meet with them. Don’t they realize that the road to the White House must travel through the temple of intolerance?

Truth be told, Dobson has behaved like a scorned school girl. When he wasn’t asked to anoint the successor to George Bush, he picked up his manipulative marbles and stomped off…writing off the candidates and refusing to participate. When everyone didn’t come running to see what they could do to win his favor, he quickly modified his position…but only enough to make it known that his backside was positioned like an altar at which the humbled could offer homage.

Returning to Joseph, let’s look at a portion of his advice to Barack Obama.

From Fox News:

Eighty-four percent of Americans call themselves Christians: when you think of this group, think of John McCain or John Edwards — they’re Christians, but they probably can’t really tell you how they became one, and if you asked them they’d probably say because they were Americans or because their parents were Christian.

Next, 47 percent of Americans are Evangelicals or born-again Christians, i.e., people who can give a time and date when they were “born again” or had a transformative experience with Jesus, — but are sometimes confused on the basic doctrines of the Christian faith. You’d probably be in this category, along with Bill Clinton.

The larger group of Evangelicals, on the other hand, is ripe for the picking — and you should be able to make some serious inroads here. Keep in mind one thing about these voters: They’re not necessarily conservative. They are the political descendents of William Jennings Bryan and are represented in the modern era by politicians like Mark O. Hatfield, Harold Hughes and Jimmy Carter.

They don’t have a comprehensive worldview, but rather one that is shaped by perceptions and gut feelings. And when they are guided by principles, it’s often a hodgepodge of right and left. Remember — they listen to Dr. Dobson, but they also listen to Oprah, and they often see no conflict in those two radically different views of the world.

Finally, I know you love your wife, but keep her off the stage before she freaks out every Evangelical male in America. You’re a nice guy, so you had to marry a meanie so that somebody in your household could tell the Girl Scout cookie sellers to go away and the plumber that you would not be paying $1,000 for fixing a clogged toilet. They get it, and some of them married meanies as well. But that’s not what they want to see in a president. Make sure she never disses you in public again. After all, if you can’t get your wife to stop calling you “stinky and snorey” in public, how are you going to gain the respect of Ahmadinejad? Seriously.

In the world of honest polling, you’re probably down by 5 right now. But if you keep winning hearts and minds of conservative Evangelicals, you win the whole thing. You’re well on your way.

Where to begin?! Frankly, this article has more subliminal messages than a John McCain campaign ad. Not only is Barack Obama a quasi-Christian, he’s out of the same mold as Bill Clinton (not quite up to the Jimmy Carter standard). Maybe I’m reaching here, but I take this to suggest that the kinship between Clinton and Obama is a propensity to participate in self-absorbed immorality. The only thing Joseph fails to include in his disguised denigration is a connection to Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Monica Lewinsky, or some other unscrupulous panty-free pop icon.

If that weren’t enough, he tosses in a stealth assault on liberals by invoking Oprah…calling her views “radically” different than those of dear old James Dobson (think solid family values).

But it gets better. Note Joseph’s treatment of the candidates wives. Comparing his comments on Cindy McCain with those on Michelle Obama is telling and startling. First, from Joseph’s perspective, Cindy McCain is your typical trophy wife…the woman virtually every evangelical would dump his frumpy wife to have. In fact, her attire is so provocative, Joseph wants McCain to dial her down.

With regard to Michelle Obama, he basically offers an unbridled indictment…calling her everything but the devil incarnate (think uppity…nah…think BLACK WOMAN UPPITY). Apparently Michelle Obama is the epitome of a liberated woman that every evangelical reviles. Never mind that she’s educated, competent, and confident…those traits simply make for one lousy wife.

His “make sure she never disses you in public” remark is so indicative of the fragile ego that often accompanies a preference for a patriarchal society that it was undoubtedly music to Dobson’s ears. Keep in mind that FOF’s iteration of Christian ideology routinely subjugates women to the role of run of the mill baby machines in need of constant monitoring by their misogynistic master.

Joseph closes with a reference to honest polling…a fully disingenuous observation from a man attempting to sound impartial while promulgating a particular bent. Yes, I realize Joseph claims to be an independent. Reading these two articles suggests otherwise.

In fact, it sounds to me like Joseph thinks both parties candidates should give their evangelical friendly acceptance speeches at the feet of the holy man…on his hallowed turf. If it were me, I’d much rather be stupid.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

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  1. One Response to “Kissing Up To James Dobson Requires A Lot Of Lip Service”

  2. By Liberal Jarhead on Aug 5, 2008 | Reply

    It’s so typical of the far right to overestimate how many people are like them - 47% of Americans are not born-agains; the number self-identifying as evangelicals is dropping every year, because their demographics trend strongly toward the elderly and they’re dying off faster than they can recruit. Beyond that, not all of them buy into the bigotry of the self-anointed leaders who claim to speak for them.

    America is, despite all the efforts of the old guard of ignorance and intolerance, becoming more open-minded and less sexist, less racist, less homophobic, and less prone to respond to pompous authoritarians with unquestioning obedience. The trend toward enlightenment is not guaranteed and needs to be nurtured and protected - fear and socioeconomic stressors can undermine it, as we see in the way so many of our people have failed to condemn torture and illegal domestic spying. But it’s the smart way to bet in the long term - my adult children have grown up in a much more tolerant society than I did, and my grandkids are being marinated in even less stupidity and hate.

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