Guest stars of the final few hours: James Dobson, Bob Dole and Gavin Newsom

The furious campaigning of the run-up to Super Tuesday has been dominated by a few surprising -- and less surprising -- storylines. Perhaps the least surprising one is Religious Right leader James Dobson's decision to come out strongly against John McCain. Dobson knocks McCain for his apostasies -- including the fact that he has a "legendary temper and often uses foul and obscene language" -- and concludes by announcing he will not vote McCain in the general election: "If [McCain and a Democrat] are the nominees in November, I simply will not cast a ballot for president for the first time in my life."

In this, Dobson joins other conservative figures like Ann Coulter who have announced they will not vote McCain in November. But consider that the Christian Right spent most of the fall blasting Rudy Giuliani and warning of a third-party challenge were he to become the nominee. In October, Dobson pledged that he would not rally behind Giuliani: "If neither of the two major political parties nominates an individual who pledges himself or herself to the sanctity of human life, we will join others in voting for a minor-party candidate." In retrospect, the anti-Giuliani campaign forced Rudy to stay on the defensive for months and try to play it as safe as possible instead of campaigning the way he was the most comfortable. Many in the conservative movement then switched their attacks to Mike Huckabee, thinking of him as the new big threat to their agenda.

But no one saw McCain coming. It's only in late December that McCain emerged as the new front-runner for the GOP race, and by then it was too late for people like Dobson and Limbaugh to really push hard against McCain's candidacy, leading to this past week and the last-minute effort to block McCain's path... If Romney manages to win California, a closed primary, it could be because of a conservative backlash against the possibility of a McCain nomination. But even then odds are that stopping the Arizona Senator could prove too hard to do.

In this fight for the GOP's base, Bob Dole has today become an unlikely character. Dole wrote a letter to Rush Limbaugh yesterday, defending McCain's conservative credentials, listing the reason why the base can accept him, and concluding by comparing the Senator to Jesse Helms. In response, Romney sought to appeal to the distrust many GOP activists feel for the 1996 presidential candidate, not only a loser who never really caught fire against Bill Clinton, but also someone many Republicans view as too much of a compromiser. Romney said, Dole is "probably the last person I would have wanted write a letter for me."

McCain immediately seized on the comment to fight back: "I was very sad and disappointed to see that kind of comment about a person who was an American war hero, built our party, served our party so well for so long -- years where Governor Romney was claiming he didn't want to go back to Reagan-Bush years." This echoes a last-minute TV ad that McCain just started airing using many of Romney's past quotes from Massachusetts in which Romney distances himself from the Reagan legacy.

On the Democratic side, the day's strange story comes to us from a San Fransisco Chronicle article detailing Mayor Gavin Newsom's allegation (confirmed by former Mayor Brown and San Fransisco insiders) that Obama refused to have his picture taken with Newsom in 2004, supposedly worried about being portrayed as too pro-gay. This was the time Newsom had decided to grant marriage licenses to gay couples, attracting the entire country's attention. Newsom had already declared earlier this year, "One of the three Democrats you mentioned as presidential candidates, as God is my witness, will not be photographed with me, will not be in the same room with me." Newsom endorsed Clinton a few months ago, and he denies that this snub was due to it.

The Obama campaign is pushing back on this story, citing Obama's record of support for gay rights. But this is not the kind of article his campaign wants to get in the morning of the election in San Fransisco, where Newsom is still popular and where a lot of voters could be offended by the story.

Finally, Insider Advantage released its final GA and AL numbers this morning, showing a Democratic tie in Alabama and a Huckabee surge in Alabama and Georgia, with the latter being a key battleground. Romney would infinitely prefer Huckabee to win Georgia than McCain, for there are 33 winner take all statewide delegates at stake there and Romney needs to prevent McCain from amassing too large a lead.


  • Dobson, the lunatic that promotes beating your children, criticizes McCain for using profanity? I teach my children profanity and never beat them. They're the best behaved kids anywhere. Maybe I should write parenting books, filled with profanity for the little ones. I find that my kids, having the knowledge of and the correct use of profanity,never need to use them unless absolutely neccessary. I'd much rather have them use harsh verbal attacks than resort to violence like a Dobson would.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 05 February, 2008 14:59  

  • That would explain Dobson's support of angel-lips Cheney.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 05 February, 2008 17:32  

  • Dobson, Limbaugh, Coulter, and the rest of the gang just hate being irrelevant. Meanwhile, I have no problem with their voices fading into the night. May they take Franken, Olbermann, and Sharpton with them. Maybe that way grownups can finally sit down and discuss this country's problems without fear of the idiot backlash.

    By Anonymous Mr. Rational, At 06 February, 2008 01:10  

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