Associated Press religion writer Eric Gorski had a terribly interesting story out of Colorado this week. He got his hands on a private e-mail written by James Dobson. In the missive, Dobson continues his anti-Fred Thompson campaign that he began a few months ago. Here's a snippet of the e-mail:
"He has no passion, no zeal, and no apparent 'want to.' And yet he is apparently the Great Hope that burns in the breasts of many conservative Christians? Well, not for me, my brothers. Not for me!''
Gorski wrote a tight and compelling story that neither underplayed nor overplayed the significance of Dobson's views. He explained Dobson's ties to Focus on the Family but clarified that the views were made as an individual. This is important considering that Dobson was just cleared by the IRS of charges he endangered Focus on the Family's tax-exempt status by endorsing various Republican candidates in 2004. Here's how he explains why Dobson's email matters:
Dobson's strong words about Thompson underscore the frustration and lack of unity among Christian conservatives about the GOP field. Some Christian right leaders have pinned their hopes on Thompson, describing him as a Southern-fried Ronald Reagan. But others have voiced doubts in recent weeks about some of the same issues Dobson highlighted: his position on gay marriage and support for the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation.
Dobson and other Christian conservatives support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would bar gay marriage nationally. Thompson has said he would support a constitutional amendment that would prohibit states from imposing their gay marriage laws on other states, which falls well short of that.
Earlier this year, Dobson questioned Thompson's Christian faith. Dobson's also panned presidential hopefuls John McCain and Rudy Guiliani. Gorski has good contacts with Colorado evangelicals because he's been reporting there -- both in Denver and Colorado Springs -- for many years. It's another good argument for decentralizing national news operations away from the Washington and New York hubs.