Last week, The Denver Post's Eric Gorski gave us the marching orders from Focus on the Family founder James Dobson. Then the Rev. Ted Haggard madness broke open and Dobson's words to evangelicals were lost in an avalanche of news coverage. But thankfully the Internet is archived and we will revisit Dobson's fateful words from a week ago as voters make their way to the polling stations across the country:
James Dobson sounded a warning call Tuesday to evangelical Christian voters, painting the potential consequences of sitting out next week's midterm elections in stark, partisan terms.
He described a liberal Democratic takeover of key congressional committees, a paralyzed Bush administration, and crippling setbacks in battles against abortion and gay marriage.
In Dobson's daily national radio broadcast to 1.5 million people, the influential founder of Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family tackled what he called the media-fueled belief that evangelicals are disillusioned with Republicans and may not vote Tuesday.
"To all of those values voters out there, don't you dare sit this one out," Dobson said. "You have an obligation to come and participate in this great representative form of government. ... If we do, I think the results will take care of themselves."
The big question to determine is whether Dobson is working on his own or taking orders from the White House. And once the voting dust settles, someone will have to determine whether he was successful, regardless of whether it was Karl Rove or his own political instincts that inspired that radio broadcast.
For more perspective from Dobson on how he sees the relationship of the Republican Party with his values voters, check out this scathing commentary directed toward former Texas Congressman Richard Armey. Dobson is of course upset that Armey would challenge his influence in the GOP with statements that Dobson and Co. act like a gangsters and bullies.
Again, it's important to ask the question: is this editorial originating in Colorado or Washington?
As with the result of every election, reporters get to cover the bloodletting within the losing party. Regardless of the number of seats the GOP loses, there will be some type of soul-searching and a major focal point will be Dobson and those values voters. If things go poorly for the GOP, will it be akin to 2000, when Republicans held that with better turnout from values voters, they would have been more successful? In other words, were Dobson's efforts to get out the vote unsuccessful?
Or will the Dick Armey camp of the GOP be successful in pushing Dobson and Co. out the door based on the idea that Dobson's association with the Republicans has alienated the party from non-values voters? Check this space in the coming weeks for answers to those questions.