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September 26, 2007

by Andrew Citizen

Have you ever had someone you love and respect publicly do something, shall we say, less than smart? You know that sinking feeling you get in your gut when you find yourself saying, “Not again!”? Well, it happened to me Thursday. Dr. James Dobson, one of the most influential child psychologists of the last 50 years and founder of Focus on the Family, came out with guns blazing in a diatribe against Sen. Fred Thompson.

Here is what all the fuss is about:

“Isn’t Thompson the candidate who is opposed to a Constitutional amendment to protect marriage, believes there should be 50 different definitions of marriage in the U.S., favors McCain-Feingold, won’t talk at all about what he believes, and can’t speak his way out of a paper bag on the campaign trail? 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!”

Let’s take those points one by one, shall we?

Thompson isn’t opposed to a Constitutional amendment defending real/traditional marriage. He has used his bully pulpit since 1994 to defend marriage—and while we’re at it, the unborn as well. Please show me a vote from his years in the Senate in which Thompson stood against any pro-family legislation. He has been stalwart in defending “family values”—so much so that last March, Dobson declared that he “appreciates Sen. Thompson’s solid, pro-family voting record and his position that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided.”

Thompson is a federalist who believes that powers not granted to the federal government belong to the states. He wants to see an amendment that would keep the judiciary from legislating anything the people would never vote for at the ballet box. To him, the type of marriage protection amendment we should have is the question—not whether we should have one or not. Thompson deserves praise for standing firm in this cultural context, not a cheap shot.

McCain-Feingold has been a thorn in the hindquarters of conservatives like me for some time. Thompson supported it, and he was wrong to do so. But what is disturbing in this context is that Thompson has admitted that McCain- Feingold hasn’t worked, and that it has had unintended consequences—such as limiting speech, particularly on ads before an election. Is Dobson even aware of Thompson’s change on this issue? Apparently not.

“Cheap shot” is not the term that normally comes to mind when I think of Jim Dobson. Usually, it’s terms like “defender of the family,” “go-to guru for advice on how to raise my four (!) girls,” and “leader of those looking for direction in a land becoming a cultural wilderness.” That’s the Dr. Dobson I normally think of. That is why his cheap shot on Thompson must be addressed.

I, like so many of you, know that this is the most important election of our lives. Threats from global Islamofascism, weakness at home in political leadership, unsecured borders, runaway spending, looming economic crises and a judiciary set on legislating from the bench—these are critical issues that call for strong leadership. We need leaders who have at their core the principles that made America’s founding and flourishing possible.

I have personally attended every Thompson event in South Carolina since June. He has spoken forcefully as a proven social and fiscal conservative; those standing ovations didn’t come from the crowd. No other candidate with an approval margin over 3 percent has been as consistent on our issues as he has. Thompson also brings the ability to put the left on its heels in ’08—never underestimate the power of the media in this cultural context. It may not be fair, but Thompson’s exposure over the last 15 years in movies and TV shows helps put blue states in play in ways no other candidate can without compromising conservative principles. In his fine response to Dr. Dobson’s email, former presidential candidate Gary Bauer noted that “as we approach November of next year, I believe every faith-based voter … has to ponder what a Hillary Clinton presidency will do to our cause … I cannot bring myself to trash candidates who may represent our only chance to stop a Hillary disaster.”

Primaries are about proving oneself—not just for candidates, but also those who lead movements. They present opportunities to question and determine who we will nominate as a candidate for the highest office in the world. Once the process has played out, we unite behind that candidate and hopefully, get four years to positively impact the present and future of this great nation. Those in leadership who have a say in that process need to guard that trust well—not behave like those they say are part of the problem.

Andrew Citizen is a conservative activist who resides in Clover with his wife and four daughters. He has been featured in Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family’s Citizen Magazine.



One Comment leave one →
  1. Wayne permalink
    October 9, 2007 3:07 AM

    So what’s the big secret here?

    Andrew Citizen is actually Park Gillespie, paid political consultant for South Carolinians for Responsible Government and Conservatives in Action. He’s also Vice Chairman for the York County Republican Party. This same article was published in the Rock Hill Herald on September 30, 2007 in Park’s name. (Park also holds a minor in Political Science from Bob Jones University).

    When I asked Park if his comment, “No other candidate with an approval margin over 3 percent has been as consistent on our issues as he has.” wasn’t actually a cheap shot at Governor Huckabee’s campaign? He replied, “I understand your not liking my 3% statement, that is my opinion others are free to disagree that makes America fun:)”

    You see, Park can dish it out but can’t take it. He rushes to condemn Dr.Dobson but won’t apply the same standard to himself. Why does Park allow himself a different standard? Could it be because he doesn’t have Dr.Dobson’s credibility? After all, who listens to Park?

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