You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

527 Watch: James Dobson Plays Defense

It looks like the Family Research Council (FRC) has finally chosen a candidate. Just one month ago, on September 12, James Dobson's organization started a political action committee and pledged to spend a modest $250,000 backing "pro-family" congressional candidates--but not John McCain. At the time, FRC Action PAC President Tony Perkins had the following to say about the GOP nominee:

"At this point, we do not plan on endorsing a presidential candidate or ticket. We're not a huge PAC yet and to make a dent, even, in that effort would take a lot of money. ... There are still lingering concerns over some of John McCain's positions."

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and FRC Action is taking Obama to task for supporting the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which would codify Roe v. Wade, in a large swing-state ad buy. (As Ben Smith notes, the charge is accurate.)

Two things have changed since then: One, James Dobson officially ended his simmering feud with John McCain in a recent radio broadcast--owing mostly to McCain's selection of Sarah Palin. And two, it looks as if Dobson has been shocked to action by liberals poaching on evangelical turf. The pro-Obama group Matthew 25 has been running these spots on God-friendly channels in Colorado, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, knocking honchos like Dobson off balance. (Amy Sullivan's book The Party Faithful explains how Democratic operative Mara Vanderslice--who now heads Matthew 25--pioneered this kind of liberal outreach to evangelicals, which was completely unheard of as recently as 2004.) "We are responding directly to the Matthew 25 campaign--running TV and radio ads in the same markets targeted by Matthew 25," one FRC source says to David Brody.

Indeed, FRC Action's president says the Council decided to start a PAC because, "By registration Christians are becoming more independent. Some folks in the political process have confused what it means to be a values voter. They've asked, ‘What do values issues mean?' We hope to help cut through some of the clutter."

--Barron YoungSmith