Super Tuesday: Dobson delivers blow to McCain candidacy
DALLAS – James Dobson, the influential founder of the conservative, evangelical advocacy group Focus on the Family, has delivered a blow to John McCain — by saying he won’t vote for him if he’s the Republican presidential nominee.
“I am convinced Sen. McCain is not a conservative, and in fact, has gone out of his way to stick his thumb in the eyes of those who are … I cannot, and will not, vote for Sen. John McCain, as a matter of conscience,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
“I believe this general election will offer the worst choices for president in my lifetime. I certainly can’t vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama based on their virulently anti-family policy positions. If these are the nominees in November, I simply will not cast a ballot for president for the first time in my life,” he said.
Dobson said he was just expressing his views as a private citizen — but many of his millions of followers in the evangelical community, who listen to his radio show and read his books, will take it as a signal to do the same.
Dobson previously had said he would do the same if former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani became the Republican nominee. There was even talk among conservatives inside Dobson’s inner circle of supporting a third party candidate if Giuliani, who has since dropped out, carried the Republican crown.
Giuliani’s support for abortion and gay rights made him anathema in the eyes of conservative Christians, a key Republican base.
McCain has long opposed abortion rights. But Dobson said McCain’s failure to support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and his support for embryonic stem-cell research among other things were beyond the Christian conservative pale.
- Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young