God and The GOP: A Visit From Dr. James Dobson
My God, what day is it? What time is it? I’ve been working so hard on getting the word out on that nut Michele Bachmann that I haven’t even had time to make up a Mark Foley joke.
Yes I have. I made up a joke as soon as I read that Foley had checked into rehab:
“Well, it looks as if former Representative Foley is trying to turn over a new page…”
But I couldn’t post that here in the Stillwater Tribune, I simply haven’t had the time.
Last night, for example, I went to attend Dr. James Dobson’s “Stand For The Family” rally in St. Paul. Dr. Dobson, as you may know, is perhaps America’s most powerful conservative Christian political activist—the head of Focus On The Family, an Evangelical family values broadcast that claims to have over 220 million listeners worldwide.
Dobson may be the most powerful man in the Republican Party, even though he’s not actually in the Republican Party. He is a Republican “kingmaker” (the description of him that appears on the back of his official biography.) At a word from Dobson, the phone lines of congressmen and senators can be “melted down” by his army of right-wing Christian listeners—Republicans fear his frown as they claim to fear the Lord.
People who know me personally would have laughed loud and long if they had seen me in at the event—poor old liberal Bill Prendergast, undercover at a Focus On The Family rally, dressed up in his white linen sport jacket, singing along to Protestant hymns and Christian pop music lyrics projected on the screens. Giving standing ovations to Dr. James, applauding wildly when he expressed his support for George W. Bush, trying to distract the attention of those nearby so they wouldn’t notice the concealed video camera taping every speaker’s every word.
Turnout must have seemed disappointing to Dobson. A man who claims to have 220 million supporters worldwide had to be dismayed by the fact that he couldn’t fill an auditorium in Minnesota, Billy Graham’s old stomping grounds.
And the atmosphere in the room was a little eerie. The taped music they played before the show sounded like the Kenny G version of “Deutschland Uber Alles.” Then the live band started, doing genuinely stirring versions of the National Anthem, America The Beautiful, etc. After that, the main event—the featured speakers were Tony Perkins (the guy who bought David Duke’s KKK mailing list to further his political campaign), Gary Bauer (accused of adultery by his 2000 presidential campaign staff) and the Mighty Dobster himself.
A highlight was Dobson’s brief discussion of the Foley scandal. Dobson denounced Foley’s behavior, shocking those in the room who may have expected him to express support for it. That was worth the price of the ticket right there, but there was more:
Dobson said he had just spoken personally to House Speaker “Denny” Hastert and that Hastert had assured him that steps had been taken to protect Congressional pages—that the pages were housed in a separate facility away from the Congressmen, and guarded by security personnel twenty four hours a day! Dr. Dobson seemed to think a lot of that solution.
Now them’s family values, I thought, and practical, too. Rather than immediately expel Republican congressmen who make sexual overtures to young pages—lock the pages up, so the GOP congressmen can’t get at ‘em! (So far no congressman have been shot while trying to "enter the perimeter.")
It's working! And it's a grand solution--the pages are kept safe and at the same time they learn something about the political priorities and trustworthiness of the GOP—the party of family values.