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by Peterr

Todd Akin’s Way With Words Continues

11:28 am in 2012 election by Peterr

Office of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) (per Todd Akin)

Todd Akin sure has a way with words.

Back in August, it was his “legitimate rape” comment that caught everyone’s attention, and now PolitiMo has this report on Akin’s remarks last Saturday evening:

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin said Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill has fetched expansive government policies “like a dog” during her tenure in Washington.

Akin made the comparison during a fundraising event in Springfield, where he featured support from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, one of the few national Republicans still backing Akin after much of the party establishment distanced themselves from his candidacy following the controversy earlier in the race surrounding his comments about “legitimate rape.”

“She goes to Washington, D.C., it’s a little bit like one of those dogs, ‘fetch,’” he said. “She goes to Washington, D.C., and get all of these taxes and red tape and bureaucracy and executive orders and agencies and brings all of this stuff and dumps it on us in Missouri.”

For a guy who was upset that Claire McCaskill was “unladylike” at their first debate, this strikes me as a rather impolite thing to say.

When Akin made his “legitimate rape” comments back in August, he tried to apologize and walk it back as the controversy grew. Will he do the same here, after the audio of his comments gets around?

Well . . . let’s see what Rick Tyler, Akin’s campaign spokesman, had to say this morning:

I’m guessing that’s a “no”.


Before McCaskill and her supporters start rubbing their hands together in glee at this story (“He put his foot in his mouth again!”), let me point out one troubling detail from the audio. As Akin finished laying out his metaphor, and before he could continue with his “that’s one of the reasons why . . .” pitch for their votes and their contributions, the crowd of supporters interrupted him with applause.


That is why Tyler not only didn’t walk back the “dog” metaphor, but cranked it up even higher.  As I wrote back in August, “Akin is not an aberration in the Missouri GOP. This is the state that gave the nation Rush “She’s a slut” Limbaugh, after all, as well as John “cover up the lady parts on that statue in the lobby” Ashcroft.” Comparing McCaskill to a dog is how the GOP in Missouri thinks, and it is how Akin as their standardbearer gets their attention and their support.


Now it’s up to McCaskill to see whether this will motivate her own supporters even harder to convince those in the middle that Akin is bad news for Missouri.


But at least Representative Todd Akin, the son of his mother, father of his daughters, husband of his wife, and pious Christian that he is, didn’t call Senator Claire McCaskill a bitch.


‘Cause that would be downright ungentlemanly.




Photo h/t to Andrew Graham. I do not believe Mr. Graham is connected with the Akin campaign, and my use of his photo here should not be taken to imply his agreement with my comments either. I do believe, however, that Mr. Graham is a nice photographer.

by Peterr

Todd Akin’s Three Nightmares

1:21 pm in 2012 election, Elections by Peterr

Todd Akin’s campaign is under heavy attack from a series of ads from Claire McCaskill featuring women. Specifically, women who have been raped. Diana is probably the hardest hitting, when she says “”I’ve never voted for Claire McCaskill, but because of Todd Akin, I will now.”

That’s Akin’s nightmare: conservative women who are disgusted with his views on women.

But this is only the start of Akin’s problems.

Out in Sikeston, a reliably conservative town in the southeast corner of the state, a longtime local conservative columnist in the Sikeston Standard-Democrat named Michael Jensen shared his thoughts on Akin in yesterday’s paper:

I have tried to warm up to Todd Akin in his bid to unseat incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill.

I have said repeatedly that though I am fond of McCaskill on a personal level, her support for many of the Obama programs rubs me the wrong way.

And given an appropriate opponent, I would bid a fond farewell to Sen. McCaskill.

But Akin is not that candidate.

As a personal protest – with little significance – I have considered not voting for either Akin or McCaskill. I also considered voting for Akin by holding my nose.

But what would that prove?

I think the best option is to accept another term for McCaskill and continue to stress the values of our region that we hold dear.

That’s Akin’s second nightmare: conservative men who are disgusted with his reactionary views.

One of Akin’s strategists came up with a great idea to push back against all this: a four city tour called “Missouri Women Stand With Todd Akin.” They’re in Rolla today, then on to Springfield and Joplin tomorrow, and will wind up on Wednesday in eastern metro Kansas City — not the urban part of the city, mind you, but where the city and the more conservative ‘burbs meet near Arrowhead stadium. They’re hitting three strongly conservative areas, trying to shore up the wavering part of their base, plus hitting a battleground spot in McCaskill’s backyard.

Headlining these “Missouri Women Stand With Todd Akin” rallies will be the former first lady of Arkansas Janet Huckabee, the distinguished Arkansas uber-mom, Michelle “19 Kids and Counting” Duggar, and DC’s own Penny Nance, head of Concerned Women for America.

Wait a minute . . .

*pulls out Missouri State Highway map*

*re-reads press release*

Um, Congressman . . .

I know Missouri Women. Missouri Women are friends of mine. Unless Penny Nance has some Missouri roots that Teh Google isn’t showing anyone, these aren’t Missouri Women.

Now Arkansas is close to Missouri, but the voters of Joplin, Rolla, Springfield, and Kansas City never made Janet Huckabee the first lady, and Michelle Duggar isn’t doing anything to help Missouri get back the congressional district it lost after the 2010 census. If you’re going to announce a series of “Missouri Women Stand With Todd Akin” rallies, you probably ought to mention some, you know, Missouri Women in your press release.

This pushback tour won’t put an end to Akin campaign’s nightmares. As Ebeneezer Scrooge discovered, nightmares come in threes. If conservative women making ads declaring that they are voting for McCaskill is nightmare #1, and conservative men writing newspaper columns saying the same thing is nightmare #2, what could possibly be nightmare #3?

Let’s see . . . maybe another commercial.

Of course, it’s got to have a woman in it.

No, let’s make it 28 women. A campaign commercial with 28 women.

And they should be not angry or upset, but . . . exasperated. 28 exasperated women.

Is Akin sweating? In the immortal words of Ron Popeil, don’t answer yet . . .

And in this nightmare of a commercial that will haunt Todd Akin, these 28 exasperated women should be naked.

28 exasperated naked women.

And they should not be hidden away in a studio or a home, but they should be outside, in public, in a park somewhere, with all kinds of people strolling around and riding their bikes in the background. Put these 28 exasperated naked women out in full view of anyone who wanders by.

And they should be regular-looking women, not ready-for-supermodeldom-looking women. Tall women. Short women. Women with straight hair and women with kinky hair. Women with light skin and women with dark skin. Women with freckles and women with wrinkles. Women with slim bodies and women with rounded bodies.

28 regular-looking exasperated naked women, out in public.

Is Akin nervous? Don’t answer yet . . .

And they should speak. High voices. Low voices. Young voices. Old voices. Quiet voices. Loud voices.

And every single exasperated voice coming from every single one of those 28 naked womanly bodies is strong and powerful.

They are persistent voices, and these 28 ordinary-looking exasperated naked women standing out in public have one question — just one question — to ask Todd Akin and any other politicians who share his 18th century views.

And they ask it over and over and over again . . .

If you don’t trust me with my body, why should I trust you with my country?

If you don’t trust me with my body, why should I trust you with my country?

If you don’t trust me with my body, why should I trust you with my country?

If you don’t trust me with my body, why should I trust you with my country?

If you don’t trust me with my body, why should I trust you with my country?

If you don’t trust me with my body, why should I trust you with my country? . . .

As the makers of the video point out at their website, “In every presidential election since 1964, the number of female voters has exceeded the number of male voters.”

Sleep well, Congressman. If you can . . .


image h/t to DonkeyHotey

by Peterr

Romney’s Bain-Based Solution to Greece

6:43 am in 2012 election, Foreign Policy by Peterr

Mitt Romney, Mr. 1%

(I’ve been surprised by Mitt Romney’s forays into foreign affairs. Thus far, he’s done little but parrot tired GOP talking points, that have been used by candidates and pundits for ages. What’s missing is Romney’s personal touch. What’s missing is a foreign policy that draws on his strengths and builds on his own experiences of the world. Imagine the foreign policy approach that the founder of Bain Capital would bring to a situation like Greece . . .)

My friends, our great nation stands apart from the rest of the world, and requires a president unafraid to be the exceptional leader this exceptional nation deserves. Unfortunately, we have been saddled with a timid leader, who fundamentally misunderstands the way the world works. We stand at a unique moment in history, and the Obama administration is clueless about the opportunity they are missing.

I’m talking about Greece.

President Obama and his timid socialist allies in Europe look at Greece and all they see are problems. High unemployment, rising interest rates, teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, and so on. My friends, I have spent my life dealing with situations like Greece. It’s not a problem; it’s an opportunity.

My plan is simple, and it starts like this: the United States should buy Greece.

We should buy Greece, bring in new management to tighten things up, sell off some assets and build up others, let go of unnecessary workers, impose a new corporate culture of austerity instead of entitlement, clean up the corporate balance sheet, and put the nation back on its feet. And with my years of experience at Bain, I’m just the guy to do it.

But time is of the essence. Now is the time to strike a deal. Greece is in deep trouble with its creditors, and they have nowhere to turn but to the US. The maxim “buy low, sell high” tells you everything you need to know. The price will never be lower, and every day we wait is money we lose.

I know about turning around troubled companies, and I can see all kinds of opportunities with Greece. For instance, what corporate titan wouldn’t happily pay through the nose for a home address like 101 Avenue of the Gods, located on Mount Olympus? Can’t you hear Jamie Dimon or Lloyd Blankfein: “I live on Mount Olympus. Where else would a Master of the Universe reside?” If we carefully identify a small number of sites on that legendary mountain, we could set off a bidding war among the richest men on earth for the most exclusive address in the world. Yes, I know that Mount Olympus is a national park. That’s why this idea is possible — Greece already owns the mountain. But like failing companies all over the world, Greece isn’t taking advantage of what it’s got. By keeping the number of homes to a minimum, it keeps the exclusivity factor high, which means the prices will be astronomically high, and these few homes will not interfere with the park in the least. We could even prohibit roads and driveways to these Olympian retreats, and require helicopter access only.

This is but one example of how the United States can clean up the mess that Europe is in, and make money at the same time. Of course, it takes money to make money, so let me address the obvious question: where will the money to purchase Greece come from? Here, the answer is hidden in plain sight: sell Maine.

That’s right: sell Maine.

According to this 2007 state-by-state breakdown of federal revenues and expenditures, the federal government spent $4221 more per person in Maine than we collected in revenue. That kind of drain on the federal government is precisely why our deficit is running unchecked. There are other states that are more of a drain on the Treasury, but they have more historical value (Virginia), oil (Alaska), or beauty (Hawaii). Others, like the two Dakotas or Mississippi, might be candidates for sale, but they are much less likely to bring in a price anywhere near what Maine would attract. DC is the biggest drain of all, of course, but selling it would entail huge one-time expenses related to relocating much of the federal government, thus cutting deeply into the proceeds of the sale.

Who would buy Maine? Several nations come to mind. First, of course, would be Canada. There is a shared border, and many shared interests and industries. With a new Quebecois government making noises about secession, Ottawa might be interested in turning Maine into a new province, or adding it to an already existing province like Nova Scotia.

A second potential buyer would be Iceland. Their small nation is having pollution problems thanks to Alcoa, and Maine would be an attractive site for relocating their population while allowing Alcoa to continue using Iceland’s energy resources without impacting Iceland’s cities, towns, and villages. Icelanders could still lead their lives connected to the ocean, without the problems of their current location.

The third, and potentially best buyer, would be Qatar — a nation with money to burn. The emir has a couple of dozen children, and there are bound to be rivalries that need to be kept in check. Purchasing Maine might be the solution the emir needs, allowing him to set up new entities for them to administer. To those who say “but what would a desert nation want with a forested state like Maine?” the answer is simple. Relief. Temperatures are rising, and being able to get away from the heat for a while might be very, very attractive. In addition, if Qatar were to purchase Maine, it would give them a geographic presence much closer to Wall Street, which is the center of the world. Given Qatar’s wealth, it only makes sense that they would like to be as connected to our great financial capital as possible. Qatar also has the best dressage competitors in the Middle East, and a presence in North America would help them connect with our own great horse industry.

There might also be a dark horse bidder, in the form of a corporate buyer (or a consortium of companies). What would HSBC or ICBC pay to have their own country, with laws written by their own Board of Directors?  I don’t know, but I’d be willing to entertain whatever they might offer.

Buy Greece, and sell Maine. We unload an asset that is a drain on our balance sheet, and use the proceeds of the sale to buy an undervalued property elsewhere. This, my friend, is the kind of bold leadership that I would bring to the White House.

Buy low and sell high. It’s the American way, it’s the Romney way, and it’s the right way.


image h/t: DonkeyHotey

by Peterr

Ann Romney Rejects Her Own Very Sensible Idea

8:54 am in 2012 election, Religion, Wall Street by Peterr

Robin Roberts of ABC News has a new interview of Ann Romney that begins (around the 1:00 mark of the video) with the topic of Mitt’s refusal to release more of his tax returns, in keeping with the practices of many presidential candidates of both parties. Ann’s response included a very interesting suggestion. “You know, you should really look at where Mitt has led his life, where he’s been financially. He’s a very generous person . . .” said Ann (with emphasis in the original).

You know, Ann, that’s a good idea.

A really good idea.

I’d really, really love to look at where Mitt has led his life, and where he’s been financially.

But where to start? Oh, I could read biographies of Mitt or listen to his speeches, or listen to his friends or family talk about him, but those are words. Instead of just words, let’s try a little applied moral theology, as I explained it last October:

Read the rest of this entry →

by Peterr

No One Could Have Anticipated, Vol. #249

6:39 am in 2012 election, Religion by Peterr

Karen Handel, the new presidential advisor for women's health? (photo: Rich Lacey/flickr)

Who didn’t see this coming?

According to the AP, via the Washington Post, Obama is going to make an announcement today with regard to the growing fight with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops over the requirement under the new health care laws that employers provide insurance that covers contraception with no co-pays or deductibles. Speculation is rife as to exactly what this “compromise” will look like.

I’m guessing the announcement will end with “. . . and I’d like to introduce my new presidential adviser for women’s health, Karen Handel.”

Scarecrow is right: this is not about freedom of religion. It’s about power, specifically the power of Catholic bishops to impose their strongly held beliefs about the superiority of their consciences over the consciences of anyone else.

And this “compromise” — whatever it may be — will do nothing to satisfy the bishops. It will, on the other hand, embolden them to push for more . . .

No one could have anticipated . . .

by Peterr

This Nation Is Not Great Because We Embrace Conservative Talking Points

10:28 pm in 2012 election by Peterr

As I listened to the opening to the State of the Union speech, I know I was going to have a rough night. Last week, I spent a couple hours on the phone with a seminary friend. One of her daughter’s friends from high school was just killed in Afghanistan as a member of the Indiana National Guard, and my friend was trying to deal with the effect this is having both on her daughter and also the mother of the dead soldier (who was also a friend of my friend).

We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world. . . .

I’m sorry, but our military adventurism has not made us safer, nor more respected, and to start the speech like this really put me off.

As one who makes a lot of public speeches, I was struck by the way in which this speech was structured. In particular, I quickly noticed that the way in which each issue was laid out followed the same pattern.

Before Obama made any kind of progressive-leaning statement or proposal, he always seemed to embrace or praise some kind of conservative sentiment or talking point first. When talking about the “house of cards” that is the housing industry mess, he criticized homeowners first and banks second. When talking about tax reforms, relief for corporations came first. When talking about education, raising standards came first, and criticizing shortsighted budget cuts came second. When talking about students, mandating education up to age 18 came first, before raising the issues of college affordability or post-college jobs.

Oh, wait a minute.

(scrolls through text of the speech again)

He didn’t say anything about these grads getting jobs after college. My bad.

Or his.


When talking about “American-made energy,” Obama spent paragraphs praising the oil and natural gas industries before saying one word about alternatives. Every single time, no matter what the issue, it felt not as if the conservative position was a leadup to the something stronger from the progressive end of things, but rather that progressive-leaning positions were being given the rhetorical back seat.


The financial crimes unit stuff really ticked me off. “So pass legislation that makes the penalties for fraud count,” he said, but passing legislation makes no difference if charges never get filed and cases do not get tried. Robo-signing and forgery are already criminal acts, lying to grand juries and judges is already illegal, and robosigning on a massive scale is a conspiracy to commit fraud. You don’t need new legislation to file these charges or prosecute the offenders. These are already crimes; you just need to treat them like that, rather than continuing to look for a deal that will give banks immunity for their past crimes.


Obama delivered the speech well, and the word had clearly gone out not to step on the rhetoric by applauding every sentence and screwing up the rhythm and flow. Kudos to whoever pushed the Congress critters not to turn this into an applause circus.

Oddly, given the prominence given to the conservative issues and talking points throughout the speech, as well as the hagiographic depiction of the military, the very last paragraph was a very pleasant surprise.

No one built this country on their own. This Nation is great because we built it together. This Nation is great because we worked as a team. This Nation is great because we get each other’s backs. And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard. As long as we’re joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be strong.

(Am I way off base for thinking Obama probably needs to thank Elizabeth Warren for essentially writing it? See her comments here, starting at about the 0:55 mark.)

The repetition of “This nation is great because . . .” rang the changes of progressive thinking without apology. There was no “this nation is great because we’ve got bigger weapons” or “larger navies” or “more precise drones.” There was no “this nation is great because it’s every man for himself in the jungle of the market.”

No, the greatness of our nation — our true greatness — comes not from our military might but our unity of purpose, and not just any purpose but the purpose proclaimed in a document that begins “We the people of the United States . . .” and laid out more fully in the words that follow:

. . . in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. . .

It’s a pity that more of the speech wasn’t built around that theme of what makes this nation great. Instead, Obama reached again and again to the talking points of the right first, then gestured left, hoping again for a middle ground that does not exist.

by Peterr

Gingrich and His Less Than Transparent Freddie Mac Contract

7:47 pm in 2012 election by Peterr

"I'll take my check now, thankyouverymuch."

Newt Gingrich has selflessly released his contract with Freddie Mac. It’s available at the Washington Post website, where you can read it in all its glory.

Much of the contract is legal boilerplate, saying things like if you give us a report in electronic form, you won’t crash or hack our computer system, or do things that will allow someone else to do that. (Yes, that’s really there. See page six.) Everything Newt produced for Freddie Mac is now the property of Freddie Mac, including not just final documents but also drafts and notes that led up to those documents. (See page seven.)

The fun part of the contract, though, is the “Scope of Services” on page 14. Here’s where the contract lays out just what it is that Newt is expected to do for his $25,000 per month consulting fee:

Agreement between The Gingrich Group and Freddie Mac Consultant will provide consulting and related services as requested by Freddie Mac’s Director, Public Policy in exchange for which Freddie Mac will pay Consultant $25,000 per each full calendar month during which Consultant provides Services.

That’s it. That’s the whole discussion of what Freddie Mac and Newt agreed would be Newt’s job description.

It’s like Newt’s whole job is contained in the bottom line of every job description most of us have ever seen: “. . . and other such duties as may be assigned.”

Kind of makes you wonder what “consulting and related services” Freddie Mac’s Director for Public Policy would have asked Newt to do for his $25,000 a month.

Folks around here have pretty decent imaginations . . . If you’ve got any ideas for what Newt might have done that would have been worth $25,000 a month, please put them in the comments.


This contract says more about confidentiality of work product than it does about the actual work. Indeed, the actual subject of the work is to remain confidential. From page 4:

The term “Freddie Mac Information” means all information provided by Freddie Mac (or by others working with Freddie Mac) to Consultant, or to which Consultant is exposed as a result of or in connection with this Agreement or while providing Services or Deliverables, whether delivered orally, electronically or in writing and whether or not it is specifically marked or designated confidential. The term “Freddie Mac Information” also includes: the subject matter of Services and Deliverables [i.e., reports, memos, etc.] for which Freddie Mac has engaged Consultant to provide: and (ii) all materials that Consultant prepares based on Freddie Mac Information, including, without limitation, notes made by Consultant based on discussions with Freddie Mac employees and any reports and other Deliverables.

Consultant will treat all Freddie Mac Information as strictly confidential. . . .

IOW, Newt would be breaking the contract if he disclosed exactly what he was asked to do.

Gosh. And here we all thought Newt was trying to hide something, when all along he was being a good upstanding contract-abiding guy.


photo h/t to Gage Skidmore

by Peterr

Is James Dobson Repenting for His 2007 Interview with Newt Gingrich?

9:17 am in 2012 election, Religion by Peterr

James Dobson’s slam on Newt Gingrich at the recent behind-closed-doors meeting of evangelical Christian leaders grabbed a lot of attention in the press — almost as much as the group’s eventual vote to get behind Rick Santorum. Grace Wyler at Business Insider described Dobson’s comments like this:

Influential evangelical leader James Dobson set off the fireworks at this weekend’s Christian Right summit, giving a speech that lavished praise on Karen Santorum and asked whether Americans really wanted Callista Gingrich — “a woman who was a man’s mistress for eight years” — as their First Lady, according to sources who attended the meeting.

Sources told Business Insider that Dobson’s speech was a “startling moment” that left many in the audience — particularly those who support Gingrich — floored. One source described Dobson’s tone as “angry,” and said it seemed like Dobson was blaming Callista Gingrich for the couples’ affair, which began while the former House Speaker was still married to his second wife (this is Callista Gingrich’s first marriage).

“It was clear that, to him, the villian in this story is Callista Gingrich,” the source said. “And he was announcing it to 170 ministers with huge mailing lists and television ministries.”

That’s gotta sting. What no one seems to remember — not Wyler or anyone else — is that five years ago, when Gingrich was looking to reenter the political fights but knew he needed to address the adultery issue, it was to James Dobson that Gingrich turned. Gingrich and Dobson had a memorable radio conversation in which Newt admitted his adultery publicly for the first time (you can listen to the audio at the link). Folks like the late Jerry Falwell clamored to commend Gingrich for his confession:

“He has admitted his moral shortcomings to me, as well, in private conversations,” Falwell wrote in a weekly newsletter sent Friday to members of the Moral Majority Coalition and The Liberty Alliance. “And he has also told me that he has, in recent years, come to grips with his personal failures and sought God’s forgiveness.”

CNN’s Bill Schneider speculated at the time that this was a signal from Gingrich that he wanted in the presidential race and wanted the whole adultery question neutralized. In contrast to Rudy Giuliani’s interview with Larry King admitting his own rather substantive marital problems, Gingrich went to a major — perhaps the major — figure in the TheoCon movement, looking for absolution and a blessing.

And he got it.

But three weeks after that radio broadcast, Dobson made an unsolicited phone call to author and blogger Dan Gilgoff (then at US News), adding another layer to the conversation with Gingrich:

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson appeared to throw cold water on a possible presidential bid by former Sen. Fred Thompson while praising former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is also weighing a presidential run, in a phone interview Tuesday.

“Everyone knows he’s conservative and has come out strongly for the things that the pro-family movement stands for,” Dobson said of Thompson. “[But] I don’t think he’s a Christian; at least that’s my impression,” Dobson added, saying that such an impression would make it difficult for Thompson to connect with the Republican Party’s conservative Christian base and win the GOP nomination.

At the time, Fred Thompson was the up-and-coming flavor of the month. Very Serious People asked questions like “Will he get in the race or won’t he? Can he save the GOP from the likes of Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain?” A couple of days later, Dobson’s spokesperson tried to backpedal a bit on the Gilgoff interview, saying

[Dobson's] words weren’t intended to represent either an endorsement of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich or a disparagement of former Sen. Fred Thompson. Dr. Dobson appreciates Sen. Thompson’s solid, pro-family voting record and his position that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided.

In his conversation with Mr. Gilgoff, Dr. Dobson was attempting to highlight that to the best of his knowledge, Sen. Thompson hadn’t clearly communicated his religious faith, and many evangelical Christians might find this a barrier to supporting him.

Still, the implications were clear. For whatever reason, Dobson was clearly more comfortable supporting Newt Gingrich, a repentant serial adulterer, than Fred Thompson.

That was then, but my how things have changed.

Today, it seems as if Dobson is repenting a bit for his 2007 comments about Gingrich. In that Business Insider piece that I linked to at the top, Wyler goes on to describe a division among the participants:

In the wake of the conference, Christian Right leaders have publicly split into two camps — a bad sign for a coalition whose strength has always come from its solidarity. In one camp, powerful evangelical scions like Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; Family Research Council President Tony Perkins; and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, have thrown their support behind Santorum. On the other hand, influential California megachurch pastor Jim Garlow, evangelical activist David Lane, and Christian marketing guru George Barna have teamed up to support Gingrich.

So what’s changed?

(a) Not much. In 2007, Dobson used Gingrich as a way to undercut Fred Thompson, hoping to energize the TheoCon community to get behind someone more religiously acceptable. He wasn’t praising Gingrich as much as slipping a knife into Thompson, to try to build up support for a candidate the TheoCons could really get behind. Not necessarily Gingrich in 2008, mind you, but perhaps someone like Mike Huckabee or Sam Brownback. In 2012, Dobson’s found a more acceptable candidate, and is quite willing to use Gingrich again, this time to derail Mitt Romney’s campaign.

(b) Everything. In 2007, Dobson allowed Gingrich to use Dobson’s radio show as a means to reenter politics, proclaiming himself to be a reformed, repentant, and renewed Christian. Those are words to warm every TheoCon’s heart. But in the five years since then, what has Gingrich done to show his faith credentials? What has he done to promote the TheoCon cause? He’s done lots of lobbying and consulting, promoting the bank account of Newt and Callista Gingrich, but nothing to get the TheoCons cheering. Neither Dobson nor Gingrich has said much publicly about the other since then (until recently, that is), but there is one little public thing that might be in play. In 2009, Gingrich left the Baptist church and became a Roman Catholic — not something that went down well with many TheoCons. If this was part of Dobson’s problem with Gingrich, it’s not as simple as saying “TheoCons don’t like Catholics.” After all, Dobson recently endorsed the very Roman Catholic Rick Santorum. Instead, it may be that Dobson sees Gingrich’s conversion to Catholicism as yet another sign that Gingrich views religion as a political tool to be used to manipulate others, not as a way of life for one’s self, and yet another indication that the 2007 interview was more calculated than sincere. In other words, Dobson now sees that he got played in 2007, and doesn’t like that one bit.

(c) Both of the above. Dobson used Gingrich in 2007 to torpedo Thompson, and wants to do the same now to torpedo Mitt Romney. If Dobson thinks he was played by Gingrich in 2007, that would certainly explain the anger with which Dobson spoke out against Newt and Callista last week. Being able to pay Gingrich back for being fooled by him in 2007 while at the same time trying to boost a “real Christian conservative” like Santorum as the alternative to Romney is icing on the cake.

It’s mostly a wild guess, but put me down for (c).


photo of a portion of the John the Baptist window in Glasgow Cathedral h/t to Glasgow Amateur