I’ve made a point on this blog not to post on the weekends. This isn’t an iron-clad rule, but I’ve been fairly consistent recently. The primary reason for this is that I believe the whole “24-hour news cycle” is simply a marketing scheme meant to push advertisement sales at news channels, and we could probably all benefit from taking a small break on the weekends to reflect.
But there are times when I have to admit I’m wrong, and this weekend certainly was one of those. In an unusually eventful weekend, Barack Obama seems to have swept all the primaries and caucuses on the Democratic side, having won in four states. And on the Republican side, James Dobson suddenly decided that Chuck Norris was fighting on the side of God – the Right-Hand Karate Chop of the Lord, as it were – and threw his support to Mike Huckabee. Or at least, that’s the way the media has – seemingly without a trace of reflection or analysis – chosen to let Huckabee and Dobson spin it.
But of course, if you think Dobson’s support of Huckabee is about actual faith in his ability to win the nomination – much less the general, much less lead the nation – I’ve got a bridge to sell you in Babylon. Even the mathematical possibility of Huck winning the incumbent number of delegates slips slowly away as I type, like money down a televangelist’s shirt pocket. Had this support been really meaningful, it would have been given months ago when Dobson was threatening to stay home or raise a third party candidate. No, what this is about is draining John McCain’s coffers of every red cent that he can and embarrassing the party to prove his own relevancy.
It’s no accident that the endorsement happened just days before the primaries that Huck was most likely to win in the first place: Dobson may or may not have added a bit of oomph to Huckabee’s appeal in Virginia, but more likely, this was a way to make it appear as though that is what happened. It’s your basic political magic trick to give Huckabee a certain air of providential inevitability, touched by the hand of god, in the eyes of the yokel faithful.
That forces John McCain to continue contesting the Republican nomination instead of launching his national campaign (which, as we’ve been told by Mitt Romney, is for the good of the nation). That’s a waste of money when the nomination is so clearly sewn up, but then that’s the point.
But couldn’t Dobson be grooming a third party candidate, like he’d threatened run? Perhaps, but I doubt it.
I suspect that Dobson knows that his idea of a third party candidate was probably ill-advised: never minding that third party candidates rarely accomplish much more than being a spoiler, if a Christian third party challenger entered the fray, the unmoderated religious tenor of the candidacy would probably make three quarters of the country queasy. They would doubtless fail miserably in all but the most backward of counties, and Dobson would end up merely ruining his own credibility.
Ah! But if the Republicans loose the election – especially when there was a Christian candidate waiting in the wings who had made a good showing but lost – well then, he can claim that the Party lost because the Party lost its Christian moorings. All this without having to expose his Evangelical powerhouse to scrutiny.
Or, maybe he’s just an asshole. There’s lots of those out there.