Dobson’s Head Explodes

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

James Dobson is just plain bizarre:

An anguished James Dobson prayed Wednesday for a sign from God, telling his Christian radio listeners he was questioning his early endorsement of Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers.

Dobson, founder of Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, is one of the most prominent religious conservatives to back Miers, citing his trust in President Bush and a confidential briefing he received about her from the White House.

But in his regular radio broadcast Wednesday, Dobson prayed he was not making a mistake.

“Lord, you know I don’t have the wisdom to make this decision,” Dobson said. “You know that what I feel now and what I think is right may be dead wrong.”

As near as I can guess, Dobson endorsed Miers early on because she was an evangelical, and hailed from a fairly conservative congregation in Dallas, the Valley View Christian Church. But evangelicals are hardly a monolithic bloc, even evangelicals at conservative churches; occasionally you get all sorts of closet liberals, compulsive gamblers, people who think sex and abortion are just fine and dandy, and people who don’t care all that much about faith and are just there for the company and coffee bar, all lurking in the pews. Harriet Miers, for instance, has been organizing radical feminist conferences in her spare time, probably not something high on Dobson’s list of approved behaviors. Furthermore, as Jon Cohn reported yesterday, the Valley View Christian Church itself underwent a schism of sorts recently, with the Flintstones wing of the congregation breaking away, leaving a more progressive pastor to take the helm, and since then, most of the church’s truly fire-breathing positions have been moderated or abandoned. All very mysterious.

So, you know, Dobson really might not have the wisdom to make this call, and he really might be dead wrong when he endorsed her. But who knows? This only emphasizes how stupid this whole “stealth nominee” idea was in the first place. It was bad enough when a prominent religious conservative had “secret information” about Miers that no one else in the public sphere had. But now it seems that even Dobson doesn’t know for sure. So the Senate is supposed to assess this nominee how, exactly? The only thing anyone can be truly confident about is that she’ll be a pro-administration hack who will, one assumes, happily and irresponsibly vote to expand presidential wartime powers when the opportunity arises. For that alone she deserves blanket rejection, but beyond that, there’s just a whole lot of senseless guessing here.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend