Two weeks after a much ballyhooed “values voter” summit landed a 51 percent straw poll “win” for presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, the world is still waiting for Focus on the Family founder James Dobson to crown the former Arkansas governor and Baptist preacher Mr. GOP America 2008. If he’s going to crown Huckabee.In late October, during the gathering in Washington that drew a reported 2,600 conservatives plus every Republican presidential candidate, Huckabee mopped the floor with the other contenders. His 51 percent triumph came from those who were actually at the conference.
Trailing in second was Mitt Romney, with 10 percent – followed by Tom Tancredo at 9 percent. Fred Thompson followed on their heels with 8 percent. No one else even came close.
Stuart Shepard, the managing editor of Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink online magazine, practically crowed over the straw poll results in a videotape synopsis of the weekend’s festivities, which is posted at the Colorado Springs ministry and media empire’s Website:
“It threw the news media for a looooop!” Shepard reported.
Of the event in general, Shepard opined of the media, “It was as if they’d never seen a conservative before! Attention network news, you’re spending too much time in New York!”
During the weekend’s festivities, in which Dobson was also joined by far-right leaders ranging from Edwin Meese to Chuck Colson to Tony Perkins and Phyllis Schlafly, Dobson also weighed in on reports of his movement’s demise:
“The media’s been telling everybody for months and months and months that the pro-family movement and the pro-life movement are dying,” Dobson told the crowd. “Well, to the media who’s here, may I say, `Welcome to the morgue!'”
Then, “It ain’t dead yet.”
In the weeks following, plenty of news outlets and blogs have taken another look at Huckabee. Is he really Dobson’s guy? And, almost in the next breath: Could voters ever elect a president named “Huckabee?”
Shepard may be hawking the Huckabee results on the Focus on the Family Web site, but if Dobson plans to actually give his personal nod of approval, well, so far he’s remained coy. That’s a stark contrast to his past thump-on-the-head-with-a-two-by-four tactic when rejecting GOP candidates Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Fred Thompson.
Rather, this week Dobson and his ministry spent much time during a three-part radio series that aired this week rehashing the “values voters” summit, during which Dobson was honored.
Rather than embracing Huckabee – or anyone else– Dobson spoke to his followers in more general terms. In fact, on the radio he talked more about Frank Rich of The New York Times than of Huckabee. Plus he had a lot to say about one of his favorite topics: How the secular media always seems to get everything wrong. Here are some of the main themes this week: