Dobson’s Huckabee Nod Draws Ire from Watchdog Group

With Mitt Romney gone, Focus on the Family founder James “Anyone But McCain” Dobson has endorsed one of two other guys left standing – Mike Huckabee. Dobson’s late-out-of-the-gate nod has prompted People for the American Way to issue a statement criticizing the Focus on the Family founder’s “craven attempt to remain a kingmaker.”Dobson’s endorsement comes more than three months after a much ballyhooed “values voter” summit in Washington – starring Dobson and a hefty entourage from his ministry and media empire – landed a 51 percent straw poll “win” for Huckabee.

On Friday, Dobson’s endorsement was posted on CitizenLink, the political arm of Focus on the Family’s Web site.

“[Huckabee’s] unwavering positions on the social issues, notably the institution of marriage, the importance of faith and the sanctity of human life, resonate deeply with me and with many others.” Dobson was quoted saying. “That is why I will support Gov. Huckabee through the remaining primaries, and will vote for him in the general election if he should get the nomination.

“Obviously, the governor faces an uphill struggle, given the delegates already committed to Sen. McCain.  Nevertheless, I believe he is our best remaining choice for President of the United States.”

In response, the Washington-based People For the American Way, which advocates for religious tolerance and diversity, wasted little time weighing in on what had become a yearlong media Dobson-watch to learn which Republican he would personally support.

On Friday People For the American Way issued the following statement:, attributed to its political director, Mary Jean Collins.

“James Dobson, in a craven attempt to remain a kingmaker among the far right, has issued a half-hearted, middle-of-the-night endorsement of Mike Huckabee – only after John McCain has become the front-runner and almost by default, the GOP nominee. It’s a move that further exposes the deep divisions among the self-appointed leaders of the radical right.

“It’s not as though Huckabee is new to the race – he’s been courting the right-wing since the beginning.  While Dobson didn’t endorse Mitt Romney, he was clearly his candidate of choice and it’s only now after McCain has emerged and Romney has dropped out that Dobson has `discovered’ Huckabee’s right-wing cred.

“So what’s it to be?  Political power or ideological purity?  The far right seems to be faced with a difficult choice – back McCain, who many conservatives openly despise, or Huckabee, whose extremism appeals so far only to GOP voters in the South?  The movement may solve its problems by embracing a McCain-Huckabee ticket.  Now, that would be the height of hypocrisy.”

Cara DeGette is a senior fellow at Colorado Confidential and a columnist and contributing editor at The Colorado Springs Independent. E-mail her at