Sunday, October 26, 2008


Here's a link to an article on James Dobson's latest inane newsletter.

It's funny. Years ago, when I was at a religious college, Focus on the Family seemed like a legitimate and mainstream organization, but the further I get away from the conservative evangelical mindset myself, the more outlandish and dangerous Dobson and company seem.

Just a few of my favorites from the dozens of ridiculous doomsday scenarios that Dobson proposes will come to pass under an Obama presidency:

- First-graders get “compulsory training in varieties of gender identity,” and parents can no longer opt out of school-based sex ed for their kids.
- The FCC nullifies all restrictions on obscene speech or visual portrayals on TV, and it’s now a 24-hour non-stop diet of explicit porn.
- A single-payer national health care system has banned hospital admissions for anyone over 80. (Interestingly enough, Obama has not, best I can tell, suggested a single-payer national health care system. He's suggested using government subsidies to prop up our current system.)
- Home-schoolers are forced to use state-approved curricula, and rather than do so, many emigrate to New Zealand or Australia where they may teach without restrictions.

I wonder if Dobson actually believes any of this stuff, or if he's just trying to market his new '50s-style Creature Feature, It Crawled from Cook County.


Nathan P. Gilmour said...

There are too many things about Jimbo that amuse me, but a couple of them are these:
1 Before McCain got the nomination, Jimbo was talking big about seceding from the GOP and taking his radio listeners with him.
2 Only after a woman who does not stay at home with the kids became the VP candidate did Jimbo, who advocated women's staying home for three decades and change jump on board.
3 When he's not decrying the crassness of modern culture, he's got Ann Coulter on his radio show, never once even hinting that she should dial back the crassness of her columns and books.

Okay, those were three. I got carried away. As we've said over lunch, Michial, I'm probably a hair closer to the "conservative evangelical mindset" than you are (a fine hair, I have to insist), but I also have a strange inner relationship with Jimbo. I got one of his books as a high school graduation gift (if I remember right, it was called Life on the Edge), and its advice served me well in college. But that Jimbo and the one I hear on the radio "palling around" with Ann Coulter are, I have to think, different Jimbos. Or at least I tell myself that so that I can stop thinking about Jimbo.

Nathan P. Gilmour said...

Oops. I left a comma out of item two on my little list. Please imagine one's appearing directly after "change."

Michial said...

Actually, one of the sad ironies about Dobson is that--at least in my experience--he's a pretty good psychiatrist. I remember going through a pretty bad breakup five years or so ago and listening to one of his lecture series. And it helped--I thought his advice was dead-on.

It's just when he ventures into politics that I've got a problem with him. The sad fact of the matter is that he's got no more qualifications than you or I to control vast political power, and yet he does. And Dobson fanatics, as you know, are even crazier and less thoughtful than Dittoheads.

I've found myself wondering lately what will happen to Focus on the Family when Dobson dies. It can't be more than a decade away. Can that organization survive without him?

Nathan P. Gilmour said...

I've read in more than one place that he's been grooming his son Ryan to inherit the empire. I don't know whether he'll be able to keep it together, but Jimbo has in fact made plans.

I think what makes Dobsonites even more frightening than dittoheads is that they don't have Limbaugh's sense of humor. He was often genuinely funny mocking the pretensions of Bill Clinton in the nineties. The problem, of course, is that when humor is turned away from power and against those resisting power, it becomes just another propaganda tool. So in the last eight years he's lost a good deal of the funny and wandered into the spooky. I can imagine a Renaissance for those AM radio chaps if they lose the power that they've assumed for the last eight years; they'll have a target big enough for radio again.

Wow. I've wandered entirely off the topic. Back to Jimbo, I do think that Palin's nomination had to age the poor old dude prematurely--after being the cheerleader for an immensely incompetent president for eight years, the party goes and contradicts the keep-the-women-at-home ideology that he's been propagating for as long as I can remember and at least as long as Bringing up Boys (which someone at church gave to Mary and which in turn became entertainment on car rides for some time thereafter). He must know that in the twilight of his career, he cannot but end as a clown, though a depressing Feste-type clown.

BTW, apropos of nothing, the word verification password as I type this comment is "monsta." That's cool.

Tim Rhodes said...

Working at FamilyNet I have to listen to Dobson's program just about every day. These past two weeks have been an Obama slam-fest. But what I love is he'll make a disclaimer at the beginning that he's not *endorsing* any candidate. But then he proceeds to criticize and condemn Obama for 30 minutes.

Michial said...

I'm actually a little surprised he doesn't out-and-out endorse McCain. Would he be in danger of losing some sort of tax-exempt status if he did so?

Tim Rhodes said...

That's what's so funny to me. It seems he vehemently emphasizes that he's not endorsing a particular candidate, and he also emphasizes the fact that he's only endorsed one candidate ever (although he still hasn't said which Republican that was). It doesn't make sense to me. Although I'm with you and think he has no business entering the political realm, I don't understand what he's thinking when he doesn't endorse a candidate. Does he think listeners are really stupid enough to not know who he would vote for? It very well may have something to do with a tax-exempt status. But it seems he practically endorses McCain with the way he treats Obama.

On a side note-- I, similarly to Nathan, got a book of his for graduation, but it wasn't "Life on the Edge." My wonderful mother got me "Love Must Be Tough." Apparently she misjudged the book by the title thinking it was a book about not saying yes all the time and not being a "people-pleaser." Instead, it was about married couples where one has had an affair and how to deal with that and divorce. It is probably a decent book, but the whole situation really cracked me up. I love my mom.

Michial said...

Yeah, and add to the mix the fact that a great deal of his listeners view his political endorsements as his major selling point. It must be a tax thing.

I hope you never need that book!