On Super Tuesday, James Dobson released a statement to The Laura Ingraham Show saying, "I cannot, and will not, vote for Sen. John McCain, as a matter of conscience." Expressing his personal opinions and not those of non-profit organization Focus on the Family, Dobson criticized McCain for his opposition to traditional marriage, support of embryonic stem cell research, and his vote against tax cuts which ended the marriage penalty. Dobson also charged that McCain, "has little respect for freedom of speech, organized the Gang of 14 to preserve fillibusters in judicial hearings, and has a legendary temper and often uses foul and obscene language."
Dobson challenged McCain's conservative loyalty saying, "I am convinced Sen. McCain is not a conservative, and in fact, has gone out of his way to stick his thumb in the eyes of those who are. He has sounded at times more like a member of the other party. McCain actually considered leaving the GOP caucus in 2001 and approached John Kerry about being Kerry's running mate in 2004. McCain also said publicly that Hillary Clinton would make a good president."
Dobson also voiced his belief that, should McCain capture the GOP nomination, "this general election would offer the worst choices for president in [his] lifetime." Dobson added that he certainly would not vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, and that, if McCain was nominated, he would not cast a ballot in the presidential election for the first time in his life.
I am curious to see how much of an effect Dobson's criticism of McCain will have on evangelical voters. Dobson is one of the more respected Christian leaders in the United States. Will evangelicals follow his lead and stay home in November if the choice is between McCain and one of the two Democrat frontrunners? If so, perhaps it would send a message to the powers that they have become distanced from a significant portion of their constituency.
On Thursday, Dobson endorsed Republican Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign.