Last time Focus on the Family founder James Dobson stepped onto the public stage, it was to harrumph about the disastrous prospect of a Giuliani presidency.
Now he’s back, but this time it’s the second presumed Republican front-runner he’s railing against. In a statement released to the Laura Ingraham radio show, Dobson said he’s "deeply disappointed" that the party is poised to nominate John McCain, whose record on stem-cell research, marriage amendments, filibusters, not to mention his "foul and obscene language," offends Dobson deeply. If McCain wins the nomination, he said, "I believe this general election will offer the worst choices for president in my lifetime."
The timing of the statement—right before Romney’s likely last stand—seems intended to serve as an evangelical Hail Mary. But his tone is one of resignation rather than hope: "What a sad and melancholy decision," he laments.
Talk of a third-party candidacy petered out in the fall once Mike Huckabee became a viable candidate. I wonder if his decline and Romney’s will revive that conversation. It seems unlikely. Back in September, the conservative Council for National Policy said it would "consider" running a third-party candidate if the GOP nominee was "pro-abortion." McCain doesn’t meet this standard, but anything could happen if he rankles other leading evangelicals as much as Dobson. He should probably name check God a few times into his speech tonight for good measure.