Whatever you do, don’t say that James Dobson makes stuff up

Gary McCullough, director of Christian Newswire, sent out a release today saying, basically, that Barack Obama has made a potentially career-ending blunder by challenging the evangelical leader James Dobson (that’s him).

The headline says that Obama’s blunder is of “Epic Proportion.”

jamesdobson.jpgI knew that Dobson is an influential evangelical leader, but not that “Susie Q. evangelical” — McCullough’s term — will be so outraged by Obama saying Dobson “was making stuff up” that undecided evangelicals will rush to John McCain’s side.

Dobson had accused Obama of distorting the Bible, prompting Obama’s reaction.

McCullough writes:

Barack Obama may have made a political blunder that will impact more swing voters than any other single factor: he insulted Jim Dobson’s integrity.

By picking a public fight with America’s most popular religious radio personality, Obama negated his best advantage with unaligned voters; evangelical Christians.

The evangelical community had been fairly unimpressed by John McCain. But Obama has shown a grave lack of political wisdom: he did not let this sleeping dog lie.

And he concludes:

Until this flurry, McCain’s standing with the evangelical community was undefined, and tepid at best. Moreover, it is commonly accepted that McCain cannot win without the evangelical vote. Obama’s treatment of Dobson did two things; it eliminated any sympathy for the abuse he took for attacks on his religious associations, i.e. Rev. Wright, and two; Obama insulted the single, most powerful influence on evangelicals.

Insulting Dobson’s integrity will cost Obama dearly with this critical swing vote. His mistake could prove to make the difference in November — in favor of McCain.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.