We still do not have a nominee from either political party but John McCain will be very hard to stop between now and March or April. He is the front runner by a large margin and more than half-way to the total number of delegates he will need. It is statistically possible that with all three men in this race no one could gain enough support to win before St. Paul in September.
But the pundits, even on the far right, are in almost complete agreement today that he will be the nominee unless something major or drastic happens to change the public perception and mood. Will Romney or Huckabee exist soon? I tend to think not. But this is a guess, which is about as much as anyone can make today.
On the other side the delegate total is very close and though Clinton has some large states ahead, where her campaign is strong, it is still possible she will not wrap the nomination up before August in Denver. Obama did not do as well in California as I had thought he would. Of all the demographics I find it quite interesting that women are coming out for Hillary
in very large numbers, especially poorer and less educated women. And Hispanics back her as well. If anyone thought we were a color-blind or gender-neutral nation this data should disabuse them of this view if they will study it at all.
On the right the Christian voice is still harsh and shrill today. Some are seeking to make peace with the fact that McCain will be the nominee while others insist that they will either vote for Hillary (Ann Coulter) or not vote at all (James Dobson). Laura Ingraham devoted a portion of her radio show to reading a statement by James Dobson on election eve.
I found this statement very sad, if not outright offensive. I personally believe that Dr. Dobson has done a great deal of good for the support of the nuclear family and for Christian counseling in general. At one time, some years ago now, non-Christians bought and read his early books and even talked about his keen insights into human nature and child rearing with approval. I think he has done a great deal of harm, over the past few years, by injecting himself into partisan politics so aggressively, especially in this present election cycle. He makes himself the unnecessary target of millions of negative comments when he could be ministering to many of those same people if he just stuck to what he does well and best, namely teaching people how to live well and adjust their lives to the good news of God’s grace. Just an opinion.
Regardless of Donson’s saying that he speaks only for himself in his attacks on McCain he is seen by the multitudes as speaking for people like many of you and me, moderate and conservative Christians. I resist this and thus have to continually say so in order to retain my missional opportunities with those outside the faith.
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Dobson’s comments were poorly times, inappropriate and another example of his loss of authority in the evangelical world. But what I also thought was interesting is that really nothing he was concerned about was strictly biblical. He was concerned about the marriage penalty, changing the Constitution to protect marriage and changing the rules of the Senate, which are in place to insure that the institution acts conservatively and with the participation of the minority. He has conservative positions, but I am not sure that those are really all that biblical or even moral.
About Obama, if you look at the count (as of 5:30 EST according to CNN), Clinton is only ahead by one delegate (not including the superdelegate). I think it is very unlikely that this is decided before the convention, unless a much higher percent of the superdelegate come out for one or the other. Right now only about 1/3 of the superdelegate have pledged one way or another.
John I appreciate your comments about James Dobson.
A very thoughtful article about John McCain appeared in today’s National Review:
The thesis is that John McCain is not driven by political ideology but by personal loyalties and a sense of honor. I don’t know if this is true. But if it is, it could help to explain why there are such widely differing opinions about McCain, and why so many think that he’s erratic when he’s convinced that he’s consistent.
Having a candidate driven by a strong sense of honor, rather than carefully crafted ideology, has obvious dangers. But on balance, it might be a good thing.
Conservatives with strong and well developed personal ideologies (James Dobson, Ron Paul, …) can be easily swept away by their own belief systems. And these belief systems have little appeal to the postmodern culture. But a sense of honor? That’s something that can potentially inspire and lead in America today. I hope so.
I understand a man like Dobson. I have my own disagreements with the direction of FOTF but I do appreciate Dobson. He is a passionate man. If he was refusing to vote because all of the candidates supported slavery we would all applaud, wouldn’t we? Instead the issues are ESCR and abortion. How can we be so sure these issues are not actually worse than slavery when held against the light of the Bible?
My conclusion, after reading a lot by and a lot about John McCain, corresponds to this comment that he does not have a carefully crafted ideology. He is essentially conservative, in all the best sense, but in a way that does not adhere to some of the ideological elements of the term since Reagan. (Reagan was much less of a conservative ideologue, on some points, than many modern Reaganites think.) JLS is correct in noting that he is driven by a “sense of honor.” He is a military man, third generation. You may like this, or not like this, but this is about who he is much more than how he votes on each single issue. This is also why he can appeal more broadly than the rigidly ideological conservatives who despise him so profoundly (Coulter, Limbaugh, Dobson, Ingraham, etc.).
It must be acknowledged, as with all public leaders, that his main strength is also his main weakness. This is why he often seems to be condescending to those who disagree with him when he is so passionate. I do not see this as arrogance, from my own reading of his autobiographical work and several different biographies, but rather it comes from his sense of duty to his vision of how to serve the country that he loves. He is wrong on some things, right on others. But the “I think McCain is not a conservative” approach does not explain why he appeals to so many people as broadly he does. Furthermore, suggesting that the mainstream media loves him and helped him win is silly. Watch what they do to him as the election unfolds and you will see how long the knives will now be against him. The mainstream media tends to go after anyone who leaves a little blood in the water, which almost all candidates will do in time.
My friends who are career military people understand this the best of all the people I talk to about it. I am beginning to grasp it the more I understand the man, or at least try to understand him.
As we have learned today Romney has dropped out of the race, now virtually assuring Senator McCain of the nomination of the Republican Party.
John McCain has a 100% voting record on pro-life. As for the stem cell debate the better approach would be that of Senator Sam Brownback, a devout Catholic conservative and an opponent of embryonic stem-cell research. He has met with Senator McCain and is seeking to change his view relative to the new skin cells that we have found can provide a great source for research. I am convinced, before long, that this debate will die down precisely because it will be irrelevant medically.
The greater concern ought to be where bio-medical ethics is taking us with regard to certain kinds of human cloning. This is the “real battle” and we are fighting rear-guard struggles while bigger battles will soon be lost as well.