Dobson's Con Man Game

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Dobson's Con Man Game

Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family is attempting to clear the air over what he knew and when he knew about Harriet Miers via direct contact with the White House. However, according to this radio transcript he's not exactly helping himself-- Dobson confirms that he was confidentially reassured by Karl Rove that Miers is conservative and that Rove talked to him before Miers was officially nominated. Dobson then goes on to say he can't talk about what Rove told him. Well, except the parts that he can repeat, like it's all the Democrats fault and that Rove said Miers belongs to a pro-life, conservative Christian church. Here are a few excerpts from the transcript:

Well, my reasons for supporting her were twofold, John. First, because Karl Rove had shared with me her judicial philosophy which was consistent with the promises that President Bush had made when he was campaigning. Now he told the voters last year that he would select people to be on the Court who would interpret the law rather than create it and judges who would not make social policy from the bench. Most of all, the President promised to appoint people who would uphold the Constitution and not use their powers to advance their own political agenda. Now, Mr. Rove assured me in that telephone conversation that Harriet Miers fit that description and that the President knew her well enough to say so with complete confidence.
Dobson then explains that Rove told him to talk to people who know Miers-- namely Nathan Hecht and Ed Kincaide-- who will personally vouch for her. Dobson does so then he calls his friends.

So, I shared my findings with my colleagues, not only what I just mentioned, but other calls I made. I talked to Chuck Colson, my great friend, who is a constitutional attorney...and talked to him four times. He helped me kind of assimilate the information that we had garnered, but I would not say much about the phone call from Karl Rove, even though I'm very close to many of the people who are on the telephone. Why would I not do that? Because it was a confidential conversation and I've had a long-standing policy of not going out and revealing things that are said to me in confidence. That may come from my training as a psychologist, where you hear all sorts of things that you can't go out and talk about.

And I feel very strongly about that. And frankly, I think it's a mistake and maybe even an ethical problem for people to do that'n go out and brag about being a player on the national scene, maybe to make themselves to look important. You know, I just wish that didn't happen like it does and I certainly didn't want to be part of it.
Hold the phone, isn't that EXACTLY what you are doing? Broadcasting to the world that you are important and influential?
And I feel very strongly about that. And frankly, I think it's a mistake and maybe even an ethical problem for people to do that, to go out and brag about being a player on the national scene, maybe to make themselves to look important. You know, I just wish that didn't happen like it does and I certainly didn't want to be part of it.
Yes, yes, we get it. You won't disclose anything because it's unethical...but then you keep talking, you can't seem to help yourself.

So, I wouldn't reveal any of the details about the call, although I did say to these pro-family leaders, which has been widely quoted, that Karl had told me something that I probably shouldn't know. And you know, it really wasn't all that tantalizing, but I still couldn't talk about it. And what I was referring to is the fact that on Saturday, the day before the President made his decision, I knew that Harrier Miers was at the top of the short list of names under consideration. And as you know, that information hadn't been released yet, and everyone in Washington and many people around the country wanted to know about it and the fact that he had shared with me is not something I wanted to reveal.

But we also talked about something else, and I think this is the first time this has been disclosed. Some of the other candidates who had been on that short list, and that many conservatives are now upset about were highly qualified individuals that had been passed over. Well, what Karl told me is that some of those individuals took themselves off that list and they would not allow their names to be considered, because the process has become so vicious and so vitriolic and so bitter, that they didn't want to subject themselves or the members of their families to it.

So, even today, many conservatives and many of 'em friends of mine, are being interviewed on talk shows and national television programs. And they're saying, "Why didn't the President appoint so-and-so? He or she would have been great. They had a wonderful judicial record. They would have been the kind of person we've been hoping and working and praying for to be on the Court. Well, it very well may be that those individuals didn't want to be appointed.
Yes, that's it, the secret that you can't reveal is that all those justices dont' want to be judge, that poor Harriet Miers got the booby prize that nobody else wanted. Right. Watch him shift the blame to, of course, the Democrats.
Well, it's true. The Democrats have so politicized that process that it's become an ordeal and many people just don't want to go through that. And I'm not sure I blame them. So, Karl Rove shared some of that with me. He also made it clear that the President was looking for a certain kind of candidate, namely a woman to replace Justice O'Connor. And you can imagine what that did to the short list. That cut it…I haven’t looked at who I think might have been on that short list, because Karl didn’t tell me who was not willing to be considered.
Yes, those Democrats sure are scary with their facts and their research and their tough questions. Sorry about that, you'd think this was a job for life or something, you know, 1/9th of the most powerful people in the Judicial Branch.

Anyways, Dobson finally gets to what he says he can't say, because of (ahem) ethics.
What did Karl Rove say to me that I knew on Monday that I couldn't reveal? Well, it's what we all know now, that Harriet Miers is an Evangelical Christian, that she is from a very conservative church, which is almost universally pro-life, that she had taken on the American Bar Association on the issue of abortion and fought for a policy that would not be supportive of abortion, that she had been a member of the Texas Right to Life. In other words, there is a characterization of her that was given to me before the President had actually made this decision.
We did not discuss Roe v. Wade in any context or any other pending issue that will be considered by the Court. I did not ask that question. You know, to be honest, I would have loved to have known how Harriet Miers views Roe v. Wade. But even if Karl had known the answer to that and I'm certain that he didn't, because the President himself said he didn't know, Karl would not have told me that. That's the most incendiary information that's out there and it was never part of our discussion.
How dumb do you think people are? Rove tells you that Miers belongs to a pro-life, conservative churh and that she has a conservative judicial philosophy but you think the point of contention is that he didn't specifically talk about Roe? Who do you think you're kidding? You didn't need to talk specifically about Roe, that's the whole point-- he told you everything except that.

Again John, last Sunday, Democrats were on all the talk shows and nearly all of them mentioned me one way or another. Senator Schumer from New York, referred to my conversations with Karl Rove as a "wink and a whisper," you know, trying to make something sinister out of it. It's obvious what the agenda is here.
Let me just say in the conclusion to my comments here --and I want to speak directly to members of the judiciary committee about the possibility of my coming to testify--if they want to do that, then I just suggest that they quit talking about and just go do it. I have nothing to hide and I'll be happy to come and talk to you. But I won't have anything to say that I haven't just told millions of people. And so, that's really the end of my statement.
For pete's sake, what transpired between you and Rove is the very definition of a wink-and-whisper campaign. You did exactly what Rove told you to do-- tell all your friends she's pro-life, conservative Christian whom Bush trusts. (Actually, it's more of a "wink, wink, nudge, nudge, you know what I mean campaign" but that's beside the point.)

First Dobson says he can't squeal because of ethics, but then squeals enough to give the White House cover and shift the blame to the mean ol' (powerless) Democrats, but then completely ignores the ethical breach of the White House talking to him confidentially about a supreme court nominee and giving him private reassurances about Miers BEFORE her nomination was even announced. Nah, nothing shady or unethical here. None of their private conversations about Miers prior to her nomination were a "wink, wink" about her conservative credentials from the White House to one of the most powerful Christian conservative organizations in the country. Nope, nothing to see here, move along.

Dobson is playing a con game and he's not even playing it very well. I do hope he gets called under oath to testify before the Judiciary Committee and tries to pass off this phoney-baloney, excuse-laden story along to the senate and the American public.

(Yes, I think this post wins the longest post ever award. Not entirely my fault, Dobson is just awfully fond of talking about not talking.)

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