Few reporters have picked up on James Dobson’s broadcast today regarding his chat with Karl Rove about Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers. What with Senators saying they may summons Dobson to address the Judiciary Committee, and Dobson explaining himself today, the Miers nomination story has taken one more step into the Truth Is Stranger Than Parody category.
Those reporters who have written about Dobson’s remarks have played it straight, simply summarizing the broadcast and the background leading to it.
Eric Gorski of The Denver Post turned up this helpful detail about how little power Dobson would have as a witness:
If Dobson is called before the committee, he lacks the legal standing to keep the information private, said Georgetown University professor Mark Tushnett. Conversations between lawyers and clients, and preachers and parishioners are protected by privilege, but political strategy is not, he said.
Tushnett said the likelihood of Rove’s testifying is low, although executive privilege should not come into play because it largely covers national security issues.
“If we knew more about (Miers’) views, this wouldn’t be a big deal,” Tushnett said. “But when you deal with a base of information that is very thin, then anybody who wants information will be looking for a source for it.”
Both The Denver Post and The Gazette of Colorado Springs offered copies of the broadcast’s transcript, which Focus on the Family also provided on its website.
Here is my favorite portion of the transcript, in which Dobson both criticizes bragging about private conversations for the purpose of looking important and refers to Karl Rove by his first name (which he did throughout the broadcast):
[Dobson]: [Charles Colson] 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.
[Host John Fuller]: Sure.
[Dobson]: 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.
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 Harriet 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.
Oh well. At least Dobson doesn’t have to worry about, oh, going to jail for nearly 90 days to protect his well-placed source.