Just a coupla white guys sitting around talking (about anything but abortion)

DobsonPodiumFew 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.

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  • Michael

    For some progressives, this the moment they’ve been waiting for. The incestuous reltionship between the religious right and the Bush administration (and Republican party) is finally exposed at its rawest and ugliest levels. Secret phone calls, hush hush assurances cloaked in code, using the cloak of “but (s)he’s a good Christian” to excuse away all sins and controversies.

    Progressives and liberals have been waiting for religious conservatives to make the “big mistake” that serves as the beginning of the end to their influence.

  • Jill

    I just listened to FOTF’s broadcast from yesterday and I can’t wait for the hearings to begin. I think Dobson’s info. (transcript) is right on, and I seriously doubt that the conversation that took place between Rove and Dobson was a “hush hush assurance cloaked in code.” Having been a resident of Dallas County for over 25 years, I think Miers will shine as a knowledgeable, quick-witted, woman of integrity, and I pray that she makes it through the “ordeal” with flying colors!

    The big mistake for our country will be the day when orthodox Christians lose their influence. We are called to be salt and light. God forbid that this should happen!

  • webwalker

    That’s nice Jill.

    Now, exactly what does this have to do with the articles that were linked?

  • http://www.herbely.com/2005/10/a_question_for_.html Herb Ely

    I disagree with this quote:”executive privilege should not come into play because it largely covers national security issues.”

    There is one national security issue that should be raised during Harriet Miers confirmation hearings. It involves the President’s war-making powers. We have a declared administration strategy in favor of preemptive strikes to prevent immanent terrorist threats. This includes contingency plans for nuclear strikes. There are just war and constitutional questions involved, particularly concerning last resort and legitimate authority. Check my website for details.

    The issue, important as it is, will not be raised. Democrats don’t want to appear weak on terrorism and Republicans won’t want to oppose the President. The churches all think that the most important pro life issues are abortion and the death penalty.

    The question could be raised in terms of what possible cases might require Justice Miers to recuse herself because of past involvement in Administration National Security decisions.

  • http://www.getreligion.org/?p=2 Douglas LeBlanc

    I have no trouble with Jill offering her thoughts on the Miers nomination, and please note that one of her sentences referred to Dobson’s transcript.

    God help us if we ever get to the point on this blog that every comment must in some way relate to the links in a post. I would find that environment suffocating, and I trust that many of our readers would as well.

  • Stephen A.

    I’m still waiting for a good report on the incestuous relationship between Bill Clinton and the religious left, who gave him moral permission to lie and fornicate in the White House.

    And has the president’s war-making powers even come before the court? Ever?

    If not, then it should not and will not be raised and would likely not be. Besides, it’s unlikely to be raised by those very Senators who voted FOR the war, since that would again bring up that embarassing point.

  • Michael

    Did Bill Clinton ask for the religious left’s blessing before naming a Supreme Court justice and ask them to offer “we know, but we can’t talk about it” support?