A few weeks ago, we noted that Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, appeared to be quietly positioning to become one of the Right’s leading powerbrokers and had been more-or-less openly challenging James Dobson.
In that post, we mentioned that Land publicly came out against Dobson’s gracelessly obvious attempt to back Newt Gingrich while simultaneously quashing Fred Thompson’s potential candidacy. Land heaped praise on Thompson as a “Southern-fried Reagan” while saying that Gingrich cannot be trusted.
Apparently, we were not the only ones who have noticed Land’s pro-Thompson efforts:
Mr. Land said Mr. Thompson’s wife, Jeri Kehn, telephoned to thank him for a complimentary newspaper column. On Saturday, Mr. Thompson phoned to say he wanted Mr. Land present at any campaign kickoff.
In the past few election cycles, Dobson has been an aggressive campaigner for right-wing candidates. But in a recent interview with Reuters, Dobson suggested that politics is a sideline, not his primary concern:
In an interview, the founder and chairman of the influential conservative advocacy and counseling group Focus on the Family said that politics was a sideline to his real passion: helping families via his books, radio show and counseling services.
“It’s not Focus on Politics, it’s Focus on the Family,” he told Reuters at his spacious office that offer breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.
With current polls showing Giuliani leading the Republican pack, and some polls suggesting that Thompson would immediately be among the front-runners if he enters the race, Dobson could find himself increasingly marginalized as a political power broker. Lucky for him, all that political bullying and campaigning is not his “real passion.”
UPDATE: The Washington Times issued a correction to the article mentioned above, noting that it was Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder who received the call from Thompson, not Land:
This article incorrectly reported the circumstances of a phone call from former Sen. Fred Thompson and his wife about the possible launch of a presidential campaign. The call was received by Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who said, “No date or time frame was mentioned.”