Catch a Falling Star

Things don’t seem to be going very well for Fred Thompson’s nascent presidential campaign.  A few weeks ago, we noted that Thompson has failed to secure the endorsement of the members of the highly influential right-wing collective The Arlington Group and now, to make matters worse, he has apparently been declared unacceptable by James Dobson:

James Dobson, one of the nation’s most politically influential evangelical Christians, this week wrote to friends that he will not support Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson.

In a private e-mail obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, Dobson accuses the former Tennessee senator and actor of being weak on the campaign trail and wrong on issues dear to social conservatives.

“Isn’t Thompson the candidate who is opposed to a Constitutional amendment to protect marriage, believes there should be 50 different definitions of marriage in the U.S., favors McCain-Feingold, won’t talk at all about what he believes, and can’t speak his way out of a paper bag on the campaign trail?” Dobson wrote. “He has no passion, no zeal and no apparent ‘want to.’ And yet he is apparently the Great Hope that burns in the breasts of many conservative Christians? Well, not for me, my brothers. Not for me!”

Thompson now joins John McCain and Rudy Giuliani as having been written off by Dobson, which leaves Mitt Romney as the last man standing among the top-tier Republican candidate and Dobson has had nice things to say about him in the past. 

In light of the attempts to anoint Mike Huckabee as the Right’s candidate of choice – or the “David among Jesse’s sons,” as Janet Folger put it – Dobson’s ultimate decision of which remaining candidate to back has the potential to not only shape the Republican presidential primary race but also exacerbate divisions among right-wing groups as they scramble to maintain their political influence heading into 2008.