As we have chronicled here over the past few weeks, former Congressman Dick Armey and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson are having something of a public spat.
U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, is criticizing former House Majority Leader Dick Armey for his recent attack on Focus on the Family Chairman Dr. James Dobson.
“Since the advent of the Reagan administration, the governing majority in this country has been comprised of Americans who cherish limited government, fiscal discipline, a strong national defense, and traditional moral values,” said Pence, R-Ind. “Supporters and advocates of these principles include former Majority Leader Dick Armey and Dr. James Dobson. Both men enjoy the deserved esteem of millions for their adherence to principle and personal integrity. And both have the right to emphasize those aspects of our movement nearest to their hearts.
“But negative personal attacks have no place in public debate and no place in the conservative movement. It is simply wrong for the former Majority Leader to question the motives of a leader of Dr. Dobson’s character and integrity. It is simply wrong to refer to millions who cherish Dr. Dobson’s voice of moral clarity as a ‘gang of thugs’ and ‘bullies.’
While he served in Congress, Dick Armey co-sponsored numerous pieces of social issue legislation, like the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act and the Ten Commandments Defense Act. That is why I am now perplexed why Mr. Armey is attacking Dr. James Dobson and other social conservatives. Call me biased, but I truly believe families have no greater advocate then James Dobson and that advocacy comes from his heart with no ulterior motives. In a fundraising letter, Mr. Armey mischaracterizes Dr. Dobson’s actions while meeting with lawmakers, stating Dr. Dobson is “most interested in political power.” In my three years at FRC I have participated in almost every meeting Jim has had on Capitol Hill, and I have never seen even a glimpse of the man that Mr. Armey describes.
In the past, they had all been downright chummy when they get together for the yearly CPAC conference, but now that the Right is facing the prospect of a massive defeat at the polls, the tension between the wing of the Republican base represented by the small government/tax cuts groups like Armey’s FreedomWorks and the wing represented by social issue groups like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council is finally coming to a head – and more likely than not, the finger pointing over who is to blame has just begun.