By Will Evans, Center for Investigative Reporting
(The Secret Money blog is a joint project of the Center for Investigative Reporting and National Public Radio.)
And to think that anyone thought James Dobson would sit out this presidential race.
The Christian Right leader and his advocacy group, Focus on the Family Action, are planning a multi-state strategy to help elect McCain, and to prevent Democratic gains in Congress while they’re at it.
The group’s September newsletter spells out some nightmare scenarios it says could happen with an Obama adminisration: Supreme Court Justice Hillary Clinton; open homosexuality in the barracks; a Freedom of Choice Act invalidating all abortion limitations.
The newsletter then explains the group’s action plan for defeating Obama: 1. Harness the media with crafty “marketing ingenuity.” 2. Directly target voters “in a big way in up to 16 states with key U.S. Senate and House races.” That will include mailers, emails and “carefully targeted radio ads.”
Click on the image for the full newsletter:
For the mailers, Focus on the Family Action has prepared special messages for battleground states. In the Colorado version, for example, Dobson writes:
As a Colorado voter, you are right in the middle of one of the most important and closely watched Senate races in the country. The stakes in this contest could not be higher. If Barack Obama wins the White House—a very real possibility—the U.S. Senate will be the last defense against his liberal agenda on abortion and marriage. Sen. Obama has already promised to support the Freedom of Choice Act, which would overturn every pro-life law on abortion in the nation. He has also pledged to abolish the Defense of Marriage Act and to allow open homosexuality in our military. The only hope of stopping this radical onslaught will be a strong showing of commonsense conservatives in the Senate.
Of the Senate candidates, Dobson writes that Republican Bob Schaffer “maintained a consistently pro-life and pro-family record in Congress” while Democrat Mark Udall “established an audaciously liberal record.” An accompanying chart contrasts their views on marriage, abortion and taxes. Click on the image below to view the mailer:
Similar mailers lambast Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Democratic Senate candidates Al Franken of Minnesota and Kay Hagan of North Carolina. Still other mailers target House races in Texas, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Michigan and Florida—all with an emphasis on Obama. View them here.
It’s unclear, however, how many of these mailers will go out. The September member newsletter contains this postscript:
You should be aware that contributions have been well below budget all summer, which has put us in a position where we may have to scale back some of the plans I’ve mentioned. Your gift now, however, can still help ensure that we are able to go full force with the full plan—right up to November 4.
Dobson’s money plea, plus that suggestion of a black-robed Hillary Clinton on the high bench, constitute an admirable piece of the direct-mail writer’s craft.