Focus on the Family Misdirection

James Dobson has an impenetrable defense against recent criticisms by former Representative Dick Armey. I haven’t followed the battle closely, other than to read a few statements by Mr. Armey, so I’m not informed enough to challenge any of the direct criticisms. I suspect I could probably flesh out a rough response and be close. Happily, though, Dobson’s response doesn’t require any such knowledge. Who isn’t persuaded by this?

Armey has also implied that I am among those who favor “big government,” which is equally absurd. Anyone who knows anything about me or the organization I head, Focus on the Family, is aware that we support limited federal government consistent with the intent of the Founding Fathers.

The onus is on Armey to find a single spoken or written word that will document his claim that I am among the tax-and-spend liberals, but none exists. He can search, but he will find none. To the contrary, I served in 1986 as co-chairman of President Ronald Reagan’s Committee for Tax Reform, calling for serious reductions in federal taxation.

I hope no one falls for this, although I know many will. Dobson is clearly bending the definition of “big government” to fit his needs. Perhaps he is against tax-and-spend policies. It doesn’t matter. Anyone with a pulse understands that Mr. Armey used “big government” to imply anyone who supports unnecessary, and often times unconstitutional, intrusion into the daily lives of Americans. Sometimes that involves economic policies, but it is a lie to pretend that a push for government intrusion into social life is somehow support for limited federal government consistent with the intent of the Founding Fathers.

More fun with language:

Armey has also claimed that I opposed a trade bill that would have granted Most Favored Nation status for China, stating that I was motivated, “not by a moral compass but by the desire to increase my ‘membership and revenue.'”

What an insult! I have never taken a dime of salary from Focus on the Family in 29 years, and the organization itself has never compromised its values to enhance contributions. As for my opposition to this bill, China is a totalitarian country which was (and still is) restricting religious freedom and imprisoning many of its people who are simply practicing their faith. I had seen actual videos of prisoners being executed and then gruesomely dismembered.

Surely Dobson understands that the revenue of his organization and his own personal income are distinct items, and the Mr. Armey specifically referred to the former. This is important, as Dobson no doubt understands, because he could use increased revenue to throw his organization behind his definitely-limited-and-not-big government ideals to lobby for political action. This is a simple concept that Dobson surely understands. How conservatives respond to such ridiculous statements will be instructive.