On NBC's Today show Monday, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said "everybody knows" President Bush is pandering on gay marriage, but evangelicals like James Dobson don't care why Bush is moving on gay marriage -- only that he is doing it. "Everybody knows the President is pandering -- including the President's base," Scarborough said.
Host: Why is the President attacking gay marriage now?
Scarborough: Because he's at 29% and he needs his base. The president is not at 29% because moderates and liberals are abandoning him. He's at 29% because conservatives abandoning. If he gets that conservative base back, he sees his poll numbers going in the low 40's.
But the President's biggest danger this fall -- when we come to mid term elections -- is not evangelical voters going out and voting for Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party. It's that they will stay home. This give them a reason to go out and there are lot of people that say this is cynical. The New York Times mocking it this morning in an editorial but it will work. It worked in 2004 in a lot of states. It's on the ballot in 6 states coming up. It's going to work again in 2006. It generates this evangelical base that helps George Bush and conservative Republicans get elected.
Host: But the New York Times... said that, quote, "It was depressing in the extreme to hear the Chief Executive trying to pretend, at this moment in American history, that this was a critical priority." We heard from Joe Biden on Meet the Press on Sunday say that, talking about Gay Marriage, without any real plans to deal with real problems Americans face including National Security and the energy crisis really causes a lot of people a lot of concern. Do you think that the president is maybe taking any risks in the strategy that you say will work?
Scarborough: Well, he may lose some votes on the New York Times Editorial board but they were never for him anyway. Of course, at the same time, the editorial points out -- Where is gay marriage accepted? San Francisco with a mayor out there. Whose going to be the next Speaker of the House if the Democrats take over? Nanci Pelosi.
This is all part of a bigger plan to scare Americans. They're going to use what Howard Dean talked about back in the 2004 campaign: "God, Gays and Guns." They're going to drive the base out. It's worked in the past and it will work again this year. If The New York Times doesn't like it -- If the Democrats in Congress don't like it -- The President doesn't care. In fact, the best thing that could happen for the President is that the Democrats come out unified against it and vote it down. So, the President can finally say, "See? There is a difference between Republicans and Democrats. Forget spending. Forget immigration. Forget all of these issues that we've offended you on, conservatives. This proves we're different."
Everybody knows the President is pandering -- including the President's base. You know, everybody likes to think of Evangelicals as bare footed in tent revivals but they know exactly what the president is doing. James Dobson is one of the smarter guys I've ever met. He told the President, "If you want our votes, you're going to have start acting like a conservative on these issues." So, they know why he's doing it. They don't care why he's getting involved in this debate. They just want him involved and if it took him being at 29% then they say, "Good."
Correction: Joe Scarborough is a host at MSNBC, not Fox News.