BUSH’S TALK IS SHALLOW, BUT IS DOBSON’S?….When Bush touts the “importance” of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage today from the White House, keep in mind the rhetoric is shallow.

Though Bush himself has publicly embraced the amendment, he never seemed to care enough to press the matter. One of his old friends told NEWSWEEK that same-sex marriage barely registers on the president’s moral radar.

“I think it was purely political. I don’t think he gives a s–t about it. He never talks about this stuff,” said the friend, who requested anonymity to discuss his private conversations with Bush.

You mean Bush is insincere and will play up the amendment as some kind of empty political sop to his far-right base? You don’t say.

The same Newsweek story, however, included another tidbit that’s a little more significant.

Last month James Dobson, the influential founder of Focus on the Family, met privately with key Republicans, including Frist, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader John Boehner, to warn them about the political consequences of failing to promote issues like marriage. “If you forget us, we’ll forget you,” he said, according to a GOP House leadership aide who was briefed on the gatherings, but declined to be identified discussing private meetings.

Keep in mind, Dobson and a few of his high-profile cohorts had a similar meeting eight years ago. In 1998, he sat down with Newt Gingrich and the GOP leadership and, according to everyone who was there, Dobson threatened to leave the Republican Party unless the GOP embraced a religious-right style agenda with significantly more enthusiasm. “If I go,” Dobson said, “I will do everything I can to take as many people with me as possible.”

He was brought back into the fold, but the cease-fire was temporary and Dobson’s making similar noises now. Pretty soon, if he expects his threats to be taken seriously, Dobson may actually have to follow through.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.