Undermining the Evangelical vote

Undermining the Evangelical vote

Last night I happened to catch “60 Minutes”’ interview with David Kuo, author of the new book “Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction” and an Evangelical who used to work in the White House’s Office of Faith-Based Initiatives.

Kuo’s premise is that the Bush administration uses Evangelical Christians for political advantage, but secretly mocks them and their leaders. He also claims that the Compassionate Conservatism agenda was an election ruse and that Bush has completely dropped the ball on it now that he doesn’t need the Evangelicals any more.

However, watching the interview I found myself quite skeptical. Don’t mistake me: I have my complaints about wasted opportunities during Bush’s 6 years in office. I think certain promises were not kept as well as they could have been and the administration has not been completely above reproach.

Yet, this interview was over-the-top. Where to begin? For one thing, Kuo claims that Bush had promised $8 billion for faith-based programs, but delivered a lot less.

Asked how much money finally went to them, Kuo says laughing, “Oh, in the first two years, first two years I think $60 million.”

“When you hold it up to a promise of $8 billion, I don’t know how good I am at math, but I know that’s less than one percent of a promise,” says Kuo.

Of course, Jim Towey, Kuo’s former boss and former head of the Faith-based Office, disputes that claim and points out that after Kuo quit after the first year of the first term, an additional $700+ million in funding was added. That doesn’t phase Kuo.

“Well, they say they tried. They say they wanted these programs. And this is the give and take of political life. And that you’re being unfair,” Stahl says.

“It all comes down to the fact that if the president wanted it, he would have gotten it,” Kuo replies.

Naive or calculating?

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
3 comments
  • It didn’t take long for the Bush Derangement Syndrome-afflicted, 9/11 Conspiracy theory wingnuts to find this post. Note which arm of Google hosts the video: Canada.

    With friends like these, Kuo doesn’t need enemies.

  • If this is October, it must be time for another Bush-bashing book review on 60 Minutes…yawn.

    Hey David Kuo, Leslie Stahl wasn’t snickering behind your back, was she?

  • Kuo did note something right over at beliefnet about how radical secularists make the Republicans look more religious than they sometimes are:

    “Secular liberal advocacy and interest groups attacked every little thing the faith initiative did. When Executive Orders were issued permitting an organization to simply display a cross or a Star of David, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State called it “a crusade to bring about an unprecedented merger of religion and government.” When we helped Boston’s historic Old North Church (of Paul Revere fame) get new windows through a historic preservation grants program at the Department of the Interior, the clamor was the same. The net effect of all the jabbering was the appearance that great progress was being made.”

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