Monday, October 16, 2006

White House punks Christians

Occasionally, Candorville features Reverend Wilfred, a Black minister who suddenly became a firebrand Republican Bush-endorser after receiving half a million dollars from the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. As time goes on, and more evidence emerges to corroborate what Candorville has been saying since 2004, fewer and fewer people write to me to challenge the character. In the latest in the recent parade of unsurprising surprises, a new book by a White House insider details how the Bush White House manipulated and mocked religious conservatives and used the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives as a political machine. Keith Olberman covers the book, in two parts.

Part One

Part Two


Paul said...

A rather interesting piece. Lots of recitation, not much on tough questions or analysis. I was a bit amused by Mr. Olberman’s “outrage” (the Bush White house used evangelical groups and didn’t give them anything of substance in return). One would think he and the rest of us would be relieved by this startling revelation. I can’t imagine he’d be pleased if there had been a real quid pro quo. If there had been a payoff, well, that would have been a real story. As it is, it’s rather another example of high-level politics (same tune, different lyrics).

Let me see if I have this correct. A president who is seen as a “born-again Christian” gets elected. And reelected. He does this in part because a significant segment of the population also identifies themselves as “conservative Christians” and support the Republican Party. I have to ask – why? Did they feel so on the margin, so left out, so at odds with stated policy or the influence of certain groups that they felt the Democratic Party had nothing to offer other than indifference or outright hostility? If so, that’s a shame, because a significant number of committed people aligned with one party. And it does not take a significant swing in votes to win an election.

So the evangelicals threw their support to the Republican Party. Or, did a very, very, good political operator like Mr. Rove view this through a purely political lens and manage this group just as he would any other group?

So we are supposed to be shocked the religious groups were “used” for the Republicans to expand power? I’d be shocked if they weren’t. I can’t believe the evangelicals are so naïve they didn’t realize the extent of the consideration they received. Perhaps they thought half a loaf (or one-eighth) is better than no loaf.

The only one who may be naïve is the author. I guess he never figured out the difference between the basis for a solid policy appealing to a broad spectrum of the voters and window dressing to keep a minority, but significant minority, in the Republican camp. Spouses or partners who discover they’ve been used always lash out. Even when they know the score from the beginning (I’m sure all those “she’s 35 and a knockout he’s 75 and rich” couples marry for pure love).

Well, perhaps Mr. Olberman can rerun this piece in six years with a name change. I see where Mrs. Clinton (excuse me, must get the celebrity first-name-only moniker correct – “Hillary”) gave an interview to the Daily News in a dark, high-neck dress with a prominent, glittery cross displayed. Her advisors said this was nothing new…. So maybe we’ll see a realignment of evangelicals, or other, Christians to the Democratic camp.

Will Mr. Olberman be equally outraged if they don’t get something of substance in return?

The Pete said...

I didn't think Olberman was outraged that Christians got the shaft, I thought he was outraged that these people fell for this, and will probably continue to support the Bushes after this revelation. They probably will, because of another big point of Kuo's book, which is that evangelicals no longer talk about helping the poor, they only talk about divisive social issues like abortion and gay marriage.