Thursday, October 12, 2006

Having Faith

One of the evangelical advisors to George W. in his first term coined the phrase compassionate conservatism. Five years later it could be called an inconvenient Christianity. And following in the footsteps of the Foley follies this could be the blockbuster expose for fundamentalist Christians that Woodwords book was for Iraq.

More than five years after President Bush created the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, [David Kuo] the former second-in-command of that office is going public with an insider’s tell-all account that portrays an office used almost exclusively to win political points....Kuo alleges that then-White House political affairs director Ken Mehlman knowingly participated in a scheme to use the office, and taxpayer funds, to mount ostensibly “nonpartisan” events that were, in reality, designed with the intent of mobilizing religious voters in 20 targeted races. ... Nineteen out of the 20 targeted races were won by Republicans, Kuo reports.

ThinkProgress has obtained an excerpt from the book, set shortly after Bush’s 2001 inauguration:

Every other White House office was up and running. The faith-based initiative still operated out of the nearly vacant transition offices.

Three days later, a Tuesday, Karl Rove summoned [Don] Willett [a former Bush aide from Texas who initially shepharded the program] to his office to announce that the entire faith-based initiative would be rolled out the following Monday. Willett asked just how — without a director, staff, office, or plan — the president could do that. Rove looked at him, took a deep breath, and said, “I don’t know. Just get me a f—ing faith-based thing. Got it?” Willett was shown the door.

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