White House Calls Evangelical Right "Nuts," "Ridiculous," "Out of Control," And "Goofy"
Tempting Faith claims Rove referred to evangelicals as "the nuts"
According to MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, an upcoming book titled Tempting Faith: An Inside Account of the Rise of Christian Conservatives, and Their Betrayal by the Bush White House is guaranteed to create a stir among Bush's evangelical base. According to the book's author David Kuo a self-proclaimed religious Christian and the former Deputy Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives the Bush White House used the evangelical right and its leaders for their votes with no intention of following-through with their campaign promises once elected.
Kuo's book claims that Bush's right-hand-man, Karl Rove, referred to the religious right as "the nuts," "out of control," "goofy," and "ridiculous," while recruiting them to ensure a strong turn-out in the 2004 election.
From Tempting Faith:
"National christian leaders received hugs and smiles in person and then were dismissed behind their backs and described as 'ridiculous' 'out of control' and 'just plain goofy.'"
MSNBC reports that Tempting Faith underlines how the White House "uses evangelicals for their votes while consistently giving them nothing in return." The book details how leaders, such as James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and Ted Haggard, were granted meetings and phone calls with the White House to appease them but that, according to Kuo, "the true purpose of these calls was to keep prominent social conservatives and their groups or audiences happy."
Further, Kuo says evangelical leaders were allowed to meet with Bush and attend his political gatherings when he was visiting their respective states to pad their egos. The White House awarded evangelical leaders with trinkets (such as cufflinks bearing the presidential seal) to show how influential they were.
"Making politically active christians personally happy," claims Kuo, "meant having to worry far less about the Christian political agenda."
In regard to his tenure at the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, Kuo claims that "the White House staff didn't want to have anything to do with the faith-based initiative because they didn't understand it any more than did Congressional Republicans.... they didn't lie awake at night trying to kill it, they simply didn't care."
According to Kuo, Bush even fabricated the amount the White House intended to spend on faith-based initiatives to mobilize his evangelical base. Kuo recalls one conversation with Bush where the president endorsed inflating the amount of money he planned to secure: "Eight Billion. That's what we'll tell them," said Bush. "Eight Billion in new funds for faith-based groups." Kuo claims the White House was especially interested in attracting evangelical voters with inflated promises since "the faith-based initiative.... had the potential to successfully evangelize more voters than any other."
Kuo ultimately resigned from his White House post after claiming that "there was minimal senior White House commitment to the faith-based agenda." He told Beliefnet that "from tax cuts to Medicare," Bush never cared about the "poor people stuff."
As Olbermann pointed out on MSNBC, Kuo was not alone in his frustration. His former boss also resigned from his White House post claiming that politics were king in the Bush administration.
Tempting Faith claims the White House is "mocking the millions of faithful Christians who put their trust and hope in the president and his administration. Bush knew his so-called compassion agenda was languishing and had no problem with that."
Tempting Faith is due to hit the shelves next week.
[a big Hat Tip to DefCon]