"Like all great satire, the book is cerebral, irreverent and hilarious, while also edifying" Publisher's Weekly
"This book is hilarious... [Lanham] didn't skimp on his research. The book provides a telling overview of the religious right's leadership, the beliefs they espouse, and just how incredibly absurd and hypocritical they are." The Campaign to Defend the Constitution
Editor's Pick: "From the author of The Hipster Handbook comes this irreverent navigation of all things Evangelical. Learn enough slang to fit in at a church picnic or why SpongeBob SquarePants is an agent of the Devil" Chicago Sun-Times
"This guy has written quite a funny book." Alan Colmes, Fox News
"A funny book with some funny cartoons on everyone from Rick Warren as the evangelical Jimmy Buffett to a guide for Christian haircuts that is hilarious... I was chuckling until I saw that I am the postscript" Mark Driscoll, pastor of the largest megachurch in Washington State
"Every good little liberal will have this book on order as a stocking stuffer come Jesus' birthday." Time Out
"A handbook for coping with bible thumpers.... When considering the power and influence evangelical Christians wield in this country, you have to laugh to keep from crying. Robert Lanham... understands this well and offers much needed, totally biased comic relief." Village Voice
"Not only is this an important book, it's a funny book." Marc Maron, Air America Radio
"Author Robert Lanham is an observer... but with his latest, The Sinner's Guide to the Evangelical Right, Lanham's keen eye has hit perhaps his most entertaining target." Metro Paper
"It’s hard to remember a more pointed and scathing attack… Lanham launches a focused, sustained barrage on the Pat Robertsons and James Dobsons of the world… He’s done his homework. The book is thoroughly researched and packed with quotes and analysis of the famous and not-so-famous leaders of the evangelical right… the research is truly impressive. " The Reader
"An utterly biased, humorous one-stop guide to the major evangelical players." Details
"Check out Robert Lanham's (author of the fabled Hipster Handbook and former Bible Belt resident) Sinner's Guide to the Evangelical Right. It's funny because it's true." Elizabeth Spiers, founding Editor of Gawker
"Like the Daily Show or The Colbert Report, it's humor reveals the basic truth. Which is to say that the "sinners" of the world may be closer to Jesus and the divine than those who use God's name for personal enrichment, power building, and political gain." Buzzflash
"The book does for religion what Jon Stewart does for politics." CanWest News Service
"Informative, laugh-out-loud funny and horrifying at times, check out this snide, leftie-geared guide to the major evangelical players... Robert Lanham has a writing style that resembles... McSweeney's, and the irony-stacked humor of TV programs such as "The Daily Show" Style Weekly, Richmond VA
"Hilarious... go out and buy this book now." Sam Seder, The Majority Report
"This book should lay at the lifeless feet of your corpse as a silent, yet
powerful and all encompassing explanation as to why you took your own life."
David Cross, Arrested Development
There’s been a lot of talk about the tantalizing announcement of Thomas Pynchon’s new novel, “Against the Day,” coming later this month. But let me draw attention to a throwaway line from the one-page excerpt in the publisher’s catalog that may have escaped your notice. “It’s O.K, we’re open-minded,” says the leader of a gang interrupted in the midst of a robbery; “couple boys in the outfit are evangelicals.”
The setting is Colorado in 1899, but Pynchon has his eye on the present. And part of the job of a writer in 2006, so it seems, is to comment on evangelicals or “conservative Christians” more generally, the way that many writers in the late ’60s and early ’70s -- novelists, poets, cultural critics, anyone whose opinions regularly appeared in print -- felt obliged to weigh in on blackness, often with embarrassing results.
In their fictional guise, evangelicals and their kin -- fundamentalists, Pentecostals and all manner of weird cultists calling fervently on the name of Jesus -- are usually side characters, rarely protagonists, except, of course, in the alternative universe of so-called Christian fiction, where all the protagonists are evangelicals, and in coming-of-age stories in which a youthful protagonist attains enlightenment and leaves faith behind. Sometimes these fictional evangelicals are ominous figures: glassy-eyed pro-lifers hellbent on murdering doctors and bombing abortion clinics, or charismatic psychopaths like the villain in Henning Mankell’s “Before the Frost,” who is mentored by Jim Jones of Jonestown fame. Mostly, though, they are drawn in broadly satiric strokes (see for example the “moaners” of the First Resurrectionist Maritime Assembly for God in Carl Hiaasen’s new novel, “Nature Girl”). Charmless, ignorant, homophobic and either brazenly hypocritical or obnoxiously sincere, they quote Scripture unctuously and have bad sex.
“Darwin,” muses a clueless Pentecostal mother in Kelly Kerney’s novel “Born Again.” “Isn’t that the guy who thinks God is a monkey?”
A reader who moves from the fiction shelf to the stacks of reportage and commentary may experience cognitive dissonance. The evangelical buffoons who populate so many novels these days seem hardly capable of organizing a local witch-burning, yet their nonfictional counterparts are said to be on the verge of turning these United States into a theocracy. (See, for starters, Kevin Phillips’s “American Theocracy” and Michelle Goldberg’s “Kingdom Coming.”)
The Rev. Dan Burrell of Charlotte's Northside Baptist Church has lost faith in politics. Two years ago, Burrell, an outspoken Christian conservative, registered voters, distributed Christian Coalition voter guides and urged the 3,000 members of his church to the polls.
Not this year.
Burrell said his disillusionment with the national Republican Party -- sparked by the war in Iraq, the Mark Foley scandal, and lagging action on conservative social issues -- won't stop him from voting.
But his extra effort these days is focused on saving souls, not electing politicians.
"In terms of major get-out-the-vote campaigns, frankly, we're going to be focused more on the work of the Gospel and ministering to our local community," he said.
As Election Day looms, political activists are eyeing Burrell and others like him, trying to perform a critical election-year calculation: Will the religious right turn out as strongly as in the past?
The question is an especially important one for Republicans fighting to maintain control of Congress. The party credited Christian conservative turnout two years ago as a major factor in President Bush's re-election. Their votes could prove decisive this year in an election that Democrats -- motivated by years of losses -- are eager to win.
"They are the bulwarks that the Republicans have against really catastrophic losses," said Matthew Wilson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "If Republicans are going to hold on to really either house of Congress, it's going to be important on Election Day that conservative religious voters ... turn out in significant numbers." READ IT ALL
October 29, 2006
Andrew Sullivan: "The backwoods folk are beginning to doubt Bush"
... The party’s strategy, after all, has long been not to persuade moderate, suburban America, but to register, organise and mobilise millions of rural evangelical voters who had not voted in large numbers since the 1920s.
Issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage brought these voters to the polls and made the difference. Without them in Ohio in 2004, John Kerry would now be president. The Republicans also gerrymandered their constituencies to ensure these voters were spread around enough to provide narrow margins of victories across the country. The victories were always close ones, nonetheless.
Until recently the rural evangelicals have stuck with the president, in part to honour the fallen, and out of admirable patriotism and trust. It is hard to believe that your son or daughter died or is permanently crippled for a bungled cause. But if the facade cracks, if these rural voters begin to believe they have been misled, then the rock-solid patriotic support could become something else. It would not, in my judgment, fade into indifference. It could turn into rage. READ IT ALL
October 22, 2006
Poll shows GOP in danger of losing a big chunk of their base
If the elections for Congress were held today, according to the new NEWSWEEK poll, 60 percent of white Evangelicals would support the Republican candidate in their district, compared to just 31 percent who would back the Democrat. To the uninitiated, that may sound like heartening news for Republicans in the autumn of their discontent. But if you’re a pundit, a pol, or a preacher, you know better. White Evangelicals are a cornerstone of the GOP’s base; in 2004, exit polls found Republicans carried white Evangelicals 3 to 1 over Democrats, winning 74 percent of their votes. In turn, Evangelicals carried the GOP to victory. But with a little more than two weeks before the crucial midterms, the Republican base may be cracking. READ IT ALL
October 20, 2006
NPR's 'All Things Considered': Evangelicals and the Vote
If you missed MSNBC's Countdown last night, the above is essential viewing. We documented the highlights and an overview here.
ThinkProgress just printed another excerpt from Tempting Faithwhich is the subject of the MSNBC report aboveset just prior to 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 fucking faith-based thing. Got it?” Willett was shown the door.
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."
Secular Groups Losing Funding Amid Pressure From Religious Right
This is one of the most infuriating articles we've read in a while. From Boston Globe [hat tip Defcon]
For six decades, CARE has been a vital ally to the US government. It supplied the famed CARE packages to Europe's starving masses after World War II, and its work with the poor has been celebrated by US presidents. So the group was thrilled when it received a major contract from the Bush administration to fight AIDS in Africa and Asia.
But this time, instead of accolades came attacks. Religious conservatives contended that the $50 million contract, under which CARE was to distribute money to both secular and faith-based groups, was being guided by an organization out of touch with religious values.
Senator Rick Santorum , a Pennsylvania Republican, charged last year that CARE was "anti-American" and "promoted a pro-prostitution agenda." Focus on the Family, the religious group headed by James Dobson , said the agency that delivered the contract, the US Agency for International Development, was a "liberal cancer."
The complaining paid off. CARE's $50 million contract is being phased out this year; it has been replaced with a $200 million program of grants that is targeted at faith-based providers, and overseen by USAID itself. READ IT ALL
Lynn Sunde, an evangelical Christian, is considering what for her is a radical step. Come November, she may vote for a Democrat for Congress.
Sunde, 35, manages a coffee shop and attends a nondenominational Bible church. "You're never going to agree with one party on everything, so for me the key has always been the religion issues -- abortion, the marriage amendment" to ban same-sex unions, she said.
That means she consistently votes Republican. But, she said, she is starting to worry about the course of the Iraq war, and she finds the Internet messages from then-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) to teenage boys "pretty sickening." When she goes into the voting booth this time, she said, "I'm going to think twice. . . . I'm not going to vote party line as much as to vote issues."
Even a small shift in the loyalty of conservative Christian voters such as Sunde could spell trouble for the GOP this fall. In 2004, white evangelical or born-again Christians made up a quarter of the electorate, and 78 percent of them voted Republican, according to exit polls. But some pollsters believe that evangelical support for the GOP peaked two years ago and that what has been called the "God gap" in politics is shrinking.
A nationwide poll of 1,500 registered voters released yesterday by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that 57 percent of white evangelicals are inclined to vote for Republican congressional candidates in the midterm elections, a 21-point drop in support among this critical part of the GOP base.
Pastors Blatantly Defying The Law To Get Out The Vote For The GOP
Rev. Rick Scarborough, the Patriot Pastor
The LA Times has a great overview of what's currently going on:
With a pivotal election five weeks away, leaders on the religious right have launched an all-out drive to get Christians from pew to voting booth. Their target: the nearly 30 million Americans who attend church at least once a week but did not vote in 2004.
Their efforts at times push legal limits on church involvement in partisan campaigns. That is by design. With control of Congress at stake Nov. 7, those guiding the movement say they owe it to God and to their own moral principles to do everything they can to keep social conservatives in power.
Leaving services Sunday morning at Faith Bible Chapel, an evangelical megachurch, Jim McBride, a pilot who served in Vietnam, said he was not happy with President Bush’s handling of Iraq. And he displayed little inclination to rethink his position despite the White House’s new push to focus this year’s Congressional elections on which party will keep the nation safer.
“I do have a bit of mistrust,” said Mr. McBride, who said that he twice voted for Mr. Bush but that he is now disappointed -- a sentiment he said is shared by many in his Bible study group. “The whole thing about W.M.D. and that Iraq is somehow tied to 9/11, I just don’t believe it.”
Mr. Bush has plenty of supporters in this Denver suburb and the surrounding cities, an evenly divided swing district that is a bellwether in the battle for control of the House. But interviews over the last three days here found Republicans, Democrats and independents all expressing degrees of skepticism about Mr. Bush’s motives in delivering a set of high-profile speeches on terrorism and the war in Iraq two months before Election Day.
While it is too early to know whether the White House will succeed in winning over enough voters to make a difference in what is shaping up as a tight race, the interviews suggested that Mr. Bush’s newest efforts to cast his party as better suited than Democrats to defend the country had yet to overcome concern and anger among many voters about Iraq and a more generalized sense of discontent with the administration.
“I have been a Republican all my life, but we have just gotten to the point where we may need a change,” said Shannon Abote, an Arvada resident who was stopping at Starbucks for a coffee on Monday morning.
In a lengthy interview with Florida Baptist Witness, struggling U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris asserts, among other things, that the separation of church and state is a fallacy.
"We have to have the faithful in government and over time," the Witness quotes Harris as saying, "that lie we have been told, the separation of church and state, people have internalized, thinking that they needed to avoid politics and that is so wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers."
Excerpted answers from the interview follow:
On civil rights for gays: "Civil rights have to do with individual rights and I don't think they apply to the gay issues. I have not supported gay marriage and I do not support any civil rights actions with regard to homosexuality."
When asked if abortion is a moral evil: "Yes. Because it's a life, it's a life. Life begins at conception."
Stem cell research: "I'm the only candidate in the primary or general who's voted against embryonic stem cell research and has voted for cord blood research and adult stem cell research. ... There are no successes for embryonic. That is why the private sector is not involved and there is no justification for taking a live embryo and destroying it."
Regarding the Florida primary: "Florida is the forerunner state. ...[W]hat happens in Florida sets the trend for what happens nationally. And with this election, if Bill Nelson wins, it’s going to be a very frightening proposition in 2008 in the presidential elections because whoever wins Florida will win the presidency."
The least known but one of the most eagerly courted, screening committees for the next G.O.P. presidential nominee met recently in Colorado Springs, Colo., amid the panoramic opulence of the Broadmoor Hotel and Resort. The four-day meeting of affluent Evangelicals was billed as a "summer family retreat," and the kids rode ponies and played water sports while their folks chewed over immigration and gay marriage. The political group, called Legacy, aims for mystique: it has received no media attention and is unknown even on the Web. Yet all the marquee '08 Republican candidates have spoken to Legacy or met with its founders, having come to regard the group as a prime audience in these early days of raising money and trying to conjure momentum. "If you're running for President," said a close associate of President George W. Bush's, "it is the place to go." One of the group's first projects: supplying cash and ground troops to help South Dakota's John Thune beat Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle in 2004. Thune, a presidential prospect, electrified the Broadmoor audience, which also heard from Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn of Texas.
The U.S. Senate approved a plan yesterday to transfer land beneath the Mount Soledad cross to the federal government, bolstering supporters who have been fending off efforts to remove the monument for nearly two decades.
The Senate's unanimous vote sent the cross-transfer plan to President Bush, which he is expected to sign. It creates what some consider an entirely new dynamic in the battle over the cross at the Mount Soledad war memorial, though others say the action is another hopeless attempt to preserve a symbol on city land that courts have said unconstitutionally favors one religion over others.
James McElroy, the attorney representing Philip Paulson the Vietnam War veteran and atheist who filed a lawsuit over the Mount Soledad cross in 1989 said the bill is “still unconstitutional.” [...]
“I guess the Senate has a short memory,” he said. “You've got a local issue here. What business does the federal government have getting involved?” [read it all]
July 26, 2006
Holy Toledo: The Religious Right In Ohio
Rod Parsley, an important evangelical force in Ohio
The New Yorker has an essential article on the religious right in Ohio. Theocrats like megachurch pastor Rod Parsley are working hard to convert and register Ohio voters. And as the New Yorker underlines: "The road to the White House in ’08 runs through Ohio in ’06... Since 1900, Ohio has voted for the winner in twenty-five of the twenty-seven Presidential elections."
This article, which discusses voting irregularities and Ohio's key rightwing players, is essential reading: [From the New Yorker]
Pastor Rod Parsley stood on a flag-bedecked dais on the steps of Ohio’s Statehouse last October and, amid cheers from the crowd below, proclaimed the launch of “the largest evangelical campaign ever attempted in any state in America.” A nationally known televangelist and the leader of a twelve-thousand-member church on the outskirts of Columbus, Parsley had gathered a thousand people for the event, and attracted bystanders with a multimedia performance involving a video on a Jumbotron and music by Christian singers and rappers broadcast so loud that it reverberated off the tall buildings south of the Statehouse. TV crews from Parsley’s ministry taped the event. “Sound an alarm!” he boomed. “A Holy Ghost invasion is taking place. Man your battle stations, ready your weapons, lock and load!” In the course of the performance, Parsley promised that during the next four years his campaign, Reformation Ohio, would bring a hundred thousand Ohioans to Christ, register four hundred thousand new voters, serve the disadvantaged, and guide the state through “a culture-shaking revolutionary revival.”
Among those who spoke at the rally were Senator Sam Brownback, of Kansas, and Representative Walter B. Jones, of North Carolina, both Christian conservatives, and J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio’s secretary of state, who is now the Republican nominee for governor. All talked about the need to bring God and morality back into government. “We refuse to give up or back up or shut up until we’ve made a better world for all,” Blackwell said. [continue reading]
July 20, 2006
I Pledge Allegiance To The Jesus Flag
Yesterday, the House passed a bill that will shield "activist judges" from removing "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance. [From the AP]
The House, citing the nation's religious origins, voted Wednesday to protect the Pledge of Allegiance from federal judges who might try to stop schoolchildren and others from reciting it because of the phrase "under God." [...]
"We should not and cannot rewrite history to ignore our spiritual heritage," said Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn. "It surrounds us. It cries out for our country to honor God."[...]
The pledge bill would deny jurisdiction to federal courts, and appellate jurisdiction to the Supreme Court, to decide questions pertaining to the interpretation or constitutionality of the pledge. State courts could still decide whether the pledge is valid within the state.
Ironically, evangelicals and lawmakers keep driving home the point that we need to be true to our "spiritual heritage," ignoring the fact that there is no mention of God in the original Pledge of Allegiance. Or, for that matter, in the Constitution.
[From Slate] The pledge was written in 1892 by the socialist Francis Bellamy, a cousin of the famous radical writer Edward Bellamy. He devised it for the popular magazine Youth's Companion on the occasion of the nation's first celebration of Columbus Day. Its wording omitted reference not only to God but also, interestingly, to the United States:
"I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
The key words for Bellamy were "indivisible," which recalled the Civil War and the triumph of federal union over states' rights, and "liberty and justice for all," which was supposed to strike a balance between equality and individual freedom. By the 1920s, reciting the pledge had become a ritual in many public schools...
The efforts to bring God into the state reached their peak during the so-called "religious revival" of the 1950s. It was a time when Norman Vincent Peale grafted religion onto the era's feel-good consumerism in his best-selling The Power of Positive Thinking; when Billy Graham rose to fame as a Red-baiter who warned that Americans would perish in a nuclear holocaust unless they embraced Jesus Christ; when Secretary of State John Foster Dulles believed that the United States should oppose communism not because the Soviet Union was a totalitarian regime but because its leaders were atheists.
Hand in hand with the Red Scare, to which it was inextricably linked, the new religiosity overran Washington. Politicians outbid one another to prove their piety. President Eisenhower inaugurated that Washington staple: the prayer breakfast. Congress created a prayer room in the Capitol. In 1955, with Ike's support, Congress added the words "In God We Trust" on all paper money. In 1956 it made the same four words the nation's official motto, replacing "E Pluribus Unum." Legislators introduced Constitutional amendments to state that Americans obeyed "the authority and law of Jesus Christ." [read it all]
It's deja vu all over again.
July 17, 2006
Bush Uses a Very Un-Jesusy Word
And the BBC has it on tape: "What they need to do is to get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit.” (hat tip Wonkette)
1) The greatest threat to religious freedom in America, are secular fundamentalists who want to ghetto-ize religious faith and make the wall of separation between church and state a prison wall keeping religious voices out of political discourse.
A. George W. Bush
B. Robert Byrd
C. Richard Land
E. Pat Robertson
As the congregation of the World Overcomers Outreach Ministries Church looked on and its pastor, Apostle Alton R. Williams, presided, a brown shroud much like a burqa was pulled away to reveal a giant statue of the Lady, but with the Ten Commandments under one arm and "Jehovah" inscribed on her crown.
And in place of a torch, she held aloft a large gold cross, as if to ward off the pawnshops, the car dealerships and the discount furniture outlets at the busy corner of Kirby Parkway and Winchester that is her home. A single tear graced her cheek.
It was not clear if she was crying because of her new home, her new identity as a symbol of religion or, as the pastor said, America's increasing godlessness. But although big cheers went up from the few hundred onlookers at the unveiling, and some people even wore foam Lady Liberty crowns bearing Christian slogans, she was not universally welcomed.
Sponsor of Ten Commandments Bill Can Only Name Three
Republican Congressman Lynn Westmoreland was on The Colbert Report last night and in a priceless moment flaundered when Colbert asked him to list the Ten Commandments. He could only come up with three:
here's the Transcript: Colbert: You have not introduced a single piece of legislation since you entered Congress. Westmoreland: That's correct. Colbert: This has been called a do nothing Congress. Is it safe to say you're the do nothingest? Westmoreland: I, I, ..Well there's one other do nothiner. I don't know who that is, but they're a Democrat. Colbert: What can we get rid of to balance the budget? Westmoreland: The Dept. of Education. Colbert: What are the Ten Commandments? Westmoreland: You mean all of them?--Um... Don't murder. Don't lie. Don't steal Um... I can't name them all.
June 15, 2006
Evangelical, 'Axis of Evil' Speechwriter Due to Step Down
[From WaPo] Since first joining the presidential campaign as chief speechwriter in 1999, Gerson has evolved into one of the most central figures in Bush's inner circle, often considered among the three or four aides closest to the president. Beyond shaping the language of the Bush presidency, Gerson helped set its broader direction.
He was a formulator of the Bush doctrine making the spread of democracy the fundamental goal of U.S. foreign policy, a policy hailed as revolutionary by some and criticized as unrealistic by others. He led a personal crusade to make unprecedented multibillion-dollar investments in fighting AIDS, malaria and poverty around the globe. He became one of the few voices pressing for a more aggressive policy to stop genocide in Darfur, even as critics complained of U.S. inaction.
"He might have had more influence than any White House staffer who wasn't chief of staff or national security adviser" in modern times, said William Kristol