Sunday, October 15, 2006

Mayberry Machiavellis Exploit Evangelicals – Still

John DiIullio was the first director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives early in the Bush administration. When he quit in frustration, he accused Karl Rove and crew of promising evangelicals every kind of cooperation in order to get their votes, but delivering nothing. He called them that wonderful insult, Mayberry Machiavellis.

David Kuo was deputy director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in the second Bush administration. In 2003 he quit in frustration. In a new book, Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction, Kuo says that Rove's staff promised evangelicals every kind of cooperation in order to get their votes, but delivered nothing. To make matters worse, the Rovers were privately condescending toward conservative Christians – like Kuo – who they described as "nuts," "ridiculous" and "goofy."

In a Christian Post story, White House spokesman Tony Snow denied everything.

I don't know what Karl Rove's staff said and says about the evangelicals who vote for them, but Kuo's and DiIullio's version sure would explain why President Bush's faith-based initiative has amounted to so little after six years.


halifax said...

I have no doubts that the stories of Bush Administration condescension are true. However, where are the evangelicals to go? The elite members of the Democratic Party have been hostile to folks with serious religious convictions for some time now, and, outside of Pennsylvania (the Casey exception) and Danville, Kentucky, don’t appear to want change that situation. It is quite possible that the evangelicals will stay at home, which will benefit the Dems, but it's unlikely that they prefer Democratic government.

Stuart Gordon said...

I tend to vote for Democrats, wondering to whom else I can turn, even as I hold my nose frequently. For that reason, I can appreciate the dilemma of evangelical Christians.

I do hope, however, that all the problems with the current leadership (Hastert ignoring a predatory congressman, Abramoff and Reed and DeLay, Rove and his antics, the prevarication over and the actual use of torture, etc.) will remind my fellow Christians not to put their trust in princes. I hope that we'll all be a little more modest about which political party represents the will of God.

We humans have to choose and vote and take part in the system, which is altogether human; we need not ascribe to God a political allegiance. If God could anoint Cyrus the Persian, he can use any elected official he wants.

It's time for all Christians to stop aligning God with one party or the other.

Gruntled said...

I agree that Christians should not put their trust in princes. Given that we will have a government, and that we have some choice in it, I think that moderate Democrats are actually the best hope for Christians who want positive government. The GOP can keep courting the religious right with fiery rhetoric because they never actually deliver on it. If, for example, the president really did try to pass an abortion bill -- the kind that could really be passed -- then he would have to make compromises that would be unacceptable to his pro-life allies. Worse, though, for the long-term power of the GOP, it would prove that the over-the-top denunciations by the secular left were partly right, thus scaring off centrists.

Just as only a cold warrior like Nixon could open China, I think only a Democrat could make serious accommodations between church and state. I take Hilary Clinton's move to reduce abortion as a hopeful step and emblematic example of what I am talking about.

RightDemocrat said...

Republicans have done an excellent job of exploiting religious symbolism. Many evangelicals hold social traditionalist views along with populist beliefs on economic issues. If Democrats could move to the middle on social issues and make a good faith effort to bridge the red-blue divide, we might just become a national party again.

Gruntled said...