I heard a little of the buzz on the sinistrosphere right after Kuo's book came out, the one that says that the Republicans are manipulating the Christian Evangelicals and don't have any high regard for them, e.g., some White House staffers referred to them as "nuts" or "kooks." The owner of the blog (name forgotten) said, "Geez, why don't they wake up to the fact that they're being used?"
Knee-jerk reaction, in other words. I thought that the Evangelicals were using the Repubs, myself, so what Kuo was saying didn't make any sense at all.
Then I saw snippets of his interview on 60 Minutes. He sat there, all oily-faced and, er, smug, I thought. Saying things like religious people should "take a fast" from politics because we're being used. He told his interviewer that religious people should be taking up causes like poverty and not necessarily strictly political things like abortion law and such.
Later, from the Laura Ingraham show on Monday, I learned that Kuo is the former deputy for the Faith-Based Initiative program in DC and a staunch conservative.
Geez, David, what gives? What's with releasing a book like this in October, right before the election, and suggesting that the religious stay home from the polls this year? Didja pull a Huffington on us? Did you "grow" into the Washington scene? Were you tired of being thought stupid by all your hip friends, so you thought you'd throw them a bone so that you could hold your head up among them?
I was most unimpressed.
This morning, again on Laura Ingraham, he defended himself. After she played a clip of his appearance on 60 Minutes, he said, "geez, could I sound any more earnest?"
Laura pummeled him lightly for allowing himself to be used by the media like this. (She knows him from before.) He defended himself by describing the content of the book and some of the events that led to his becoming a conservative and a Christian and why he's become a bit disillusioned by the political world.
It sounds like he has witnessed the collision between religious belief, which is a tender and personal thing, and the buzzsaw of politics. It isn't pretty, of course. It bothered him that when he introduced himself as Christian, people automatically assumed that he was for this and that political position, but didn't seem to relate to his more personal convictions.
He also explained that his contract with Simon & Schuster said that his book would be released in early 2007. S&S being owned by the same parent company that owns CBS. Hmm.
And he bristled at the suggestion that he had been used by the media.
But David, I'm sorry, you were. Most of the people in the country will not read your book, so they won't get the nuance of your position, which is that Christianity is about much more than politics. Well, duh. Most of us know that. Most of us aren't hip-deep in Washington politics, either, so we're not privy to how the sausage of law is made. That you're disillusioned and want to take a step back is understandable.
But that's not the message that got out. 60 Minutes doesn't do live interviews, so they can edit you however they want. And what it sounded like to me was that you had made a big Left turn and were cynically telling Evangelicals to stay home because the Republicans have snarky opinions about religious folk. (I don't doubt that, BTW. Not all Repubs are religious, and some religious people, quite frankly, deserve the "kook" label.) It seemed that you had timed the release of your book to affect the election. It sounded like you had let Washington get to you in all the wrong ways. No way would CBS have let you say anything different.
Of course, this could end up working out well after all. Monday callers to Laura's show were pissed as heck, saying that no one was going to tell them to stay home.
And I'm not staying home, either, neither did I ever intend to. Of course, I vote in Utah, so it's not like the Repubs are ever in any danger of being unseated. Orrin Hatch would have to sodomize infants in the Salt Lake temple to earn enough voter wrath to oust him, and even then the election would be close.