G. W. Bush would “rather talk about sex than God”.
From nine hours of secret audio tapes and from a close adviser to Bush:
“He has absolutely zero interest in anything theological – nothing.”
“We spent hours talking about sex . . . who on the campaign was doing what to whom – but nothing about God. And I tried many, many times.”
Since the 1980s, Doug Wead was a surrogate Bush family member playing various roles in Bush Jr’s life as counselor, political adviser and spiritual companion. The campaign had prepared state-by-state analysis of the electorate. “When he got the one on Texas, his eyes just bugged out.” Bush said: “This is just great! I can become governor of Texas just with the evangelical vote.”
As he and [Karl] Rove later mapped out his presidential bid, Bush faced a new problem: how to retain the support of the right-wing evangelical leaders that he privately called “wackos” ….
The answer was to expand his support for religiously based treatment for drug and alcohol abuse into “faith-based initiatives”, his signature social policy. The phrase he picked up from Wead that encapsulated this philosophy was “compassionate conservatism”.
Wead asks rhetorically, “Is it all politically calculated?”
To help Wead answer his own question, Jacob Weisberg is reviewing nine hours of secretly recorded tapes:
The tapes reveal how political the faith of George W. Bush is.
Wead said that during the countless hours the two spent talking about religion over a dozen years, they discussed endlessly the implications of attending services at different congregations, how Bush could position himself in relation to various tricky questions and how he should handle various ministers and evangelical leaders.
In Jacob Weisberg’s analysis of these audio tapes and public data about Bush – tacked in the Entertainment Section at The Times – it’s clear we’ve seen too little information about the man and his supporters.
[It]…comes at a tragic cost. A too crude religious understanding has limited Bush’s ability to comprehend the world. The habit of pious simplification has undermined the decider’s decision-making.
Major media hoodwinks us. The fibs that drew fundamentalists and too many others to vote for G. W. Bush were easy to unravel. These few years have shown us we do not receive adequate analysis of political candidates.