I haven’t read former White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives staffer David Kuo’s “Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction.” And I don’t plan to either. After a wounded puppy interview on 60 Minutes, accusations of short changing a concert promoter and the release of his tell-all book just three weeks before an election… I don’t need to pay fifteen bucks to a disgruntled employee to learn the old Finley Peter Dunne adage that politics ain’t beanbag.
Kuo told CBS’ Lesley Stahl that President Bush failed to deliver on some of his promises as a compassionate conservative to help to the poor through allocating funds to religious charities in a non-partisan way. He also attempts to cast unnamed White House staffers as being cynical for calling evangelicals “nuts” or “goofy,” and claims that they mocked the leaders of the Religious Right. And I read in a Newsweek interview yesterday that Kuo believes that “politicians look at any constituency with very cold eyes.”
So why not write a book about the challenges that one faces in trying to do good for other people in the name of Christianity in government work? I guess that just doesn’t sell as much as an Inside Job on the guy who actually tried to make a difference but didn’t entirely succeed. (In fairness to the White House, the office did get created in the first place and millions, not billions, were allocated over the period of time that Kuo worked there.)
Unfulfilled expectations are perhaps life’s greatest source of frustration. And sadly, I bet Mr. Kuo’s intentions were pure and admirable before he came to realize that God and Politics have a hard time working together. After all, you have to put things in perspective when you’re in the most political environment known to man and you have issues like 9/11, Iraq and Katrina. What do you think Katrina victims still living in trailers without electricity today would say about this book?
I am also surprised that Mr. Kuo is recommending that evangelical Christian voters should take a “two year fast” from politics. Because no matter how badly your own political agenda suffers, dropping out altogether is sure fire way to failure.
Perhaps Mr. Kuo is familiar with another one of Finley Peter Dunne’s famous quotes – One of the strangest things about life is that the poor, who need the money the most, are the ones that never have it.
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