The Corner

Still More Kuo!

One thing I find a little odd about the discussion David’s book has kicked off: Nobody has mentioned that a lot of evangelicals, and conservatives, were wary of Bush’s faith-based initiative from the beginning. Some evangelicals worried (as did I) that the work of faith-based charities would be corrupted, in both subtle and obvious ways. John DiIulio spent some time trying to refute this criticism, and so did other boosters of the initiative such as Joe Loconte. That was one reason the initiative didn’t succeed in Congress–there was a bit of a left-right buzzsaw. (It wasn’t the only reason, of course.) Yet the failure of the initiative is being presented as a simple defeat for evangelicals owing to a lack of White House effort. From skimming the book, it doesn’t seem as though Kuo covers the principled conservative opposition to aspects of the initiative very much; and that seems to me to be a serious omission in a book purporting to explain (among other things) the politics surrounding the initiative.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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