Tuesday, February 22, 2005

I suppose everybody has heard about the "Bush tapes" by now. A family friend of the Bushes taped several private conversations he had with George W. in the late 1990s, and he has released them. The tapes were made without Bush's knowledge or consent, which is legal in Ohio, the state where they were recorded. I'm sure they're legit because they present Bush in a favorable light (he gets off a great line, saying that he reads the Bible every day "and the Bible is pretty good about keeping your ego in check"), but they weren't publicized before either the 2000 or 2004 elections, when they might very well have done Bush some good. I am also sure they're legit because the story is from the New York Times, which is not exactly a pro-Bush rag.

Those who think Bush is a right-wing caveman fundamentalist nut might want to read this passage from the Times article:

Early on, though, Mr. Bush appeared most worried that Christian conservatives would object to his determination not to criticize gay people. "I think he wants me to attack homosexuals," Mr. Bush said after meeting James Robison, a prominent evangelical minister in Texas.

But Mr. Bush said he did not intend to change his position. He said he told Mr. Robison: "Look, James, I got to tell you two things right off the bat. One, I'm not going to kick gays, because I'm a sinner. How can I differentiate sin?"

Later, he read aloud an aide's report from a convention of the Christian Coalition, a conservative political group: "This crowd uses gays as the enemy. It's hard to distinguish between fear of the homosexual political agenda and fear of homosexuality, however."

"This is an issue I have been trying to downplay," Mr. Bush said. "I think it is bad for Republicans to be kicking gays."

Told that one conservative supporter was saying Mr. Bush had pledged not to hire gay people, Mr. Bush said sharply: "No, what I said was, I wouldn't fire gays."

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