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Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction Hardcover – October 16, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; English Language edition (October 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743287126
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743287128
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,357,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Read Tempting Faith, written by a real compassionate conservative, and weep for the loss of what could have been. Then beware of those who would manipulate genuine faith for partisan political purposes."

-- Jim Wallis, bestselling author of God's Politics

"The best kind of sermon, the most revealing and meaningful kind of testimony. At [Kuo's] call for action, you want to give [him] a loud 'amen.'"

-- The Hartford Courant

"Though Tempting Faith is a story about the Bush presidency, it is even more a story about Mr. Kuo. As much as it is a story about politics, it is also a story about faith."

-- The New York Times

"Tempting Faith is one of those rare Washington books that is worth reading -- clearly written, disarmingly honest, thoughtfully introspective, and unusually substantive.... A refreshingly honest account of how politics can seduce the best intentioned and the most naïve."

-- The American Conservative --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

David Kuo served as Special Assistant to the President under George W. Bush from 2001 to 2003. He has worked for numerous conservative leaders, including John Ashcroft, William Bennett, Jack Kemp, Bob Dole, and Ralph Reed. He is the author of the Good Morning America Book Club selection Dot.Bomb: My Days and Nights at an Internet Goliath. He currently serves as the Washington editor of the Beliefnet Web site. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Kuo was seduced by the Christian appearance of George W. Bush.
Mark Watterson
Christians trust Bush because he is an evangelical, he loves Jesus; if he says he's gonna do something, he'll do it - and if not, well, he must have had a good reason.
David J. Lin
Thank you David for the courage to put this question out there and challenge each of us in this light.
Perri Z.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

179 of 191 people found the following review helpful By elwin on October 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Kuo was a special assistant to the president from 2001 to 2003, deputy director of the White House office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Kuo writes with great clarity and sincerity.

Many will read this book for its "Gotchas" about the Bush adminstration, but it's also an excellent portrait of a life: a life devoted to serving Christ through serving fellow citizens, and attempting to serve them both through directly and through politics (yeah, yeah, render unto Caesar etc). Kuo lives his life in the question of how to best serve, and this book combines his history and his ruminations on the mixture of politics and Christianity.

I should point out that Kuo is not the first person to leave Bush's Office of Faith-Based Initiatives in disgust. That honor belongs to John J. DiIulio Jr., who described his tenure in the Whitehouse in a Jan. 2003 Esquire article famous for the phrase "It's the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis".

I have only skimmed this book so far, but I was struck by the passage where Kuo meets Hillary Clinton in a receiving line and takes the opportunity to apologize to her (earlier in the book, in order to grease the skids of fellowship, Kuo agrees with a rural sheriff that Hillary is "the AntiChrist"). he apologizes to her for his attacks: not for attacking her policies, but for "personal attacks." Hillary is taken aback, but manages to stutter out an "Okay, Okay, thank you," and later mentions Kuo's apology in a speech. Kuo is afraid his career in conservative politics is ruined, until he learns that Hillary didn't mention him by name.

Kuo started in politics working for William Bennett, and then moved to the senatorial offices of John Ashcroft.
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88 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Peter Thomas Senese - Author. on October 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is one seriously interesting commentary that clearly demonstrates that politics and religion do not mix. More importantly, author Kuo alleges that the former White House Director of Political Affairs, Mr. Ken Mehlman, knowingly used his office and government funds to mount a religious voter movement in 20 political races on behalf of the Bush Administration. In essence, by using the White House's Office of Faith Based Initiatives, which President Bush used to assist the poor, as a central point to court and manipulate the religious-right's political machine, Kuo is openly stating that the Bush Administration misused its power and overstepped its authority while betraying one of their grass-root based supporters. Equally important is the shared commentary about how certain administration members viewed the courted far right, going on to label them as the `nuts'. Overall this is a worthwhile read that must be viewed with a certain sense of reader balance and understanding that writers, regardless of the short and narrow, have subjective views that guide objective reporting.
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Format: Hardcover
By David M. Kinchen

Huntington News Network Book Critic

Hinton, WV - In his eye-opening account of a pilgrim's progress - or rather a lack of it - inside the Beltway, David Kuo's "Tempting Faith" (Free Press, $25, 304 pages) confirms to me something that I believe is obvious: Politics and religion shouldn't be mixed.

In fact, at the end of the book, evangelical Christian Kuo seems to come to that conclusion, suggesting a two-year "fast" from engaging in politics for his fellow believers, who should instead support charities that help the poor and the sick. Fasting, he points out, is an integral part of Christianity, it's good for the soul and body and Jesus was a strong believer in fasting.

The book's subtitle - "An Inside Story of Political Seduction" - tells a lot about Kuo's experiences both before and after working for the George W. Bush administration. From 2001 to 2003, he was second in command - deputy director -- at the President's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, working closely with the director of the organization, John DiIulio, and with Dilulio's successor.

As a matter of fact, Dilulio, quoted in a Dec. 4, 2002 Esquire magazine story by Ron Suskind gave more than a hint that the Bush White House was using believing Christians as part of a Karl Rove-designed scheme to secure the voting base of that group. In the article, according to Kuo (Page 219) Dilulio "critiqued the Bush White House for its lack of a serious policy apparatus. Policy wasn't made by philosophy, John said, but by politics. `There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus...'" Kuo said the article went on at "length detailing Karl Rove's perceived power.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on October 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"Tempting Faith" begins with Kuo's early life, his accepting Christianity, and gaining credibility through working for Bill Bennett, Ralph Reed, John Ashcroft, Bob Dole, and Pat Robertson.

Ultimately Kuo was also impressed by George Bush, and had the opportunity to work in the White House under John DiIulio. Kuo was particularly motivated by the opportunity to participate in Bush's promised $8 billion per year in aid for faith-based organizations (1999 speech in Indianapolis), with $6 billion coming from tax credits for donating money to groups helping the poor.

Unfortunately, the $6 billion did not materialize - it was left out of the House's $1.7 trillion tax cut bill, put into the Senate's version by Senator Grassley (assumed its omission was an error), and then removed by Conference Committee participants at the direction of Bush's Legislative Affairs Assistant.

The logic was that it was so popular it would stand on its own, and didn't want it adding to the cost of the first tax cut; besides Bush needed room later on for his next $100 billion estate tax cut, that actually ended up cutting charitable giving by an estimated $5 billion/year. Unfortunately, key Christian conservative lobbying groups focused instead on judges, abortion, stem cell research, and gay rights - not the poor. Soon Kuo realized he had become a Christian in politics looking for ways to recruit others to get their votes, not trying to serve God through politics.

Kuo and his boss then came up with the idea of assisting local threatened Republican candidates in having meetings of faith-based and community leaders regarding how best to help the poor in the area. Supposedly non-partisan; regardless, 19 of the 20 so targeted won in 2002.
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