Much has been made of the evangelical christian base that helped to get GWB into the White House and keep him there.
But, when Bush eventually leaves the White House, will he take that evangelical influence of our government with him?
Will the next president be prone to allowing Patrick Henry college students to intern?
Will evangelical politics hold the platform with any of the presidential contenders or with the current crop of congress?
Bush's real legacy: Faithful Conservatism
Thanks to a president with a proud and public Christian foundation, the evangelical movement will have a foothold in Washington well after Bush returns to Crawford, Texas. Indeed, the Bush White House teaches young believers how to be true to their faith within the confines of the nation’s capital.
By Hanna Rosin
Every administration imprints its spirit onto a set of young zealots. FDR created the New Deal babies, JFK brought us the Peace Corps kids. For Bush it will be the Evangelical Elites — the first generation of conservative Christians this century to become enthusiastically involved in politics.
(Illustration by Alejandro Gonzalez, USA TODAY)
The Bush administration has filled its junior staff positions with hundreds of young, hungry evangelicals. They are the executive assistants at the White House, junior press secretaries in the federal bureaucracy and interns of all sorts. Some are graduates of secular and even Ivy League colleges, but many come from the exploding number of Christian colleges. Pat Robertson's Regent University in Virginia Beach, once boasted on its website that scores of its graduates worked at the Bush White House.
They are people such as Monica Goodling, who testified at the Justice Department hearings in May, and who defied anyone's stereotype of what a young evangelical woman is like. A 33-year-old graduate of Messiah College and Regent School of Law, Goodling headed a staff of dozens, was known to send text messages at 2 a.m. and routinely referred to herself as Type A. "All I ever wanted to do was serve this president and this administration," a shaken Goodling said before she quit.
They came of age with a president who named Jesus as his favorite political philosopher, and pastors who told them it was their Christian duty to run for office. Regent's motto is "Christian leadership to change the world." Patrick Henry College, founded by home-school activist Michael Farris, wants its students to "lead our nation and shape our culture." They are the children of former Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed, ambitious, entitled and, above all, fearful of being irrelevant.
The White House has always been somewhat wary of the "nuts," as Karl Rove was quoted as calling the old guard evangelical leaders, because of their unrealistic expectations of what politics could accomplish. But for those of the younger generation, the Bush White House has served a critical role: It has operated as a finishing school, teaching them how to blend in, smooth off the rough edges, not go on and on about Wednesday night Bible study at an intern lunch. It has taught them not to behave like the old guard and not to expect that just because they had friends in the White House, they could abolish abortion tomorrow.
BTW, Hanna Rosin's book, God's Harvard, is an insightful look at Patrick Henry college, founded by evangelical christian Michael Farris, whose goal is to take over our government with like minded evangelicals.