DVD review: GEORGE W. BUSH: FAITH IN THE WHITE HOUSE

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by RFCSAC627N, Oct 4, 2004.

  1. RFCSAC627N

    RFCSAC627N Guest

    By Frank Rich

    You can run but you can't hide: Oct. 5 will bring the perfect storm in this
    year's culture wars. It's on that strategically chosen date, four Tuesdays
    before the election, that the DVD of "Fahrenheit 9/11" will be released along
    with not one but two new Michael Moore books. It's also the release date of the
    equally self-effacing Ann Coulter's latest rant, of a new DVD documentary,
    "Horns and Halos," that revisits the Bush mystery year of 1972, and of an
    R.E.M. album, "Around the Sun," that gets in its own political licks at the
    state of the nation.

    When Dick Cheney and John Edwards debate in Cleveland that night, Bruce
    Springsteen will be barnstorming in another swing state, as the Vote for Change
    tour hits St. Paul. All that's needed to make the day complete is a smackdown
    between Kinky Friedman and Teresa Heinz Kerry on "Imus in the Morning."

    Of the many cultural grenades being tossed that day, though, the one must-see
    is "George W. Bush: Faith in the White House," a DVD that is being specifically
    marketed in "head to head" partisan opposition to "Fahrenheit 9/11." This
    documentary first surfaced at the Republican convention in New York, where it
    was previewed in tandem with an invitation-only, no-press-allowed "Family,
    Faith and Freedom Rally," a Ralph Reed-Sam Brownback jamboree thrown by the
    Bush campaign for Christian conservatives. Though you can buy the DVD for
    $14.95, its makers told the right-wing news service WorldNetDaily.com that they
    plan to distribute 300,000 copies to America's churches. And no wonder. This
    movie aspires to be "The Passion of the Bush," and it succeeds.

    More than any other campaign artifact, it clarifies the hard-knuckles rationale
    of the president's vote-for-me-or-face-Armageddon re-election message. It
    transforms the president that the Democrats deride as a "fortunate son" of
    privilege into a prodigal son with the "moral clarity of an old-fashioned
    biblical prophet." Its Bush is not merely a sincere man of faith but God's
    essential and irreplaceable warrior on Earth. The stations of his cross are
    burnished into cinematic fable: the misspent youth, the hard drinking (a thirst
    that came from "a throat full of Texas dust"), the fateful 40th-birthday
    hangover in Colorado Springs, the walk on the beach with Billy Graham. A
    towheaded child actor bathed in the golden light of an off-camera halo
    re-enacts the young George comforting his mom after the death of his sister;
    it's a parable anticipating the future president's miraculous ability to
    comfort us all after 9/11. An older Bush impersonator is seen rebuffing a
    sexual come-on from a fellow Bush-Quayle campaign worker hovering by a Xerox
    machine in 1988; it's an effort to imbue our born-again savior with retroactive
    chastity. As for the actual president, he is shown with a flag for a backdrop
    in a split-screen tableau with Jesus. The message isn't subtle: they were
    separated at birth.

    "Faith in the White House" purports to be the product of "independent
    research," uncoordinated with the Bush-Cheney campaign. But many of its talking
    heads are official or unofficial administration associates or sycophants. They
    include the evangelical leader and presidential confidant Ted Haggard (who is
    also one of Mel Gibson's most fervent P.R. men) and Deal Hudson, an adviser to
    the Bush-Cheney campaign until August, when he resigned following The National
    Catholic Reporter's investigation of accusations that he sexually harassed an
    18-year-old Fordham student in the 1990's. As for the documentary's "research,"
    a film positioning itself as a scrupulously factual "alternative" to
    "Fahrenheit 9/11" should not inflate Mr. Bush's early business "success" with
    Arbusto Energy (an outright bust for most of its investors) or the number of
    children he's had vaccinated in Iraq ("more than 22 million," the movie claims,
    in a country whose total population is 25 million).

    "Will George W. Bush be allowed to finish the battle against the forces of evil
    that threaten our very existence?" Such is the portentous question posed at the
    film's conclusion by its narrator, the religious broadcaster Janet Parshall,
    beloved by some for her ecumenical generosity in inviting Jews for Jesus onto
    her radio show during the High Holidays. Anyone who stands in the way of Mr.
    Bush completing his godly battle, of course, is a heretic. Facts on the ground
    in Iraq don't matter. Rational arguments mustered in presidential debates don't
    matter. Logic of any kind is a nonstarter. The president - who after 9/11
    called the war on terrorism a "crusade," until protests forced the White House
    to backpedal - is divine. He may not hear "voices" instructing him on policy,
    testifies Stephen Mansfield, the author of one of the movie's source texts,
    "The Faith of George W. Bush," but he does act on "promptings" from God. "I
    think we went into Iraq not so much because there were weapons of mass
    destruction," Mr. Mansfield has explained elsewhere, "but because Bush had
    concluded that Saddam Hussein was an evildoer" in the battle "between good and
    evil." So why didn't we go into those other countries in the axis of evil,
    North Korea or Iran? Never mind. To ask such questions is to be against God and
    "with the terrorists."

    The propagandists of "Faith in the White House" argue, as others have, that the
    president's invocation of religion in the public sphere, from his citation of
    Jesus as his favorite "political philosopher" to his incessant invocation of
    the Almighty in talking about how everything is coming up roses in Iraq, is
    consistent with the civic spirituality practiced by his antecedents, from the
    founding fathers to Bill Clinton. It's not. Past presidents have rarely, if
    ever, claimed such godlike infallibility. Mr. Bush never admits to making a
    mistake; even his premature "Mission Accomplished" victory lap wasn't in error,
    as he recently told Bill O'Reilly. After all, if you believe "God wants me to
    be president" - a quote attributed to Mr. Bush by the Rev. Richard Land of the
    Southern Baptist Convention - it's a given that you are incapable of making
    mistakes. Those who say you have are by definition committing blasphemy. A
    God-appointed leader even has the power to rewrite His texts. Jim Wallis, the
    liberal evangelical author, has pointed out Mr. Bush's habit of rejiggering
    specific scriptural citations so that, say, the light shining into the darkness
    is no longer God's light but America's and, by inference, the president's own.

    It's not just Mr. Bush's self-deification that separates him from the likes of
    Lincoln, however; it's his chosen fashion of Christianity. The president didn't
    revive the word "crusade" idly in the fall of 2001. His view of faith as a
    Manichaean scheme of blacks and whites to be acted out in a perpetual war
    against evil is synergistic with the violent poetics of the best-selling "Left
    Behind" novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins and Mel Gibson's cinematic
    bloodfest. The majority of Christian Americans may not agree with this
    apocalyptic worldview, but there's a big market for it. A Newsweek poll shows
    that 17 percent of Americans expect the world to end in their lifetime. To Karl
    Rove and company, that 17 percent is otherwise known as "the base."

    The pandering to that base has become familiar in countless administration
    policies, starting with its antipathy to stem-cell research, abortion, condoms
    for H.I.V. prevention and gay civil rights. But ever since Mr. Bush's
    genuflection to Bob Jones University threatened to shoo away moderates in 2000,
    the Rove ruse is to try to keep the most militant and sectarian tactics of the
    Bush religious program under the radar. (Mr. Rove even tried to deny that the
    wooden lectern at the Republican convention was a pulpit embedded with a cross,
    as if a nation of eyewitnesses could all be mistaken.) The re-election
    juggernaut has not only rounded up the membership rosters of churches en masse
    but quietly mounted official Web sites like kerrywrongforcatholics.com as well.
    (Evangelicals and Mormons have their own Web variants on this same theme, but
    not the Jews, who are apparently getting in Kerry just what they deserve.) Even
    the contraband C-word is being revived out of sight of most of the press: Marc
    Racicot, the Bush-Cheney campaign chairman, lobbed a direct-mail fund-raising
    letter in March describing Mr. Bush as "leading a global crusade against
    terrorism."

    In this spring's classic "South Park" parody, "The Passion of the Jew," in
    which Mr. Gibson's movie tosses the community into a religious war, one of the
    kids concludes: "If you want to be Christian, that's cool, but you should focus
    on what Jesus taught instead of how he got killed. Focusing on how he got
    killed is what people did in the Dark Ages, and it ends up with really bad
    results." He has a point. It's far from clear that Mr. Bush's eschatology and
    his religious vanity are leading to good results now. The all-seeing president
    who could pronounce Vladimir Putin saintly by looking into his "soul" is now
    refusing to acknowledge that the reverse may be true. The general in charge of
    tracking down Osama bin Laden, William G. Boykin, has earned cheers in some
    quarters for giving speeches at churches proclaiming that Mr. Bush is "in the
    White House because God put him there" to lead the "army of God" against "a guy
    named Satan." But all that preaching didn't get his day job done; he hasn't
    snared the guy named Osama he was supposed to bring back "dead or alive."

    "George W. Bush: Faith in the White House" must be seen because it shows how
    someone like General Boykin can stay in his job even in failure and why Mr.
    Bush feels divinely entitled to keep his job even as we stand on the cusp of an
    abyss in Iraq. In this pious but not humble worldview, faith, or at least a
    certain brand of it, counts more than competence, and a biblical mission, or at
    least a simplistic, blunderbuss facsimile of one, counts more than the secular
    goal of waging an effective, focused battle against an enemy as elusive and
    cunning as terrorists. That no one in this documentary, including its hero,
    acknowledges any constitutional boundaries between church and state is hardly a
    surprise. To them, America is a "Christian nation," period, with no need even
    for the fig-leaf prefix of "Judeo-."

    Far more startling is the inability of a president or his acolytes to
    acknowledge any boundary that might separate Mr. Bush's flawed actions battling
    "against the forces of evil" from the righteous dictates of God. What that
    level of hubris might bring in a second term is left to the imagination, and
    "Faith in the White House" gives the imagination room to run riot about what a
    21st-century crusade might look like in the flesh. A documentary conceived as a
    rebuke to "Fahrenheit 9/11" is nothing if not its unintentional and
    considerably more nightmarish sequel.

    copyright 2004 New York Times
    RFCSAC627N, Oct 4, 2004
    #1
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  2. RFCSAC627N

    Yazandtony Guest

    Who gives a crap.
    Yazandtony, Oct 4, 2004
    #2
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  3. RFCSAC627N

    RnR Lesnar Guest

    I feel sorry for those who are influenced by this kind of stuff regardless
    if its right or left wing propaganda. If you don't know who you're voting
    for by now based on your own beliefs and convictions, then I feel sorry for
    your lack of self thinking.


    --
    RnR Lesnar
    It's True, It's True- Kurt Angle
    Bush/Cheney 2004
    RnR Lesnar, Oct 5, 2004
    #3
  4. RFCSAC627N

    RR Guest

    RnR Lesnar wrote:
    > I feel sorry for those who are influenced by this kind of stuff regardless
    > if its right or left wing propaganda. If you don't know who you're voting
    > for by now based on your own beliefs and convictions, then I feel sorry for
    > your lack of self thinking.


    You support the dumbest president ever came to power and who failed to
    protect america on Sept., 11, 2001.
    RR, Oct 5, 2004
    #4
  5. RFCSAC627N

    Eric R. Guest

    (RFCSAC627N) wrote in message news:<>...

    > Its Bush is not merely a sincere man of faith but God's
    > essential and irreplaceable warrior on Earth.


    If that's the best God can do, I'm very disappointed.

    -Eric
    Eric R., Oct 5, 2004
    #5
  6. RFCSAC627N

    Wild Coyote Guest

    On 5 Oct 2004 06:57:38 -0700, (Eric R.) wrote:

    > (RFCSAC627N) wrote in message news:<>...
    >
    >> Its Bush is not merely a sincere man of faith but God's
    >> essential and irreplaceable warrior on Earth.

    >
    >If that's the best God can do, I'm very disappointed.
    >
    >-Eric


    rimshot

    --
    Still Howlin' at the Moon!

    Wild Coyote
    wild_coyote<AT>whoppermail.com
    Wild Coyote, Oct 5, 2004
    #6
  7. On Tue, 5 Oct 2004, Wild Coyote wrote:

    > On 5 Oct 2004 06:57:38 -0700, (Eric R.) wrote:
    >
    > > (RFCSAC627N) wrote in message news:<>...
    > >
    > >> Its Bush is not merely a sincere man of faith but God's
    > >> essential and irreplaceable warrior on Earth.

    > >
    > >If that's the best God can do, I'm very disappointed.

    >
    > *rimshot*


    Well, the blurb on the website *does* say that GWB has spent more time on
    his knees than any other president...

    swac
    Stephen Cooke, Oct 5, 2004
    #7
  8. RFCSAC627N

    RnR Lesnar Guest

    "RR" <> wrote in message
    news:L2v8d.4686$Sl2.1062@trnddc09...
    > RnR Lesnar wrote:
    >> I feel sorry for those who are influenced by this kind of stuff
    >> regardless if its right or left wing propaganda. If you don't know who
    >> you're voting for by now based on your own beliefs and convictions, then
    >> I feel sorry for your lack of self thinking.

    >
    > You support the dumbest president ever came to power and who failed to
    > protect america on Sept., 11, 2001.


    If you have the mental capacity to imagine this scenerio, what would you
    have done? The president had received information that a group out of
    Afghanistan being harbored by the Taliban was planning to destroy the world
    trade center. Bush responds by telling the public that airport security is
    going to be taken to new highs that are going to make it a royal pain to
    catch a flight, billions will be spent on upping security, and on the
    foreign front, we need to go pre-emptively invade Afghanistan and put an end
    to the Taliban and the Al-Queda camps that they harbor. I can guarantee you
    that you and everyone else that hates Bush would have been out their
    protesting saying he would be Hitler for doing that. Going into Iraq is
    exactly what you're criticizing Bush for not doing prior to 9-11.


    --
    RnR Lesnar
    It's True, It's True- Kurt Angle
    Bush/Cheney 2004
    RnR Lesnar, Oct 6, 2004
    #8
  9. RFCSAC627N

    Eric R. Guest

    Stephen Cooke <> wrote in message news:<>...

    > Well, the blurb on the website *does* say that GWB has spent more time on
    > his knees than any other president...


    The Saudis say he gives the best head they've ever had.

    -Eric
    Eric R., Oct 7, 2004
    #9
  10. RFCSAC627N

    Black Locust Guest

    In article <L2v8d.4686$Sl2.1062@trnddc09>,
    RR <> wrote:

    > You support the dumbest president ever came to power and who failed to
    > protect america on Sept., 11, 2001.


    What do you expect? The guy watches pro-wrestling for gods sake. To him,
    George Bush's broken English must come off as pure poetic genius. The
    dumb follow the dumb.

    I can only assume RnR is an acronym for "Redneck Retard."
    --
    "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we.
    They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people,
    and neither do we." - George Dubya Bush

    Vote Kerry 2004
    Black Locust, Oct 18, 2004
    #10
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