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February 20, 2005
Judas Preacher

The New York Times ran an article today based on conversations surreptitiously taped by a one-time preacher for the Assembly of God (according to a Fox News report) between himself and George W. Bush while the latter served as Governor of Texas. Douglas Wead used the tapes to write a book about his one-time friend and also to corroborate a passage that had come under criticism. Wead allowed the Times to listen to selected passages from these tapes, of which according to the Times the President remained unaware until the Times contacted the White House.

Now, with no elections in Bush's future, nothing in the tapes released appear to damage him, and in fact show that Bush truly had concerns with the conservative urge to attack gays:

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."

But that, of course, takes a back seat to the titillating nature of Bush's comments about drug use. The Times quotes Bush as working around the notion of a direct answer to questions about his earlier drug use, attacking Al Gore's admission of marijuana use by saying that baby boomers had to "grow up" and stay on message that drug use was bad, instead of using the press as confessionals. He also noted that he had never denied using marijuana and cocaine in a context that indicated he had done so in his youth.

Perhaps some of this has historical significance. However, it pales in relation to the act of a preacher and personal friend surreptitiously taping conversations for their "historic" value and publishing them without the friend's knowledge or authorization. It's appalling, even if it does no damage to Bush, and Wead ought to have known better. These conversations had no content which could have had a higher purpose for recording, such as evidence of wrongdoing or protection of one's own safety or reputation, which would justify such betrayal. Wead says he simply would tape anyone he thinks will be famous later so he can cash in on it when his prediction turns out to be correct.

He's a disgusting piece of human slime. I suspect that Wead will get considerably fewer phone calls in the future, except from reporters who want to hear more of Wead's spying tapes. Hopefully he enjoys their friendship, as they will be the only friends he will have left.

UPDATE: Gerry from Daly Thoughts reminds me that I knew of Wead from his Arizona days, running as a Goldwater Republican, until Goldwater -- who detested Wead -- endorsed his Democratic opponent, who easily beat Wead. I lived in Phoenix when that happened.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 20, 2005 2:55 PM

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» The Bush Tapes from Getting Elected Blogline
Captain Ed of Captain’s Quarters commented on an article about conversations between Doug Wead and then Governor George W. Bush.... As I read through the conversations, I was amazed that what the President says in private tracks closely with w... [Read More]

Tracked on February 20, 2005 5:00 PM

» The Evil Priest from Flopping Aces
This is interesting. The NYT is running a article detailing a tape recording a "friend" of President Bush made. Apparently this great guy tape recorded the Pres without him knowing it. What a swell guy huh? [Read More]

Tracked on February 20, 2005 10:08 PM

» Wead The Weasel from Powerpundit
Note to friends of Doug Wead: In the future, check his briefcase and coat. He might be taping you. This "friend" of George W. Bush, who secretly taped conversations between himself and Mr. Bush, is an example of one of the most contemptible kinds of in... [Read More]

Tracked on February 21, 2005 9:27 PM

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