If you read nothing else that I recommend, this is important to absorb in its entirety. Pulitzer Prize-winner and former Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind on Bush's relationship with religion, truth, and the media:
Ron Suskind, who exposed the ruthless internal operations of Team Bush, tells Salon that many Republicans, too, are frightened by the White House's "kill-or-be-killed desire to undermine public debate based on fact."
It is one devil of a challenge. One man's conversation with God guides the globe and human affairs. How exactly do you frame that inside the secular writ of informed consent based on facts? I think those who are forcefully running the White House electoral machine -- and the soul of this machine is an extraordinary operation -- understand this with great alacrity.
What grade would give the mainstream press in covering Bush?
Oh, God. Let me just say that I think we have the most skillful and most energetic press corps on the planet. What they've had to wrestle with is a very evolved and eloquent operation to undercut what they do. Without giving them a letter grade, I think that everybody in the fourth estate realizes that the White House has won most victories, especially after 9/11, when they then had that to use as part of their tool kit....
You seem to have luck with Republican sources, and specifically with those from Bush's faith-based community and his advisors. Do you think they're among the most disillusioned?
Absolutely. They're among the most disillusioned because it comes from a direct, personal experience with the president of the United States.
So they thought there was a connection with Bush. They thought there would be a follow-through, that he meant what he said during the 2000 campaign?
They thought a whole variety of things, and then they saw what "is" is. And some of them were troubled by it, and some of them have been, frankly, frightened by it. These are Republicans who in significant numbers have been coming to my office. One of the jokes is that my office is now the government in exile for Republicans. They come because they're concerned -- not as members of a political party but as American citizens. That's what they say over and over. And they take not insubstantial risks to come.