Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Bush and the Amish

Another piece of evidence that Karl Rove is a genius. A taste:

"They knew we didn’t like publicity," said Amos, smiling at the recollection. "So the president met with us all in an office at Lapp’s. He shook everyone’s hand -- even the littlest ones in their mother’s arms -- and he told us all he hoped we would exercise our right and vote."

Did Bush ask them to vote for him?

"Nope," Amos said. "That’s another thing we liked about him."

Discussions - 5 Comments

I’ve read a lot of defenses of Bush’s intellect on this blog before. Why then does Rove get credit for every allegedly smart thing said or done by Bush (esp. on the campaign trail)?? Frankly, this tactic - telling them to simply vote, not vote for the candidate himself - strikes me as neither very original or indicative of "genius." Also, this isolated sentence on the 2nd page of the article just cries out for clarification and elaboration:

"Thinking of Bush’s Christian values even helped with their questions about the carnage in Iraq."

I’d really like to know HOW it helped with their questions, since the Amish don’t approve of warfare and won’t serve in the military (but, since they wish to remain separate from the non-Amish world, will also not actively protest when the government engages in war). Apparently, they’re not swayed by Bush’s rhetoric on the war against terror and evil.

The figures I’ve seen indicate that, at best, Bush scored 30% of the Amish vote in some of their communities. That’s still an impressive figure (for the Amish), but hardly represents a secure hold on the hearts and minds of these Anabaptists.

Interesting to think that a president so close with the oil industry (engines!), corporate farming and the blurring of the church-state line could woo a group that professes:

"As Amish and Mennonites, we believe that God loved the world so much that he gave his only son to die on the cross and that through faith in the shed blood of Jesus we are reconciled to God. We believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, that as Christians we should live as brothers, that the church is separate from the State, that we are committed to peace, and that faith calls for a lifestyle of discipleship and good works." (highlighting mine)

Remind me not to be facetious again. Some people just don’t get it.

...and here I’d been reading that it was liberal blue-staters who had a monopoly on elitism, arrogance, and condescension. But hey, I "just don’t get it."

I will leave you so you can return to discussions with your uncritical fans.

Thanks for the stimulating "exchange."

At the risk of getting into a long drawn-out debate over this, might I suggest that today’s liberals understand the phrase "the church is separate from the State" differently than do the Amish. Indeed, this is a principle that the Catholic Church has held to rather consistently through its history. Except that it means that religion is to be free from state interference. Nor is it difficult to understand why the Amish would support this sentiment, given that the Anabaptists were subject to official persecution from Catholics and Protestants alike. But to the modern liberal separation of church and state means that religion is to be driven from the public square, and the Amish certainly object to that.

As for the Amish commitment to nonviolence, that is of course undeniable, but if one looks at the Democratic record one finds plenty of incidents of the use of force--look how many times Bill Clinton committed the U.S. military abroad. Given that neither party is committed to the principle, should we be surprised that the Amish were swayed by other considerations, such as gay marriage and abortion?

To M. Wojciany: I’m sorry for reacting only to your first paragraph, and not to the rest of your post. Let me second John Moser’s points with respect to the other paragraphs, adding only that the church-state separationism that you seem to endorse certainly wasn’t the original intent of the First Amendment. If you wish to engage in a civil discussion with me about the meaning of the First Amendment, I’d be happy to do so privately, by email. You can reach me at or

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