If you make enough self-deprecatory personal allusions, they will believe you’re sincere, despite all evidence to the contrary? It’s not as catchy a guiding mantra as that in Field of Dreams, but it seems to be the theory behind Bush’s defense of faith-based initiatives today — in speech and bullet-point White House “Fact Sheet” on the “Real Results” of Bush’s Compassion in Action. Smarting from former faith-based initiatives deputy director David Kuo’s accusations last month — that the administration had profited politically from the initiatives, but lacked real interest in helping the poor — Bush spoke this morning to 250 religious leaders, reaffirming his commitment to f.b.i.’s. But how do you know he means it? Well, you probably can’t. But you can be distracted by Bush’s willingness to show you his belly: “They [faith-based initiatives] can’t say only Methodists who drink too much can come to our program,” said Bush. “‘All Drunks Are Welcome’ is what the sign ought to say. Welcome to be saved, so they become sober.” Hey! one thinks. Bush was a drunk, and kindof a Methodist. Isn’t that charming and humble of him to remind us of his checkered past, and his personal experience of salvation. But while Bush is performing, down the street the House debates a bill that would allow federally-contracted job training programs to discriminate in hiring staff on religious grounds, and all the other assorted questions about the initiatives — like why Trenton’s included in the category — remain unanswered.