Sucking up

A front-page story appeared in today's Dallas Morning News about the Bush presidential library that -- in all likelihood -- will be built just across Central Expressway from my house. The Morning News has already gone on record in an editorial hailing the Bush library as a future turning point for Dallas as an intellectual and scholarly center. Don't laugh -- it could happen. Maybe. LBJ was hardly beloved when his library opened in Austin, and it has proved to be a fat importer of money, events and authors. Not that it exactly "turned Austin around" as a university town, but you get the picture.

For its part, today's lengthy feature never mentions a) the library's estimated half-billion dollar price tag, by far the costliest presidential library in history and b) the fact that much of the money, according to the Daily News will go to building a conservative think tank, which characteristic of this secretive, punitive administration, will be dedicated, not to open scholarly research but to refurbishing Bush's place in history.

What's more, in the Morning News, a little feature sidebar on President Bush's "Key Actions" mentions a number of his more "controversial" accomplishments -- the kinds of things that the think tank is going to have to clean up, nice and shiny. But the sidebar uses such benign-sounding phrases as "protected the U.S. homeland against further terrorist attacks after 9/11," "enlarged the powers of the presidency," "authorized the surveillance of overseas telephone calls of terror suspects" and "established prisons for terror suspects in Europe and Guantanamo Bay."

Somewhere in those phrases are squeezed: Abu Ghraib, illegal renditions, the "cherry picking" of intelligence until our espionage services rebelled, torture, the Padilla case (so cynically and badly handled by the Bush justice department a conservative judge blew up at them), the opening of mail without a warrant, the stonewalling of Congressional inquiries into all of this, the failure to catch Osama bin Laden or any new terrorist cell in America, the abuse of "presidential signing statements" to undercut any law Bush disagrees with and the fact that the overseas telephone surveillance was pretty much wholesale, not targeted at specific suspects. Oh yes, and the cynical ballooning of the federal deficit.

At this rate, I don't see why we'll need that conservative think tank to whitewash the Bush legacy.

January 8, 2007 8:55 AM | | Comments (4)



Actually, that 'double-wide' that people joke about is supposed to be something like a 'bridge to the future.' I didn't think that metaphor worked (it doesn't feel particularly bridge-like), but it's still a remarkable building and surrroundings.

Point taken, however: If the Bush Library is all about the Bush Legacy, what should it look like? What am I going to have to see whenever I get on to Central Expressway headed north?

I'm trying to imagine an architectural representation of a privileged life and a closed mind ...

Recalling the opening of Clinton's library, which pays homage to his roots and historical legacy by resembling an elevated doublewide trailer, perhaps some architecture blogger should start a design contest for the George W. Bush one. What type of building would best reflect the life, legacy and personal style of this president?

Snorting bitterly? I don't think that's permitted. Neither is guffawing, snickering, tittering or Bronx cheers.

On the other hand, from this distance, we will not be able to detect a raised eyebrow or a sardonic, sadly knowing smile.

Don't laugh? Can I snort?

Bitter, local paper book review-less dem in Cali. :)


Best of the Vault


Pat Barker, Frankenstein, Cass Sunstein on the internet, Samuel Johnson, Thrillers, Denis Johnson, Alan Furst, Caryl Phillips, Richard Flanagan, George Saunders, Michael Harvey, Larry McMurtry, Harry Potter and more ...


Big D between the sheets -- Dallas in fiction


Reviewing the state of reviewing


9/11 as a novel: Why?


How can critics say the things they do? And why does anyone pay attention? It's the issue of authority.

The disappearing book pages:  

Papers are cutting book coverage for little reason

Thrillers and Lists:  

Noir favorites, who makes the cut and why



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by book/daddy published on January 8, 2007 8:55 AM.

This game's a winner was the previous entry in this blog.

For those who thought my post was unkind to PR assistants... is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.