The Bush library is to be located at Southern Methodist University, and will include a right-wing think tank modeled on the Hoover Institution. The group's role will be to recruit conservative academics and historians, and "give them money to write papers and books favorable to the President's policies," an insider told the Daily News in November. "The more you have, the more influence you can exert" on history. Among the potential "mega-donors" are "wealthy heiresses, Arab nations, and captains of industry."
At the time, I wrote:
|"Compared to the subversion of our Constitution, the increased vulnerability to disaster, and the criminal slaughter of hundreds of thousands, it doesn't seem like that big a deal. But still, it's been there, in the back of our minds, ever since the moment a malicious nitwit named George W. Bush stole the American presidency. Some day, we realized, this asshole is going to have a Presidential Library."|
"The George W. Bush Presidenshal Libary," NERO FIDDLED 11/27/06
Now, there is serious opposition to the library from SMU itself. Texas Monthly senior executive editor Paul Burka has obtained a copy of a December 16 letter "from 'Faculty, Administrators, & Staff' of the Perkins School of Theology to R. Gerald Turner, president of the Board of Trustees," which is "now circulating not only on the SMU campus but also among a wider academic community, urging the board to 'reconsider and to rescind SMU's pursuit of the presidential library.'"
Burka's blog has the following excerpts:
|"We count ourselves among those who would regret to see SMU enshrine attitudes and actions widely deemed as ethically egregious: degradation of habeas corpus, outright denial of global warming, flagrant disregard for international treaties, alienation of long-term U.S. allies, environmental predation, shameful disrespect for gay persons and their rights, a pre-emptive war based on false and misleading premises, and a host of other erosions of respect for the global human community and for this good Earth on which our flourishing depends.|
"[T]hese violations are antithetical to the teaching, scholarship, and ethical thinking that best represents Southern Methodist University.
"Another matter that warrants our attention is that whether it aims to or not SMU will, in the long run, financially profit on the backs of hard-working Americans who feel squashed by policies they've now rejected at the polls. Surely it's not the case that SMU will allow itself to benefit financially from a name and legacy that globally is associated with suffering, death, and political 'bad faith.' Taken together, all these issues set decision-making about the Library in a framework of inescapable ethical questions, and remind us of a key imperative adopted by many leading universities around the globe: 'to be critic and conscience of society.'"
|"The model for a presidential library is the one right here in Austin. To Lyndon Johnson's credit, he wanted the library to be a place where, as he said at the dedication in 1971, history could be seen 'with the bark off.' Unlike other presidential libraries -- Nixon's and Kennedy's come to mind -- there is no history here of the library administration treating historians it regards as unfavorable to the president differently from historians who are favorable. Ironically, the LBJ library has probably done more to advance the reputation of its subject more than any other presidential library -- not by design, but simply by releasing his telephone tapes into the public sphere. That's the way history is supposed to work."|
IN OTHER NEWS:
Violence in Iraq is at an all-time high; approval for Bush's handling of Iraq is at an all-time low, and the Joint Chiefs are unanimously opposed to sending more troops.