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Big doings in Big D – the George W. Bush Presidential Library, Museum & Institute has opened with elaborate fanfare!
And what a piece of work it is: a $250-million, 226,000-square-foot edifice on 15 acres. Never has something so large been built to contain something so small, namely the thoughts and record of achievements by this two-term president.
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His brick-and-limestone structure is certainly imposing, but once inside, you quickly see that it’s a $250-million can of whitewash. Of course, all ex-presidents want libraries that show their good side, and Bush himself was organizer-in-chief of this monumental altar to… well, to himself. What’s most striking is not what’s in it, but what’s not.
For example, where’s that “Mission Accomplished” banner that he used as a political prop in May 2003, when he strutted out so fatuously on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln wearing a flight suit to pretend like he had won the Iraq war? And how about a video loop of him finally showing up in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, cluelessly praising his infamously-incompetent emergency management honcho with the now-notorious shout-out: “Heck of a job, Brownie”?
Also, while there are 35 featured videos, a replica of W’s oval office, narrated presentations by top Bush officials, and even statues of the family dogs – where’s Cheney? Shouldn’t there be an animated exhibit of “The Vice” in his dark chamber, scheming to shred our Constitution and set up an imperial presidency? Another essential element of George’s tenure that goes unportrayed here could be called, “The Dead Garden of Compassionate Conservatism.” Wouldn’t that have made an informative walk-through for school children?
Why spend $250 million, when they could’ve said it all with a $25-a-gallon can of whitewash?