WHY NOT BRAND PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARIES?

Shhhhh. Don’t tell anyone, but George W’s pharaonic new presidential library is being funded by special interests.

Shhhhh. Don’t tell anyone, but George W’s pharaonic new presidential library is being funded by special interests.

Such as whom, you ask? That’s a secret, say the Bushites who are in charge of raising $300 million to build the thing in Dallas. The honcho of The George W. Bush Library Foundation says curtly: “It’s our decision not to disclose who the donors are.”

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That’s so Bush, isn’t it? Secrecy and executive imperiousness were central tenets of his regime, including such classic hide-and-seek games as Cheney’s secret energy task force, Bush’s executive order to withhold presidential and vice-presidential documents from public view, secret memos authorizing the CIA to use torture, the secret program of spying on millions of Americans… and on and on. Thus, it’s no surprise that Bush & Company have now decreed that we’re not allowed to “follow the money trail” into his library – even though the donors could be exchanging their cash for favors.

Not that Bush is alone in wanting to keep the public in the dark. Bill Clinton, too, refused for years to disclose who put up funding for his presidential showcase in Little Rock. He only recently gave us a list, compelled to do so by Barack Obama as a condition of appointing Hillary Clinton to his cabinet. And what a list it is, showing multimillion-dollar donations from foreign governments, corporations, and billionaires who had benefited under Clinton – and still want his influence on national policies.

Whether it’s Bush, Clinton or whomever, what have they got to hide? These are tax-deductible donations to institutions getting public support – so let the sun shine in! Besides, you’d think that corporations would see the marketing potential of attaching their logos to these libraries. It’s already good branding opportunity: “The Halliburton Bush Library,” for example. That sounds about right, doesn’t it?

“Bush library donors to be kept secret,” Austin American Statesman, January 6, 2009.

“In Clinton List, a Veil Is Lifted on Foundation,” www.nytimes.com, December 19, 2008.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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