Monthly Archives: December 2009

Selling The Bush Library

This arrived in my mail today.

Help President and Mrs. Bush advance the principles of freedom, opportunity, responsibility and compassion. Become a Charter Member of the George W. Bush Presidential Center today!

Really? Those are the principles the Bushes are trying to advance? Sure now that you screwed the pooch — the pooch being all of us here in this country you took down. So how do you get people to give you money for the requisite library that former presidents always build?

Just as an aside here, the etymology of screw the pooch follows: The term was first documented in the early “Mercury” days of the US space program. It came there from a Yale graduate named John Rawlings who helped design the astronauts’ space suits. The phrase is actually a bastardization of an earlier, “you are fucking the dog!” which was slang for doing something very much the wrong way. At Yale a friend of Rawlings’, the radio DJ Jack May (a.k.a. “Candied Yam Jackson”) amended this term to “screwing the pooch” which was simultaneously less vulgar and more pleasing to the ear. The term, however, did not enter the popular lexicon until Tom Wolfe used it in his book, The Right Stuff, where it was used to describe a supposed mistake by astronaut Gus Grissom.

Anyway, they begin with:

Dear Reader,

You called me dear. How sweet.

I don’t have to remind you how America was tested time and again-at home and abroad-during the eight defining years of the George W. Bush presidency.

You cannot argue with that statement. The nightly news is a grim reminder of all he did for America.

The difficult decisions President Bush made in the face of each challenge were rooted in the core principles he held throughout his years of public service-the fundamental values that have guided America since her founding: Freedom . . . Opportunity . . . Responsibility . . . Compassion.

Again, you aren’t lying there. He made difficult decisions. The wrong decisions based on his “core values.”

Now President and Mrs. Bush-with the support of many patriotic Americans like you-are taking on a new challenge. They are continuing their personal commitment to advancing these enduring principles through the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

How one might asks does a library advance principles? Are we going to see the transcripts of those energy meetings that were off limits to the public and screwed the energy pooch for your entire term of office and beyond?

The Center will uniquely integrate the records of a national archive, the thematic exhibits of a presidential museum, and the intellectual capital of a research-based policy institute to transform ideas into action.

Yes, they actually use the word intellectual in their sales pitch for a Bush Library. Is the “intellectual capital” tied to his former cronies Cheney, Rove, et al? Are they setting up an institute to try and keep all of W’s big ideas alive? And what are these ideas that they want to transform into action? Somehow they are conspicuously absent in this sales pitch.

The George W. Bush Presidential Center will continue to advance the ideals and core principles that shaped his presidency during a defining period in America’s history.

And that is the scariest sentence of all. Why would anyone left or right want that? The Republicans have tried their damnedest to distance themselves from him. Who are these Friends of Bush? Are there people out there who actually think that he could contribute anything of value to the world at this point? I’d feel sorry for him, if I didn’t despise him so much.

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