DALLAS — President Obama has left little mystery about how he views his predecessor. “The failed policies of George W. Bush” wiped away a budget surplus and “squandered the legacy” of bipartisan foreign policy. Mr. Bush put two wars “on a credit card,” led the country away “from our values” and “crashed the economy."
But Mr. Obama will surely say none of that when he helps dedicate the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on Thursday. Addressing a crowd of Bush supporters and administration veterans, the 44th president will no doubt extoll the virtues of the 43rd president and praise his years of service to the country.
It has become an awkward ritual of the modern presidency that the current occupier of the Oval Office is called upon to deliver a generous historical judgment of the previous tenant. With the opening of each new presidential library, the members of the world’s most exclusive fraternity put aside partisan differences to honor the shared experience of running the nation in difficult times.
More than four years after leaving office, former President George W. Bush has a question for America: So what would you have done?
In a new brick-and-limestone museum, visitors to an interactive theater will be presented with the stark choices that confronted the nation’s 43rd president: invade Iraq or leave Saddam Hussein in power? Deploy federal troops after Hurricane Katrina or rely on local forces? Bail out Wall Street or let the banks fail?
OK, included "Laura Bush" as one of the topics, can we now please delete that one Blake?
Of about 250 bundlers who raised more than $500,000 — counting couples or business associates as one unit — 21 were from Chicago or the suburbs and none were from Obama’s native state, which has been publicly angling for the library. The University of Chicago is waging a covert bid. See the list of Obama’s Illinois super-bundlers at the end of the column; the fourth-quarter list had no local surprises.
Presidential libraries serve as official cultural repositories for the legacies of their namesake commanders in chief. More than 200 years after his death, it's hard to believe that the country's first president, George Washington, still lacks a library devoted to his remarkable life.
Mount Vernon, the Virginia home of Washington, has spent the last several years raising $100 million to construct an official library on its scenic grounds. Organizers announced on Friday — just in time for Presidents Day weekend -- an opening date of Sept. 27.
Former President George W. Bush and the Bush Foundation have worked closely with SMU to make this center – comprised of the library, museum and independent institute – a reality. Bush and former First Lady and alumna Laura Bush, both Dallas residents, have been very active and visual in their support of the center’s presence at SMU.
Both have attended ceremonies, participated in symposia and, in Bush’s case, “dropped by” political science and journalism class lectures.
However, not all reactions to the center have been positive.
I'd Rather Go To Hawaii.
“I want to raise the alarm because I think a presidential museum will inevitably become our university’s highest-profile institution on a national basis,” Political Science Professor Charles Lipson said. “It will not be a disinterested, scholarly institution. It will be advancing a political agenda, funded by President Obama’s political allies, including foreign donors who cannot give money to his presidential campaigns.”
The University of Hawaii has waged a more public campaign to land Obama’s library. The state’s legislature passed a resolution encouraging Obama to put the library in the tropical paradise he called home for most of his first 18 years. Even the Chamber of Commerce is on board, said University of Hawaii Professor Robert Perkinson: “Obama is quite a beloved figure in Hawaii.”
Excerpt - "If I were trying to decide which university to attend, I would want a university that offered the widest range of programs and experiences," he says. "Having a presidential library on campus separates an institution from other schools."
Visitors to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley will have an opportunity in the next few weeks to see hundreds of four-legged helpers of the Ventura County Fire Department doing their part to reduce the risk of wildfires.
About 900 goats are in the fields around the library, helping eat the shrubs that could be fuel for fires.
The former president's loyalists fought a revised portrayal of the scandal and sought to hold up confirmation of the National Archives director over the redesign by historian Timothy Naftali.
Now, a fuller portrait is emerging of the campaign the loyalists waged and the tactics they employed — including the use of high-level political pressure — to thwart Naftali's efforts at the library.
Bush library to mark a milestone today
After months of work, the last piece of the frame on the George W. Bush Presidential Center -- an approximately 20-foot-long steel beam -- will be lifted by crane and placed at the tallest point of the building, over what will become Freedom Hall, a light-filled space topped with a lantern-shaped roof that will glow at night.