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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Scraping to Fill the Shelves of the Bush Library

In the Texas competition for the George W. Bush Presidential Library, the city of Irving promises $50 million in hotel tax revenue on behalf of the University of Dallas. Baylor University President John Lilley says, ''We'll raise whatever is required." Southern Methodist University may trump that with pedigree. Alumnae include Laura Bush and confidantes Karen Hughes and Harriet Miers. Vice President Dick Cheney was a SMU trustee when he ran Halliburton.
The visible connections allow SMU President Gerald Turner to say, ''We would prefer just to work at it without a lot of visibility." Even so, SMU's point man to get the library, Thomas Barry, admits, ''It's kind of an exciting thing, no matter what your politics are. The times are so rather unique given the Bush administration and the story would be an interesting one to tell."
Bush himself is already telling the story that will be told. In January, he told CBS's Bob Schieffer, ''I would like to leave behind a legacy or a think tank, a place for people to talk about freedom and liberty and the de Tocqueville model, what de Tocqueville saw in America."
The joke will be on the winner. If this library is stocked the way Bush stuck it to the people, this is going to be the most empty $200 million library in the world. It will be unique because the most interesting story of the Bush administration is how it did as much as possible without visibility.


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