With a price tag of $250 million, the George W. Bush library is the biggest and most expensive of the 13 that have been opened to recognize the former presidents.
It is a major part of a well-orchestrated campaign underway for months now to whitewash what was very likely the worst presidency in the history of the United States. We don't believe the campaign will succeed , however, because the memories of the American people are not short enough for that to happen.
The theme of the new "library" is not George Bush, the failed president, but George Bush the "statesman" who had to make a lot of "decisions." Laura Bush showed the press yesterday how visitors will be able to enter an "interactive decision making room" where they can participate with the former president in making the many decisions he so bravely made.
"Bush made lots of presidential decisions," right wing pundit Charles Krauthammer opined yesterday on Fox. To all of this we say, "So what? What other kinds of decisions would a president make? The issue is not whether Bush was a major decision maker but what kinds of decisions he made.
He could have decided not to challenge recounts in Florida all the way up to the Supreme Court and allow the man who won the majority of votes in 2000 to become president of the United States or he could have decided to push the issue until the court intervened on his behalf and installed him into the presidency. He decided to push and we ended up with an unelected president. Wrong decision.
After 9/11 he could have decided to invade Iraq or he could have decided not to invade Iraq. He made the decision that cost thousands of American lives, a million Iraqi lives and perhaps more than a trillion dollars. Wrong decision.
He could have decided to tell the truth about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or he could have lied about them. He decided to lie. Wrong decision.
As Hurricane Katrina neared New Orleans he could have decided to monitor and take charge of the crisis or he could have decided to attend Sen. John McCain's birthday party. He decided to go to the party. Wrong decision.
He could have decided to fight for more regulation of Wall Street or he could have decided on less regulation. He went for less regulation and soon there was a total meltdown in the financial markets. Wrong decision.
He could have decided to give tax breaks to the rich or he could have decided not to give tax breaks to the rich. He decided on the tax breaks and plunged the economy into its worse crisis since the Great Depression. Wrong decision.
He could have decided to rewrite U.S foreign policy along the neo-con lines advocated by Dick Cheney, his pick for Vice President, or he could have decided not to do that. He decided to go the neo-con way with unilateral intervention in battles underway all around the world. Wrong decision..
He could have decided to hookup with the super rich and their efforts to buy lawmakers all over the country or he could have decided not to do that. He decided to do it by putting Karl Rove in charge of everything in that department, including his own reelection effort. Wrong decision.
The Bush library devotes a huge amount of space to what most say were his good efforts to fight AIDS in Africa. When all else fails the right wing Bush legacy rehabilitation teams point to the former president's support for the efforts to fight the disease as proof of his humanitarianism.
On this issue they fail to mention, however, that it was the Congressional Black Caucus that played the leading roll. It was the African American lawmakers who first raised the issue with the former president and who developed and drew up a program and a plan to deliver the help that saved millions of lives.
Adding to our outrage about the new Presidential library is the announcement that many of the records on storage there, even those covered under the Freedom of Information Act, will not be available to the public for at least ten years, if not longer.
No "library" operates this way. But we shouldn't be surprised. The Bush Library is nothing more than an expensive attempt to rewrite history - an attmpt to turn a failed president into a "statesesman" who had to make a lot of "decisions." That effort, we believe, like the Bush presidency itself, will fail. The American people will make sure of it., The memory of the American people can be counted on.
Photo: DonkeyHotey/Flickr (CC)