January 10, 2007
Dubya’s Tower of Babel
With an expected $500 million from a handful of megadonors, George W. Bush’s ‘truest believers’ plan the mother of all presidential libraries and conservative think tanks
After six years of incompetence and cronyism, a failed war against terrorism, the quagmire that is Iraq, wars against science, the environment, corporate regulation and the public’s right-to-know, a chummy working relationship with the country’s most reactionary conservative evangelical Christians, a politicized faith-based initiative, giveaways to the energy industry, tax relief for the wealthy, a culture of corruption culminating in the forced resignations and imprisonment of some of the administrations key soldiers, and an attack on fundamental democratic rights and values, the Bush Administration is hatching plans to celebrate itself with a $500 million library (the costliest presidential library ever) to be built sometime after the end of Bush’s second term.
Among the donors to Bush 41’s library in Texas were a sheik from the United Arab Emirates, the state of Kuwait, the Bandar bin Sultan family, the Sultanate of Oman, King Hassan II of Morocco, the amir of Qatar, the former Korean prime minister, and China.
In what is being called “their final campaign,” Bush’s “truest believers” are aiming to raise a half-billion dollars for the mother of all presidential libraries. The library and an attached think tank — which will pay for conservative research — is being earmarked for the Dallas, Texas campus of Southern Methodist University (SMU), where First Lady Laura Bush is an alumna and trustee.
Inside Higher Ed recently pointed out that SMU, which had been competing for the library with Baylor University and the University of Dallas, appears to have cleared the final hurdle to getting the project when the university “won a court fight over its right to demolish a condo complex the university had purchased, in part to have land for the Bush project.”
That was before university faculty, administration, and staff questioned the ideological underpinnings of the project.
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