Sometime this month, the Bush Center will unveil the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas, a presidential library built and named in honor of...George W. Bush. As evinced by this video and article, Al Sharpton is none-too-happy with the Institute's stated goals:
According to the library’s official website, it will be ”a results-oriented institute that will have an effect on our country and, we think, on the world,” focusing on areas including economic growth, human freedom, and education reform. But it’s tough to say what results can be gleaned from the legacy of the president who turned a budget surplus into a deficit, left us into a major recession, permitted the use of “enhanced interrogation” techniques, and instituted the “No Child Left Behind” education policy that is widely criticized even by Republicans today.It's not out of the ordinary to see former leaders burnish their public image after they've left office. Nevertheless, it will be entertaining to see how a former leader who managed to cock things up so badly around the world manage to rehabilitate his image in the world's eyes, considering the crushing weight of evidence that will forever attest to his true actions and behavior in office.
But Bush has a plan to distract everyone from the more negative aspects of his legacy. As one Bush acquaintance told the National Journal, “He’s convinced his achievement in keeping the country safe after 9/11 will get the attention it deserves as the years roll on,” which is why the library’s signature exhibit will be “a 17-foot, two-ton twisted piece of steel from the World Trade Center.” (It’s a strange quirk of historical memory–almost a form of intellectual jujitsu–that Bush has successfully branded himself as the leader who kept us safe, when in fact he’s the president who disregarded an August 2001 memo warning that Osama bin Laden was planning an attack on America.)
Then again, there's a chance that the Bush Center will be able to do just that, if only for certain media outlets that'd rather imbibe in copious amounts of false equivalence and civility for civility's sake, even if it means ignoring all of the less-savory aspects of the 43rd president's tenure.