George W. Bush: SMU Learns That “Freedom” Isn’t Free

Freedom’s Ferment 

James Traub’s New York Times Magazine piece this Sunday on the Bush Library & Freedom Institute is Nostradamus-like in scope, explaining the past even as it for-tells our dark Bushie future.

Traub reviews the failed efforts by Southern Methodist University faculty and others to stop Bush from planting his autonomous institute on the SMU campus and giving the University no say in its direction or governance. The Institute will be a stand alone entity vaguely associated with the Bush Library, but controlled by the Bush Foundation. Other presidential branding opportunities have at least made gestures towards academic sensibilities, but SMU’s President Gerald Turner makes the Bush people sound rather desperate that they could get a hearing in a real academic setting;

“They wanted to make sure that all points of view, including their own point of view, have a chance to be expressed.”

Bush crony Donald Evans says its all about donor relations:

“If I’m going to ask someone to be supportive of this with their generous contribution…I need to able to tell them that I will be fully responsible to them.”

At one point the University community was told that the Bush Institute would be housed in a separate building, but the latest plans show essentially one building. But Bush Foundation President Mark Langdale  describes them invitingly as “jammed together like town houses.”

How will the Bush Institute fill its days?  Traub quotes Bush Administration fixture Elliot “Mr. Kennelworth” Abrams, apparently seasoned by his “controversial tenure in the Reagan administration” enthusing over the “embattled” and “dissident” figures Bush claims to identify with.

  Natan Sharansky is one such em-battler,  but he appears comfortably ensconced in his own institute in Israel.  Another em-battler endlessly mentioned here and elsewhere is Vaclav Havel, who Bush longs to com over and write something, anything.  Why-ever he would leave his comfortable Prague retirement or his own Presidential Library for Dallas is unclear.

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