In retirement, as in his latter years in office, George W. Bush remains among our most dispised Presidents. And of our current living legends, Bush is number one, surpassing the hated Jimmy Carter in least liked-ness.
Presidential reputations are of course confections of whimsy and make believe, so hope lives, but the continued loathing of his big brother can only deepen the despair of Jeb “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda” Bush.
Tall Tales Trashed
From the wilds of academe comes the shattering of yet another right wing Barack Obama trope, his frequently complained about tendency to first-person pronounce himself into every occasion.
Except he doesn’t.
So we learn in Ben Zimmer’s New York Times review of social psychologist James W. Pennebaker’s “The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us.” In fact, “Obama has distinguished himself as the lowest I-word user of any of the modern presidents.”
Your Presidential Libraries Never Forget
The world will little remember reaching for the remote, desperate to squelch George Pataki’s insulting reading of the Gettysburg address on the first 9/11 anniversary.
Some feared the vapid inanity of 2002’s commemorations could never be topped, but presidential libraries are doing their part.
Having apparently run out of things to say about either their nominal subjects or their periods, today’s presidential libraries seek to present themselves as founts of Everyhistory, places to mark any odd occasion with history slapped on.
At least four presidential libraries will mark the decade since 9/11, each in their own baffling manner.
The Franklin Roosevelt Presidential Library is at least in the same state as one target…but after that the relation gets kind of strained.
They will be displaying a chunk of metal from the World Trade Center wreckage.
We might have enjoyed a retrospective on our relationship with our gallant Saudi Arabian ally, beginning with FDR’s quiet 1945 interlude with King Saud.
No word if Bandar Bush will show up.
The Nixon Library will go all out for the memories. Sixteen tons of World Trade Center steel will arrive in ceremony Monday, and be available for public gawking all week.
Keeping Up With The Kardashian
Let us pray 9/11 souvenirs don’t become the latest presidential library must have object. At least until they all get their Berlin Wall chunks squared away.
The Reagan Library will be bursting with 9/11 goodness. The Library will serve as a start point for Simi Valley’s “Freedom Walk,” Donald Rumsfeld‘s effort to mashup the initially popular Afghanistan war together with Iraq in a delightful Freedom Smoothie.
The program will feature a 9/11 emergency worker, and they’ve dug up a prize. Out of all the rescue workers on the scene on 9/11, they’ve chosen the Scientologist.
With her proven record of cult attraction, did the Scientologists get to Nancy Reagan?
The Reagan Library never lets a marketing moment pass, as they demonstrated with their 9/11 commemoration page.
You’ll come to honor the dead, you’ll stay to purchase souvenir Air Force One replicas.
In dog that didn’t bark news, we’ve had no sightings of an Obama administration Rodham brother equivalent.
Or a Neil Bush lookalike.
But such is the volume of loose cash sloshing about the world that some of it is still, still available to the dimmest bulb of an out of power family.
When former President George W. Bush celebrates his finest hour this September 11, thoughts will naturally turn to other members of the Bush clan in exile.
Shifty Uncle Prescott has passed, Jeb Bush remains out of reach, brother Martin remains in the obscurity of the DC suburbs*, but good old Neil Bush is still out there, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. National treasure Ken Silverstein has a great roundup of Neil’s post-Keating hustles on Salon.
Silverstein offers some hope that the arc of history does bend towards justice, or at least shrinking margins for evil. He reports Bush’s compensation for doing not much may be declining over time.
*For a slightly 911-trutherish tour of Marvin’s picaresque business career see here.