Gawker historian in residence John Cook has fun poking the National Archives for their deference to former greats.
The George W. Bush administration’s papers are squirrelled away, and no, you can’t see them till Bush is done with them. Bush left office having made a hash of his electronic records, resisting disclosure to the end despite estimates millions of emails had gone missing. In retirement only Bush and Ghost Who Walks Cheney have access to the goods until 2014, so Cook has been mischievously asking what our betters have been asking the National Archives for, FOIA-ing the records of their document requests.
The Archives will have none of that nonsense. They’ve denied his request for what are clearly public records, showing a tender concern for Bush’s privacy not demonstrated by the man himself.
Archives have had a pattern of hiding their dealings with past greats, refusing historian Anthony Clark‘s requests for records on the foundations all the Presidential Libraries run to keep their guy’s image ever shinier.
Deference to greatness reached it’s apogee under the last Archivist of the United States. Bush appointee Alan Weinstein remained mute over the Bush email destruction by deed or sloth, and reacted to Bush’s grabbing censorship rights for ex Presidents and their decendants by inventing the happy club of “presidential families” who he hoped and prayed would do right by history and release the stranglehold on facts Bush granted them.
And then retired. Good to see the current team is upholding the tradition of cringing deference.
Nixon was to touch down in Iran, visiting the recently CIA reinstalled Shah and receive an honorary law degree. Student protesters were killed by the Shah’s army, and the event was commemorated by dissidents until his ultimate demise.
Light-hearted jibes about torture were in the house Sunday at DC’s Alfalfa Club dinner.
The annual gathering of Washington’s great and good is of course a temple of good natured joshing amongst the elite, the very pinnacle of our treasured bipartisanship. Thus Barack Obama found himself making light of the founding purpose of this entirely white until the 1970s dinner, honoring Robert E. Lee.
The sparkling event was brightened even more by the podium styling of “Jumping” Joe Lieberman, who the Washington Post reports wow’d them with topical laughs.
Part of the entertainment value of thumb-suckers musing over the Bush Administration’s “Legacy” is who asks the questions. It’s our old friends and perpetual whipping boys, The Media!
A part of society which for the most part went unquestioningly into battle in Iraq, and which let Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford go to their graves as demigods, is in charge of the searching questions in the last months.
And don’t think Bush’s people aren’t watching. Dick Cheney’s Lincoln/Truman lonely visionary talking points have been consistent over time, with Gerald Ford thrown in on occasion. The most recent example came in a follow up to his “So?” interview dismissing popular opinion over the war. Cheney claims that nice things said during Ford’s funeral week justify the Nixon pardon, which also means Iraq will look great in three decades.
“…he demonstrated, I think, great courage and great foresight, and the country was better off for what Jerry Ford did that day. And 30 years later, everybody recognized it…And I have the same strong conviction the issues we’re dealing with today — the global war on terror, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq — that all of the tough calls the president has had to make, that 30 years from now it will be clear that he made the right decisions, and that the effort we mounted was the right one, and that if we had listened to the polls, we would have gotten it wrong.”