Two editorials over the weekend -- one in The New York Times, another in the Houston Chronicle -- suggest, in short, that S.M.U. oughta be happy with that George W. Bush Library-Think Tank-Pet Store-Juice Bar proposed for the Hilltop, but only if Dubya stops being so, like, secretive. Yup -- good luck with all that.
Wrote the Chron Saturday: "A university of any pretensions should be slobberingly eager to house a president's archive, be he warlord, prophet of peace or thundering dud. Unfortunately, the mass of executive papers that researchers will mine for years tends to come these days as part of a non-negotiable package that includes what amounts to a shrine to the former leader." That was followed by the Times' op-ed piece from yesterday, in which Dorothy Samuels (former executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union) wrote that S.M.U. should happily accept the library, but only if "two basic conditions are met."
The first: S.M.U.'s trustees (including Laura Bush, heh) must demand Bush "rescind" Executive Order 13233, the order he signed November 1, 2001, that essentially keeps all his papers hidden from people who might want to see them...like, oh, visitors to a certain presidential library on a certain Park Cities campus. "It's a formula for keeping embarrassing facts secret in perpetuity and for thwarting a full and accurate accounting of a president's time in office, which, presumably, was among S.M.U.'s prime goals in seeking to be home to the new presidential edifice, along with enhancing the university's visibility, prestige and available financial resources," Samuels writes. In short: That "treasure trove" of info S.M.U. president Gerald Turner promises? Yeah, not so much.
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Also, Samuels has a problem with Bush and his peeps spending so much time now raising so much dough to build the danged thing -- $500 mil from friends in high places and well-heeled special interests. "Corruptive," Samuels calls it. That sounds bad. --Robert Wilonsky