Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Presidential Libraries in the News

Mikaela says:
I talked a year ago about the initial grassroots balking about Southern Methodist University becoming home to the Bush presidential library. Well, it's heating up. Look at how classic this is:

(from Democracy Now)

Methodists Want Delegates to Vote on Bush Presidential Library

A group of Methodists across the country have launched a new effort to stop President Bush from establishing his presidential library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Opponents say the library should be voted on by hundreds of delegates at a conference of the regional jurisdiction that owns the school. But school officials say they can ignore the delegate vote because they already have approval of a ten-person board. Officials with President Bush’s foundation including his brother Marvin Bush have said the library would further the goals of the Bush White House and would be answerable only to the foundation—not the university. Opponents say they’ve already collected more than eleven thousand signatures against the library and have the support of around thirty-five percent of the delegate vote.

Coupled with the discussion from the Frank Rich editorial Maggie cited that mentions the Clinton presidential library secrecy debacle, you've got a helluva NON-endorsement of presidential libraries. If Clinton is using his as a fortress to PROTECT his information from journalists, historians, and ... well ... muckrakers out to attach Hillary, then you can just imagine what Bush's library will be like. We're talking a vault on par w/ a nuclear warhead silo: closed until it's needed to wipe out some trumped up threat.

Danger, danger.! I think a much better idea, for all the reasons none of these recent presidents would support it, is to put those papers in a federal facility, although as we know, even that's subject to tampering. Still, it's a safer bet than privatizing our shared American history, no matter what President's name is on it. The presidential seal should not represent the power to lock documents away and throw out the key.

Just think of everything Bush & Co. have worked to suppress while President. A presidential library will keep that information under his control forever. In a democracy built on the public's right and need to make informed decisions, it's criminal.