Sometimes you read things online and they just sound so preposterous on their face as to seem impossible. Then you remember that the subject in question has to do with George W. Bush and you realize that in matters where he's involved, the impossible is quite likely. Take for instance the plans for his presidential library/public relations firm.
He may be a certified lame duck now, but President Bush and his truest believers are about to launch their final campaign - an eye-popping, half-billion-dollar drive for the Bush presidential library.
Eager to begin refurbishing his tattered legacy, the President hopes to raise $500 million to build his library and a think tank at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Bush lived in Dallas until he was elected governor of Texas in 1995.
Bush sources with direct knowledge of library plans told the Daily News that SMU and Bush fund-raisers hope to get half of the half billion from what they call "megadonations" of $10 million to $20 million a pop.
Bush loyalists have already identified wealthy heiresses, Arab nations and captains of industry as potential "mega" donors and are pressing for a formal site announcement - now expected early in the new year....
"It's a stretch," said another source briefed on the plans. "It's so much bigger than anything that's been tried before. But the more you have, the more influence [on history] you can exert."
The half-billion target is double what Bush raised for his 2004 reelection and dwarfs the funding of other presidential libraries. But Bush partisans are determined to have a massive pile of endowment cash to spread the gospel of a presidency that for now gets poor marks from many scholars and a majority of Americans.
The legacy-polishing centerpiece is an institute, which several Bush insiders called the Institute for Democracy. Patterned after Stanford University's Hoover Institution, Bush's institute will hire conservative scholars and "give them money to write papers and books favorable to the President's policies," one Bush insider said.
When all is said and done, I suppose that it is only fitting that this presidential library be a monument to influencing public opinion, given that this administration has always prided itself on looking busy rather than actually doing the hard work of governance. That fact that it will be financed by wealthy interests (including Arab money) also seems oddly appropriate considering all he's done for the huddled rich masses these past eight years.
I recall during the waning months of the Clinton presidency, when President Clinton worked tirelessly to reach some sort of accord with the Palestinians and the Israelis to facilitate a lasting peace in the area, confident that such an accomplishment would reflect well on his overall legacy. Bush on the other hand holds no such lofty ideals; instead he wants to have complimentary things written about him because he's paying people to do so as opposed to actually doing the hard work to earn such accolades.
I suppose my only question is, if you spend half a billion dollars to polish up a turd, don't you still just end up with a shiny turd?