I love the headline from the India Times, as it offers a short description of the events surrounding the dedication of the newest presidential library, which brought five living presidents together. Congress allocates a substantial amount of money for these libraries, but still the majority of the funding comes from private donations, and it seems George W. Bush had no problem coming up with the $500 million state of the art facility at Southern Methodist University.
As with every venture Bush takes on, it is not without controversy. In 43's case it is over donations, many of which are undisclosed, despite the Donation Reform Act passed this year, that states that any donation over $200 must be disclosed. But, what can you expect from a man whose entire life seems to be built on lies and deceit.
Yet, everyone did their best to create a warm, fuzzy feeling to the event, including Obama himself who posted on his facebook site a picture of himself making a "V" sign behind Dubya's head in a presidential group photo, which appears to have been pulled from his page. Pere Bush was sporting some bright red socks for the event. His son poked fun at himself during the dedication speech, grinning from ear to ear.
One has to wonder about these libraries. According to a Salon article, these libraries are rarely a boon for the universities which sponsor them. Visitation as well as donations drop off pretty quickly, hardly justifying the tremendous cost of these "shrines," as they have little or no educational value. You see pretty much what the curators of these presidential libraries want you to see.
By comparison, the well visited FDR library, which ushered in the Presidential Library Act in 1955, only cost $376,000 to build (roughly $6.2 million adjusted for inflation) and has provided an invaluable resource for scholars studying the Great Depression, The New Deal and World War II. What can one really expect to find in the George W. Bush Presidential Library where you are welcomed by two bronze Scottish terriers.