Saturday, April 27, 2013

Presidential Libraries

As The Blog posted last night, yesterday marked the official opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

As The Blog understands it, every president of the United States, upon leaving office, gets a library in their honor.

They call them "libraries," but really, they are, more accurately museums.

Museums dedicated to preserving American history in accurate detail, for future generations.

Some of the oldest are housed in the palatial homes of our earliest Presidents.

George Washington's Mt. Vernon and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, for example.

Modern presidential libraries/museums are a bit more nuanced.

As The Blog understands it, (again,) the modern presidential library works like this.

Immediately after a president leaves office, the fund raising machine that raised the funds for the former president's campaigns goes back to work to raise funds for a library. And for the next couple of decades, the former president's museum is owned and operated by people who, wholeheartedly support the former president in question.

During that time, the library/museum functions as a sort of "post campaign campaign," designed to establish the former president's legacy for posterity.

In other words, for a couple of decades, Presidential Libraries are great big, privately funded, bullshit museums.

*To be fair... I doubt that one will find any reference to Monica Lewinsky at the William Jefferson Clinton Library.*

After a certain period of time, the library's operations are, by law, turned over to a federal government agency, (I'm thinking the National Park Service, but I could be wrong. Look it up for yourself. Do I have to do everything around here?)

At that point, you may learn some actual, spin free, history from those museums.

Until then, treat presidential libraries as entertaining exercises in "spin."

Obviously, The PC has not, personally, been to the GWB Library, yet.

But, visiting there is now second on my bucket list after a visit to The Creationism Museum. For all the wrong reasons.

To the GWB Library's credit, unlike the current Republican party and it's apologists, the museum does acknowledge the fact that Sept. 11, 2001 did actually occur during Dubbya's presidency. In fact, the centerpiece of the library is a twisted piece of metal salvaged from the remains of the World Trade Center.

So, there is that. The only presidential library tribute to a president's greatest failure.

So far, I have not found any indication that a copy of the "Daily Intelligence Report" entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike" is on display.

Here are a few examples of the artifacts from the Dubbya years that are on display.

                                                                    George's bike.

 The one that he spent an awful lot of time on, and fell off of, on a few occasions.

In the spirit of celebrating that bike, I wish that the museum had also included a reproduction of a certain pretzel.

Here is a bronze sculpture that decorated the Oval Office for both of Bush's terms...

A bull, apparently frolicking in it's own bullshit.


And, displayed in the library without a hint of irony.

And, pictures of food served at official, presidential banquets.

                                                             Like this dessert tray.

The former president goes all Instagram here.

How about this for either ballsey or tone deaf...

 That's right! A Florida, District 9, voting booth. Accompanied by a jar of chads.

Because holy shit!

And, because federal law requires all presidential libraries to include one...

                                                   A reproduction of the Oval Office.

(The Blog admits that there is probably no law requiring this. But, it seems that way. More on that in a bit.)

Reports tell us that doors in this particular Oval Office rendition open up to a reproduction of The Rose Garden.

I have no information that another door opens to an interactive brush clearing site.

But, one should.

For more about the GWB Library, go tour it's official site.

Don't miss the section devoted to the Bush's dogs. Because that is historically important stuff.

Years ago, The PC visited the Roy Rogers Museum, then located in Victorville, CA. It was a museum dedicated to something so culturally unimportant, that it felt like a tour of some stranger's grandmother's attic.

Mildly interesting. But, ultimately, pointless.

The PC gets that same feeling here.

The Blog has visited two other Presidential Libraries, here in Southern California.

The Richard M. Nixon Library.

A lovely piece of Orange County, CA property dedicated to salvaging the legacy of the original presidential "dick."

The Nixon Library features a rather lame version of the obligatory Oval Office reproduction.

The PC went there willingly for the sole purpose of purchasing a t-shirt from the souvenir shop with this photo on it.

                                                     Because that is some crazy shit!

And then there is the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley.

Upon immediate entry, you will be greeted by a mosaic portrait of Saint Ronnie made out of Jelly Belly jelly beans.

Creating a first impression similar to the one you would get upon entering Legoland.

The ubiquitous presence of the gourmet confection throughout the museum suggests that the Reagan Library may be the first corporately sponsored presidential library in America.

I think that the free marketeer Reagan would have liked it that way.

The Reagan Library is truly the Universal Studios Orlando of presidential libraries.

                                         Once again, there is the mandatory Oval Office set.

How about an actual chunk of the Berlin Wall?

                                       Proving that spay paint wielding taggers are universal.

Don't miss the Reagan Library's "E Ticket" attraction.

                                                           Reagan's Air Force One.

Pretty cool. But not as cool as Harrison Ford's.

When you are done with the tour of Air Force One, stop by the reproduction of an actual Dublin Pub named for Ronald Reagan, in the shadow of the presidential jet, and enjoy a corned beef sandwich and a pint of Guinness.

Because, what's more American than that?

What else will you find at the Reagan Library?

Books by Maureen and Michael Reagan, for sale in the gift shop.

What won't you find?

Any reference to Ronnie's first wife, Jane Wyman, or his inconveniently liberal children, Patti Davis and Ron Reagan, Jr.

Maybe in another decade or so.

Finally, in honor of the opening of the GWB Library...

The first ever Premature Curmudgeon photo caption contest.

                                                     This photo is begging for a caption.

Post your caption in the "Comments" section.

I will post the best captions in a later blog post.

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