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Jay Miller on presidential libraries

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 W

ith the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library, we now have 13 presidential libraries, each one grander and costlier than its predecessor.

The Clinton Presidential Center, in Little Rock, topped all previous libraries at $165 million, 300,000 square feet and 80 million presidential items. Watch for the George W. Bush Center to top that.

You paid for much of that, just as you paid for the previous libraries. But it’s not all money down the drain. These are 13 impressive museums, six for Democrats and now seven for Republicans, so no one should get their partisan hackles up over that.

I have been to most of them and intend to get to the rest. Historians get a little edgy about all the self-promotion, excessive adoration and unmitigated praise, considering we are a democracy founded on the disavowal of kings.

But for those of us in the general public, the libraries are quite an experience. I’m sure we all enter them well aware that we will receive that president’s slant on the events of his term and are prepared to filter that information just as we would treat presidential campaign ads.


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