Monday, May 08, 2006

Elizabeth Bumiller, arch ironist?

Elizabeth Bumiller, the NY Times White House correspondent, aroused my ire last week when her account of the White House Correspondents Dinner mentioned Bush's "comedy" routine but omitted any mention of Colbert.

Today, Bumiller does a little better in her article, "His Legacy and His Library Occupy Bush's Thoughts."

This one at least has a non-lapdog subtext, as in the statement that "Two and a half years before he leaves office, with his popularity at record lows, Mr. Bush is actively thinking ahead to his post-White House life." In other words, to add my own gloss, perhaps he is as eager for his term to end as I am. (Well, he couldn't possibly be AS eager.) That would at least show good judgment.

But I loved this bit:

"'I would like to leave behind a legacy or a think tank, a place for people to talk about freedom and liberty, and the de Tocqueville model, what de Tocqueville saw in America,' Mr. Bush told Mr. Schieffer. 'I would like for there to be a place where young scholars come and write and think and articulate and opine and teach.'"

The jokes here practically write themselves. "Freedom and liberty" is truly an amazing focus, coming as it does from the principal proponent of torture and domestic authoritarianism in U.S. history. De Tocque - who?? No way on earth that Bush has actually heard of him. And yes, scholarship, what a natural legacy for this guy, almost as apt as freedom and liberty.

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