Buying a legacy

Bush library will pay scholars to "write papers and books favorable to the president's policies."

Published November 27, 2006 5:10PM (EST)

There are two ways to build a legacy as president. You can do such an amazing job in office that the world remembers you warmly long after you're gone, or you can hire some people to rewrite history after the fact in the hopes that you'll come off better later.

George W. Bush seems to have chosen the latter path.

According to the New York Daily News, the president and his people hope to raise $500 million to build a presidential library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "The legacy-polishing centerpiece is an institute, which several Bush insiders called the 'Institute for Democracy,'" Thomas DeFrank writes. "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."

We thought Fox News was already doing that job for free.

How will Bush raise $500 million -- more than twice what he raised for his 2004 reelection run -- when he's not the most popular guy around and won't be in the position to dole out favors down the line? DeFrank says that Team Bush hopes to get "megadonations" of $10 million or $20 million each from "wealthy heiresses, Arab nations and captains of industry" who won't be susceptible to the limits that apply to campaign contributions and who won't have to have their names revealed to the public.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

MORE FROM Tim Grieve

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

George W. Bush War Room