NYT Catches 'Disturbing First Glimpse' of Bullhorn, Saddam Pistol at Bush Presidential Center

Former President George W. Bush can't even put exhibits in his own presidential center without offending some leftists. New York Times reporter Michael Brick in Dallas handed some of them a megaphone to complain about the megaphone Bush used to address rescue workers from the rubble of the World Trade Center in moving fashion three days after the attacks in "Opening of Exhibit on Bush Reopens a Campus Rift." Picking things up at paragraph three:

But now Mr. Bush is bringing out the bullhorn.

"Breaking New Ground: Presenting the George W. Bush Presidential Center," an exhibit set to open this weekend on the campus of Southern Methodist University, prominently features the handgun taken from Saddam Hussein and the loudspeaker used to address rescue workers at the World Trade Center in September 2001.

The choice of mementos, emphasizing some of the more controversial foreign policy aspects of the Bush presidency, has reinvigorated opposition to the center's presence at the university.

"It's the approach they've taken all along; it fits their worldview," said the Rev. William K. McElvaney, a professor emeritus of preaching and worship at the university. "It's a tragedy for S.M.U. to hitch its star to this."


The new opening exhibit, some Methodist leaders said, provides a disturbing first glimpse into the presidential center's priorities.

"I hope that a bullhorn will not become the symbol for the entry of the United States into an unjustified war and that a pistol of Saddam Hussein's is not seen as some strange symbol of victory in that horrendous misjudgment," said Tex Sample, an elder in the Methodist Church who helped lead the opposition to the Bush Institute's placement at S.M.U. "That these should be the symbols of the values and commitments of the Bush administration and should now become the face of Southern Methodist University is cause for alarm."

Allahpundit at Hot Air was withering in reply.

Yes, heaven forbid that the moment Bush tried to rally the country after the worst terror attack in U.S. history be allowed to him in his own presidential library. Better a "Bush = Hitler" placard rescued from some long-ago lefty protest to capture the spirit of the times. As for the pistol, I'm amused that anyone would think after seven years that that might somehow rescramble the public's perceptions of war. Taking out Saddam was long ago priced into the question of whether invading Iraq was a good or bad idea. It's a benefit of the war, but I think we're all very much aware of the costs. Again, is Bush not allowed to make his case in his own presidential repository? If the library's exhibits on Iraq end up being too rosy, I'm sure his critics will be happy to fact-check them for them the public. Loudly, often, and obsessively.

Brick isn't nearly as tolerant of conservative protesters on Texas college campuses, as shown by his clear distaste for some Obama critics at Texas A&M, a rare right-leaning college campus, in this story from October 16, 2009. Brick feared the protesters might embarrass the college with their "unchecked fervor," which "can be a raw and fearsome thing." As if Bush wasn't excoriated on left-wing college campuses for eight years.

- Clay Waters is director of Times Watch. You can follow him on Twitter.