It Takes a Library

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Clinton held a fundraiser in Hollywood last weekend to raise money
for his Presidential Library. The choice of venue shows excellent
judgment as both Hollywood and Presidential libraries specialize
in fantasy. Presidential libraries employ favored court historians
to try to convince us that their heroes were great Presidents. This
is a daunting task as no great President has a Presidential library.
Washington and Jefferson are libraryless. Some pretty good Presidents
like Cleveland and Harding are sans library. Even some of
our faux-great Presidents such as Teddy Roosevelt and Lincoln
have no libraries. That puts them in the same category as President
Jefferson Davis.

libraries are strictly a product of the modern era of the Imperial
Presidency. Naturally, they were FDR's invention. For the record,
the following presidents have Presidential libraries: Hoover, FDR,
Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan
and Bush. From this list we can discern that to earn a Presidential
library, you have to either raise taxes during a recession, turn
a recession into a Great Depression with silly economic policies
and lie about keeping America out of World War II, engage the Army
in a full-scale war without Congressional authorization, run as
Republican but govern like a Democrat, start the Viet Nam War, escalate
the Viet Nam War, engage in a fourth-rate cover-up of a first-rate
burglary, manufacture "WIN" (Whip Inflation Now) buttons
and wear them, lower the speed limit and room temperature to 55,
promise to get the government off our backs, but increase the size
and power of government in every area, or lie about not raising
taxes. If you were an unindicted co-conspirator, you get only a
strange animal known as the "Nixon Presidential Materials Staff".
But true to his nickname, Tricky Dick was able to fanagle his own
unofficial library anyway. With such pedestrian competition, even
a fifth-rate President like Clinton deserves a Library.

the course of preparing this article, I was able to obtain a secret
memo outlining plans for the Clinton library. The bold and daring
scheme will guarantee this will be the most popular Presidential
library ever. The Clinton Library will feature a virtual reality
tour of the Clinton White House. Other Presidential libraries allow
you to read the president's official papers; the Clinton Library
will allow you to be Clinton. Through the miracle of virtual
reality, you will personally experience what it's like to take calls
from congressmen while being serviced by a young intern; unleash
your socialist wife upon the nation's health care system; or share
a good laugh with James "Junkyard Dog" Carville about
how the suckers actually believed us when we promised a middle class
tax cut.

director of the Clinton library will of course be Sidney ("Son
of Carville") Blumenthal. All Presidential library directors
must be fawning fawners and Blumenthal is extraordinarily qualified
in this department. He not only thinks Bill Clinton is a great president,
but, like Al Gore (who after his loss will be assistant director),
he thinks that Clinton is the greatest president ever. In fact,
in neo-Randian fashion, he (like Clinton) thinks Clinton is the
greatest human being ever!

special room is being set aside for Clintonian writings of masterpiece
stature, in the event that researchers undercover any such writings.
Special audiovideo equipment is being readied to allow visitors
to listen to Clinton's notoriously lengthy speeches in just a fraction
of the original time. My sources are going to kill me for revealing
the secret. Yes, the recordings will be speeded up; that's obvious.
But get this: all words such as "the" and "a",
and all conjunctives, disjunctives and prepositions will be automatically
deleted. These techniques will allow us to listen to these speeches
in little more than the time it takes to list President Clinton's
accomplishments. Further, the experts assure us that removing all
these words will make the text only slightly less intelligible than
the original.

this will be the first Presidential library with a special wing
devoted to the First Lady. Hillary will get her own separate wing,
hermetically sealed from Bill's suite. The highlight of the Hillary
wing will be a contest to see which visitors can come up with a
plausible scenario for how the missing Whitewater billing records
mysteriously appeared in the White House one day. Rumor has it that
Susan Thomases will be director in charge of the Hillary wing. Thomases
isn't really a herstorian, but that's okay. Hillary isn't really
a First Lady; she's a co-president. Besides, if your name is Clinton,
it's always good to have a tough-as-sandpaper New York lawyer nearby.

libraries are here to stay. They facilitate the worship of ex- and
dead presidents. Such worship is essential to maintaining our present
system of government: global empire led by a supreme executive.
We can't very well have a jackass ruling the world. The job of Presidential
libraries is to convince us that our ex-presidents weren't jackasses,
even if they were. Clinton's Library will face the ultimate challenge.

25, 2000

Ostrowski is an attorney practicing at 984 Ellicott Square, Buffalo,
New York 14203; (716) 854-1440; FAX 853-1303. See his website at

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