Saturday, August 21, 2010

Take My Library. Please.

In an editorial this morning, which bodes extremely well for Nixon library director Tim Naftali, the New York Times takes a firm if unsurprising position in favor of the library's Watergate exhibit:
It is all a rich and [an] educational story. We can’t wait for the National Archives’ forthright telling of it, right down to Nixon’s instruction to his team: “Play it tough.”
About the opposition, the Times says:
Congress took away their control of the library in 2007, but they still serve as an advisory panel, and they are demanding to first vet the exhibit for their version of historical accuracy.
Not so rich and educational an editorial. The "advisory panel" is the presidential foundation that spent $40 million building and expanding the library and operated it privately for 17 years. As for saying that Congress took away the library in 2007, that's only because for ten years we'd left it in the garage with the door open and light on and a big red bow wrapped around it.

The library would've been federalized in 1996 as part of a lawsuit settlement I engineered as the president's co-executor, but Nixon family politics tanked the deal. Beginning in the early 2000s, we humble advisory panelists scraped together $1 million for some blue-chip Washington lobbyists. First, they got Congress to pass a law to permit Nixon's White House records to be moved to California. Then they obtained federal funding for a wing at the library in Yorba Linda to house them, which opened on July 1. A hostile takeover, it definitely wasn't.

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