The Pettiness of Bush

January 8th, 2009

You’ve probably heard about this already: how the Obamas wanted to move into Blair House early so their two daughters would be able to start going to school. Blair House is the ideal choice because it is a secure venue and would be fair easier and cheaper to manage. The Bush White House said: “No.” In fact, they said more than that–they said that they were “appalled” by the request. Yes, how dare the president-elect and his family ask to live for a few weeks in Blair House, which they are scheduled to move into anyway come January 15th, so as to (a) avoid having to move house twice, (b) making it easier for their two little girls to attend school, and (c) save a lot of taxpayer dollars.

Why did the White House turn them down? Because, they claimed, Blair House was “booked” until the 15th. They did not specify, and it seems clear now: they were lying. The only dignitary reportedly scheduled to stay at Blair House is former Australian Prime Minister John Howard. On January 13, Bush will award Howard, Tony Blair, and Alvaro Uribe the Presidential Medal of Freedom; Howard receives it primarily for his backing and loyalty to Bush during the Iraq War. In other words, a last-minute payoff to political allies for their backing in a bloody, unnecessary, and illegal war. Which is so deserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Blair and Uribe decided to stay at hotels despite the offer of Blair House.

Still, what’s wrong with booking the house for someone else? Well, first of all, Blair House is huge. It’s a complex of four townhouses with 119 rooms and 35 bathrooms covering 70,000 square feet. You could house four large families there, complete with entourages, in luxurious, roomy splendor, and they would never have to cross paths or even see each other. Every member of each family could even have their own private bathroom. The fact that Bush offered Blair House to Blair and Uribe in addition to Howard clearly demonstrates that the guest mansion is big enough for more than just one guest with entourage. Second, there are reports that Howard was not booked to stay there until after the Obamas made the request, meaning that the White House would not have had to cancel anyone’s stay even if Blair House wasn’t big enough to accommodate a large number of people.

In short, Blair House was not “booked,” it was completely available for the Obamas to move in. Essentially, the Bushes simply and pettily decided to lie and snub the Obama family at the cost of both security and taxpayer expense. Very big of them. Yet another high note upon which to end this administration.

  1. Tim Kane
    January 9th, 2009 at 02:02 | #1

    By the way, Blair House is where Truman lived during most of his Presidency as the White House was totally gutted and rebuilt during his Presidency.

    I’m for congress enacting legislation retiring the “Medal of Freedom”, on the basis that it has been so miss-used that the wearing of it has become a badge of disparagement instead of a badge of honor. Replace it with a new badge of Liberty or something.

  2. Brad
    January 10th, 2009 at 17:00 | #2

    Isn’t the president and his family supposed to live in the White House?

Comments are closed.