Their objections stem from the fear that the Bush center will act like a private think tank for neoconservative ideologues. “They get the cover of a university without having to play by its rules,” says Benjamin Johnson, an associate professor of history whose Bush Library Blog detailed the controversy at its height, between 2007 and 2008. The plans for the Bush institute sailed through S.M.U.’s administration, however, with the help of people like Ray Hunt, the oilman and longtime Bush supporter and friend, who is on the university’s board of trustees.
“We’re not going to have any of the usual controls over teaching and research hires and reviews,” complains Johnson. “My concerns have actually been heightened by the collapse of the Bush administration because it seems to me he and his circle are intent on rehabilitating him, and he is held in such disrepute by so many people across the country and the planet. I’m afraid this is going to be the main vehicle by which they try and rehabilitate their reputation.”
And by no measure, Kathleen Parker, can that be considered a noble effort.