How George W. Bush and His Pals Kept the Freedom Institute Free from SMU's Prying
|Courtesy Southern Methodist University|
|George W. Bush, visiting a SMU government class in February|
When I asked why the [Bush] foundation insisted on controlling the institute, I received a range of answers. (Bush declined to be interviewed for this article.) Mark Langdale, president of the Bush Foundation, told me the president and his advisers "wanted an environment that is free of campus politics," though of what nature he didn't specify. [R. Gerald] Turner, S.M.U.'s president, explained about as carefully as was humanly possible, "They wanted to make sure that all points of view, including their own point of view, have a chance to be expressed." [Bush friend and former commerce secretary] Donald Evans said it was a matter of fiduciary responsibility. "If I'm going to ask someone to be supportive of this with their generous contribution," he said, "I need to able to tell them that I will be fully responsible to them."Also in The Times tomorrow is a story about President Barack Obama's five --count 'em -- pastors, among them T.D. Jakes. That too is a familiar tale.
It seems, however, from [John Raisian, Hoover Institution director]'s recollections, that an administration notoriously distrustful of academia -- at least liberal academia -- and doggedly certain of its own principles did not want to subject itself to the intellectual standards of whatever university would serve as its host, even one as relatively conservative as S.M.U.