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When President-elect Obama and his wife and children asked permission to stay at the Blair House in the weeks before the inauguration so that their two children could start the school term in Washington, the Bush White House replied with a curt “no” saying that Blair House was “spoken for.” Now we learn, that, par for the course for the Bush administration, that statement was ripe with truthiness. In fact it was only after the Obama request that the Bush team went scrambling looking for someone to occupy Blair House so it could be denied the Obamas. The taker is former Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
Howard will be traveling to Washington to receive the last in a series of Bush-awarded Presidential Medals of Freedom. Howard was recently handed a humiliating trouncing by Australian voters, who even turned him out of his own constituency. But he was a far more loyal poodle to George W. Bush than Tony Blair ever was. Among other things, he ventured head-first into American electoral politics, parroting a series of G.O.P. talking points, including the absurd proposition that Obama was the choice of Al Qaeda leaders to be president of the United States.
So Obama is turned out of Blair House to make room for a man who gained notoriety around the world for unprincipled and unfair criticisms of Obama? That’s what the Bush White House calls “gracious.” Most Americans would use other adjectives.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Years ago, I lived in Montana, a land of purple sunsets, clear streams, and snowflakes the size of silver dollars drifting through the cold air. There were no speed limits and you could legally drive drunk. My small apartment in Missoula had little privacy. In order to write, I rented an off-season fishing cabin on Rock Creek, a one-room place with a bed and a bureau. I lacked the budget for a desk. My idea was to remove a sliding door from a closet in my apartment and place it over a couple of hastily cobbled-together sawhorses.
Amount the inventor of the yellow “smiley face” had received for it by the time of his death in April:
An astrophysicist observed that the early universe looked like vegetable soup.
In North Korea, a missile capable of striking U.S. bases overseas blew up immediately after a test launch, and in North Carolina, a G.O.P. headquarters was firebombed.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”