March 24th, 2006

Barbara Bush: The Mortifying Years

by Philip Baruth

And you thought that Barbara Bush had made the gaffe of all time when she toured that overcrowded Katrina-relief station and remarked, “So many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this — this is working very well for them.”

Oh, ye of little faith.

BabsBarbara has now gone herself one better: she’s donated money to the Katrina Relief fund — but stipulated that it go in roundabout fashion to son Neil.

From Raw Story via the Houston Chronicle:

“Former first lady Barbara Bush donated an undisclosed amount of money to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund with specific instructions that the money be spent with an educational software company owned by her son Neil.

“Since then, the Ignite Learning program has been given to eight area schools that took in substantial numbers of Hurricane Katrina evacuees.”

Can it get any more creepy and self-serving and unhumanitarian and nepotistic? Wait! Don’t answer yet: Neil’s company Ignite Learning, you will remember from the Dubai Ports World scandal, has been heavily and very personally underwritten by . . . yes! The United Arab Emirates.

That would be the same UAE who were seeking commercial control of six major US ports. The same UAE interests who received the oddly full-throated support of the President of the United States and the Governor of Florida.

Thank you again, Barbara Bush, for showing America the way out of tragedy.

Your husband and President Clinton put aside partisan politics and joined forces to create a fund aimed squarely at the needs of the least fortunate among us — and you’ve found an impish way to use that fund to advertise and enrich your wayward son’s pet start-up.


We can only hope that millions take your example, all over this nation: giving whatever undisclosed amount they can easily afford, earmarking it very precisely, and watching that seed finally return on the gentle winds to bloom in their family’s own tight and loving little economy.