Object Lessons: Rantings of a Lone Pamphleteer
Obama Saves John Q Taxpayer $60KToday's Lesson: Some things stay the same.
I heard that Obama plans to keep the rug that so many people mentioned last week during that photo op. When Bill Clinton admired the rug during that photo op, Jon Stewart (and most other late night hosts) made fun of it, and wondered exactly how often Clinton and the divine Miss L admired the old rug. Turns out that each President (or, more likely, the First Lady) designs a rug with the Presidential Seal, using the budget granted for redecorating (for Dubya, $100,ooo). What a relief, because of course Bush wanted a new rug. Usually, I think the rug goes to the Presidential library at the end of the term (WikiPedia asserts without support, and I see no other reference to the disposition of Oval Office rugs). But Obama plans to keep Bush's $60,ooo+ rug.
It's a relief to know that Obama is not going to waste any time (or tax money) on spare essentials. His clear message: the Oval Office is plenty well-decorated, and he's ready to hit the ground running. That this particular ground is already covered by a tasteful and apparently quite admirable rug is just a bonus. Under the rug is a new floor which Dubya also replaced. Wonder how much that cost us.
Perhaps Obama knows just how important it is to Bush, and he's keeping it just 'cause he can. Bush apparently has gone on for years about this rug, uses it as a symbol in his speeches, and loves to regale reporters and visitors with how bright he was to delegate the job to Laura. He's fixated, some say. (To me, Bush's rug looks a lot like Reagan's.)
In Obama's move to keep the rug, he tells us plainly: What the Bush's charged to America, they must leave behind as the basis for the next four -- or eight -- years. The Oval Office rug has come to symbolize the Bush legacy on which Obama will stand, literally and figuratively.
I do hope that Obama will spare a moment to choose a different painting. He has the entire Smithsonian collection to choose from, in addition to the White House Museum collection. I'm sure any museum in the country would be happy to lend him any other painting.
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