ThinkProgress revealed yesterday just how much Rep. Mike Conaway of Midland loves government spending when it's for his friends. He's trying to get the Department of the Interior to fund the George W. Bush childhood home as part of the Park Service:
A ThinkProgress review of legislative correspondence with the U.S. Department of the Interior revealed that on September 11, 2012, Conaway wrote Secretary Ken Salazar to request a “reconnaissance Survey” of a potential new national park location. According to the log, Conaway's letter asked that the National Park Service “look at the possibility of adding the George W. Bush childhood home as a unit of the Park Service.”
The Midland congressman was the chief financial officer of George W. Bush's Bush Exploration oil company that managed to fail in the thick of the 1980's Texas oil boom. Naturally, he was elected to Congress in 2004 on a platform of fiscal responsibility. Since then, he's been a rank and file Republican calling for lower government spending on everything except for corporate subsidies. In 2006, Rep. Conaway introduced the Fuel Consumption Education Act to “appropriate $10 million for U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman to create a public-private partnership with industry and launch a TV, print and Internet advertising campaign” including “[a]utomotive, gas refining and oil companies”.
In response to President Obama's State of the Union this month, Rep. Conaway said: “Halting the rise in borrowing isn't enough; we must learn to live within our means and break our dependence on deficit spending.” Apparently to Rep. Conaway, the government starting to spending money every year on George W. Bush's childhood home would be “living within our means.” It's not as though Park Service units are cheap; Josh Israel of ThinkProgress notes that the John F. Kennedy National Historical Site receives more than $500,000 every year and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site receives more than $4 million annually.
George W. Bush is one of America's least popular presidents in history, and his Midland home was never in the public eye. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, made his background in Hope, Arkansas a central part of his political story and his childhood home is now part of the Park Service. So what's the case for adding the George W. Bush childhood home to the Park Service? There isn't one.