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It’s Good to be the President When You Visit Gettysburg National Military Park


Why is this man smiling? Eric Walker photo via Wikipedia.

In the classic movie History of the World Part II, actor/writer/producer Mel Brooks, playing French “Sun King” Louis XIV, looks toward the audience and remarks: “It’s Good to be the King.” Well, at least where visiting national parks is concerned, “It’s Good to be the President.”

Consider the special treatment that President George W. Bush received during his Friday, September 5, afternoon tour of Gettysburg National Military Park.

You and I will have to wait until the grand opening on September 26 before we can finally tour the park’s new Museum and Visitor Center. But you just don’t keep the prez waiting. He saw it all – the restored Gettysburg Cyclorama, the galleries and artifacts, the Gettysburg film, the whole shebang -- and he didn’t pay that noxious admission fee we’ve been threatened with, either.

You and I have to dig down deep for the $55 needed to hire a licensed guide for our battlefield tour. No such problem for the prez (who never carries cash or credit cards, anyway), because he was supplied with the no-charge guide services of Gabor Boritt, the Robert Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies and Director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College. (Professor Boritt, who has written 16 books about Lincoln and the Civil War, knows a thing or two about Gettysburg, you betcha; if he ever offered to give me a personal tour of Gettysburg, I’d ask him if it would be OK to bring along 500 of my closest friends.)

When you or I visit Gettysburg, nobody gives a damn. But when the prez visits, well, that’s a whole ‘nuther matter. The tour was a media event (which is why I know about it), the chairman of the Gettysburg Foundation was there, and the friends and associates invited to join the president welcomed the opportunity (or at least they said they did). Education Secretary Margaret Spellings was on hand, and so were some notable formers – including former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former White House political adviser Karl Rove, and former Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Karen Hughes.

The prez was invited to return later this month to attend the grand opening of the Museum and Visitor Center. He declined, of course. ‘Been there, done that.

It’s Good to be the President.


I usually enjoy reading your blog entries, but what the heck is your problem with the President getting an advance tour of this precious national treasure? I guarantee that every President gets this type of privilege, whether you are a supporter of that President or not. And, I also guarantee that if you were a supporter of the sitting President, this article wouldn't even have appeared. It's just this type of inane, snarky, sarcastic sniping a la The Daily Show and The Colbert Report that continues to snuff out any real discourse or cohesion in this country, and I fear our young people have largely learned to deal with these matters ONLY with this mindset. You, and we, are better than this. I'm not a major proponent of Bush, but I also am not a proponent of this constant disrespect and childish rancor shown to our leaders. If it was Clinton or Obama or McCain or Nader or whomever that was currently our President, I'd have no problem with this type of "special treatment".

I think it's great that the POTUS is visiting what has to be one of the most hallowed places in our country. I wish I was there with him. I'd give him a free tour also. But... he doesn't need me when he has an incredible author and guide like Mr. Boritt, who happens to live there, by the way. Who cares if he doesn't wait in line, doesn't pony up the admission fee, or gets free tours. This is a guy that works all day every day on behalf of our country..... he's the President, for God's sake. I just wish he'd get to other places in this great country.

I realize that your personal pride in the product you post is in full swing, but the first response to your blog pretty much covers the maturity of your current product. All you accomplished with your rant was show a pretty advanced case of BDS.

This is certainly not an objective view of National Parks. You've failed to understand and learn one thing those of who have worked for government have learned, that the more things change the more they stay the same. All Presidents get special treatment when they visit ANYWHERE. I should know, my husband was a Secret Service agent for 28 years. You just outed your political persuasions and Democrats are really bitter people, aren't they? You still can't over losing an election eight years ago. I'm sure you will have the same bitter feelings when you lose again this time so you'd better be prepared. May I suggest meds and a good psychiatrist to overcome those negative feelings. They aren't healthy and you've still get a long way to go. Until then, please bite your fingers before you post any further immature MySpace-like crap. Then again, maybe your're just upset you weren't given the same treatment. Get over it.

Please note that I've added the following comment at the beginning of the referenced article: **Warning: If you do not understand the concept of satire, do not read this article!!** [Ed. The warning's been removed, having failed to serve its purpose. Nastygrams continue to pour in. Where's a foxhole when you need it?]

Bob Janiskee;

I am pleased & amused by your sortie into the satiric & sardonic. A wise move (tho wisdom is seldom cheap, much less free...).

Naturalistic & ecological venues have long been cursed by their stuffed & anal demeanor. Those who learn to loosen up the treatment will move ahead, while those who stay behind, will, um, stay behind?

Yeah - like the Prez is going to pull up to the Hurricane Ridge road toll-booth and hold up traffic while the attendent tries to sell him an annual pass! Bwa! ha! ha! ha! ha!

... And as for the live ammo flying overhead & riddling your igornant page: "Call me anything you want, just don't call me late for dinner!". ;-)

Well, that was a total waste of time.

Shouldn't satire have some sort of comedic content?

Obviously there are true Die Hard Republicans that cannot take any joking. Most high ranking Government personnel do not have to pay to visit certain site within the United States, it has always been that way and will always be that way. People need to get over that.

Your Humor was refreshing, thank you.

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