Conservatives are having a laugh after it surfaced that the official presidential biographies on the White House website have been updated to inject President Obama into history. But kidding aside, this is a truly disgraceful behavior. In the most egregious example, noted by the Heritage Foundation's Rory Cooper, the official Ronald Reagan biography is appended with the note: "In a June 28, 1985 speech Reagan called for a fairer tax code, one where a multi-millionaire did not have a lower tax rate than his secretary. Today, President Obama is calling for the same with the Buffet Rule." (Over at Commentary, Seth Mandel has a roundup of more examples.) Put aside the fact that what Reagan wasproposing in 1985 had nothing to do with the Buffett Rule. Obama should not vandalize his predecessors' biographies to promote his own agenda.
Obviously, as president, Obama can use the tools of the White House to advance his goals. But at the same time, all presidents are to some extent guardians of the institution. Sure, a lot of the White House website is naturally going to be used to promote Obama, but there are some areas that should be considered neutral ground -- one of them being the history sections. White House presidential biographies are the type of thing that school kids read and they should be able to do so without being bombarded by propaganda for whoever is in power. I'm sure that during the Social Security debate in 2005, if President Bush had updated the biographical page to say that he was trying to preserve FDR's original vision for Social Security, liberals would have been up in arms. And if Mitt Romney wins in November, I'm sure liberals won't want him to use the presidential biographies for self-promotion, either.
Obama should get beyond his own narcissism and realize that, win or lose in November, he's just a temporary part of something that's bigger than himself.