Somebody named M.J. Smith (no relation, thank god) wrote the following missive which appeared in the letters column of the local daily newspaper this morning:
“The Taubman Museum of Art is a classic example of liberal elitists throwing huge amounts of money at any issue and then, when it inevitably fails, throwing even more money at it … I, therefore, recommend that the art museum be renamed the Liberalism Memorial, and all big government elitists, members of academia and most journalists could make an annual migration to Roanoke to worship at its doorstep. With the national attention it will receive, it then can be absorbed into our $14 trillion debt.”
The only real problem with that is that it is completely wrong. The Taubman was built by and for conservatives and is maintained by conservative financial support, often using state and federal dollars that they are milking in direct opposition to their stated philosophies.
The fact is that the Taubman is the brainchild of Heywood Fralin, a long-time Republican businessman whose son William served in Virginia’s House (as a Republican) when the Taubman Museum was soliciting funds. Nicholas Taubman, for whom the museum is named (along with his wife Jenny) and who gave a reported $25 million to its construction, held an ambassadorship during the Bush Administration. Democrats didn’t get those positions. Big donors did.
Morgan Griffith of Salem, the former majority leader of the Virginia House of Delegates and a man loudly and publicly opposed to money for the arts, helped spearhead the generous support the General Assembly gave and Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte did the same on the national level. Among the people who financially support them are Taubman board members.
Hasn’t started sounding too liberal yet, so I’m wondering where M.J. came up with his thesis. Maybe it’s the notion that Democrats are “elitists,” when the idea of “American exceptionalism” is strictly a Republican invention or maybe that Democrats are far more creative than Republicans.
Hmmm. Maybe that’s it. He mentioned academics and journalists in his little message and perhaps he assumes academics and journalists are creative and intelligent and un-American. That has to be it.