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January 31, 2013 1:35 PM The Mythical Parking Lot of Liberal Government Overreach

By Daniel Luzer

The University of Chicago, where President Barack Obama taught law for several years before his election to the U.S. senate, is a very likely candidate to host Obama’s presidential library.

But what will construction look like? What could go down to make way for Obama Central? Yesterday journalists ran with the news that, oh horror of horrors, U of C was planning to raze one of Ronald Reagan’s childhood houses (below) to make way for an Obama library parking lot. This is not true. Well, not exactly.

832E57thSt

According to a piece at News Max:

The University of Chicago Medical Center has announced plans to turn Ronald Reagan’s childhood home in Chicago into a parking lot for President Barack Obama’s library.
The Commission on Chicago Landmarks previously denied the Gipper’s home landmark status in 2012, according to The Washington Times, and the university subsequently scheduled demolition to begin in January. Officials claim the home does not reach landmark status.

Not really.

The University of Chicago will not be bulldozing the house where Reagan briefly lived as a child to make way for the cars of Obama supporters and researchers. As Asawin Suebsaeng explains at Mother Jones:

There is no actual evidence that the University of Chicago (an institution long famous for promoting economic theories that could fairly be classified as “Reaganomics”) is planning to flatten one of Reagan’s former homes for the sake of an Obama parking lot. First of all, the location of Obama’s inevitable presidential library hasn’t even been decided yet—the stiff competition has come down to the University of Chicago and the University of Hawaii.

This effectively undermines the “liberal academia undermines Mr. Awesome Hollywood Republican saint to make way for socialist black guy” narrative that ran through the Republican media echo chamber yesterday. We don’t even know what time zone the Obama library will be in yet, much less where visitors to it are to supposed to park.

But the U of C is going to destroy the Reagan house. Just don’t blame the liberals. Suebsaeng:

“832 E. 57th St. is one of a number of vacant buildings the University owns that will be taken down to allow for expansion of the medical and biological research campus,” Jeremy Manier, news director at the University of Chicago, wrote in a email…. “The University’s permit request currently is under review by the city. Recent media reports that have speculated on other potential uses of the property are inaccurate.”

Ronald Reagan lived at 832 E. 57th St for about a year in the house and celebrated his 4th birthday there.

The Commission on Chicago Landmarks (more or less accurately) determined the house “is not architecturally significant and the nation’s 40th president did nothing notable while living there.” [Image via]

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer

Comments

  • bluestatedon on February 01, 2013 9:13 AM:

    The next logical outrage for the wingnuts is the proposed demolition of an old Mobil gas station on route 97 southwest of Peoria, where Reagan bought gas and took a dump in 1933.