September 5, 2013
President Obama has appointed EPPC Senior Fellow Bruce Cole to serve on the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission. Dr. Cole, a member of the board of advisers for the National Civic Art Society and former National Endowment for the Humanities chairman, has been a leading critic of Frank Gehry’s design for the Eisenhower Memorial.
EPPC President Ed Whelan noted that the appointment of Dr. Cole “ought to encourage those who, as Bruce puts it, don’t want to ‘squander their tax dollars on an inappropriate monument to a great American.’”
From the AP:
Gehry has proposed a memorial park with statues and images of Eisenhower as president, World War II hero and as a young boy from Kansas. Large metal tapestries and large columns would frame the park, with images depicting the Kansas landscape of Eisenhower’s boyhood home.
If the design is approved, “the nation will wind up with a monumental farce,” Cole wrote in The Washington Examiner in February 2012. He called the design “a cross between an amusement park and a golf course, which thumbs its nose at the neo-classical style of the great presidential monuments to Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln.” In The Weekly Standard, Cole wrote that the Gehry design is “unintelligible” and “more about his ego than about Ike.”
This is Obama’s first appointment to the bipartisan memorial commission, which was formed under former President Bill Clinton. Cole fills a Republican seat vacated by Eisenhower’s grandson, David Eisenhower. The seat has been vacant since late 2011 when David Eisenhower left the commission.
“I’m all in favor of building a memorial to President Eisenhower. I think that’s an important thing the nation should do, and I’m very honored to be on this commission,” [Cole] said. “I hope that I’ll be able to work with the commission and bring, I hope, a diversity of opinion.”