Whitehouse.gov features biographical and other information on every president. As a baseline source of data, it works very well.
So, preparing for the anniversary of Millard Fillmore’s birth (January 7, 1800), I was checking details at the site, and I noted that it carried a “related links” box.
Millard Fillmore is widely considered to be one of the worst, or most inactive, presidents in U.S. history. He was an accidental president, taking office on the death of Zachary Taylor. Trying to avoid controversy and confrontation he let fester many of the problems that would lead to the Civil War. He was a one-term president — his own party refused to nominate him for election on his own, in 1852. After the Whig Party crashed and burned, Fillmore accepted the nomination of the American Party, more commonly known as the Know-Nothing Party, in 1856. “Millard Fillmore” is shorthand for “failed presidency” in most lexicons.
So, what should we make of the box on the page, “Related Links,” which points to President George W. Bush?
Okay, okay. I see that exactly the same box comes up regardless which president’s biography one is viewing. Still, it gave me a start to see that on an official White House page.
So, if it doesn’t link Bush to Fillmore, doesn’t it at least show an overweening, cloying tendency to insinuate Bush into everything? Why wouldn’t a viewer of the biography of President Buchanan regard a link to Washington’s biography, or Lincoln’s, as more related than a link to a biography of Laura Bush? Is the White House that hard up for good mentions on the internet that they need to put that box there? Why is that link there?