The Bushes' "Modest" Dallas Manse

A story I heard this morning on Morning Edition on NPR reminded me yet again of Americans' outlandish sense of what makes for a reasonable house, even in Texas, where everything truly is bigger.

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That President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush are moving to Dallas is not news, nor should it come as any surprise that the presidential couple's house is large and luxurious by any standard, but what did shock me was the assessment of Candy Evans, D Magazine reporter who broke the story, and the failure of anyone at Morning Edition to point it out.

Evans said to NPR, "8,500 square feet—I know it sounds like a lot, but actually that's not a really huge home. When you start talking 15 and 20,000, those are the big mamas."

Granted 8,500 square feet pales in comparison to the White House's 55,000, but Evans' notion that one need climb well into 5 digits to really have a big house is absurd. I understand that the Bushes must plan for a security detail for the rest of their lives, necessitating a larger living space, but as long as Americans accept, laugh off, or refuse to challenge the idea that only with the 12th bedroom does one really hit the threshold of ostentation, we'll keep seeing residential behemoths, and the foreclosure signs bound to come with them.

Photo by Tom Pennington courtesy of Getty Images

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