When I first saw this at Blah3, I had to check and make sure it wasn’t a link to a story from the Onion. Then a quick Google search and I found this from the Washington Times (scroll down to “Unlikely recipient”):
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, who recently accused President Bush of perpetrating a fraud on the American people in regard to the prewar threat from Iraq, will receive the 2003 George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service.
…Former President Bush will present the award, which previously went to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the Associated Press reports.
Former President Bush has sole discretion on who receives the award, said Penrod Thornton of the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation.
Blah3 has more excerpts from the Boston Globe, excerpts with a lot of speculation that this is tantamount to a public paternal rebuke of Bush II’s foreign policy.
That seems like a stretch, but I’m at a loss for a better interpretation. If Kennedy had simply gone along with the Leave No Child Behind stuff and then kept his mouth shut, that would be one thing. Instead, since that time, he’s been one of the administration’s loudest and most direct critics (which explains the 78% increase in references to “Mary Jo Kopechne” this year).