White House year in review long on propaganda and short on facts

    It was a tough year for President George W. Bush, marked by a drop in public support for the Iraq war, legislative setbacks on Social Security and arctic oil drilling and a politically disastrous initial response to Hurricane Katrina but you wouldn’t know it from the propaganda issued by the White House Thursday.

    According to a White House “fact” sheet, 2005 was a year full of “accomplishments” — six, single-spaced pages worth distributed to reporters as Bush left town for his holiday break. The document, long on hyperbole and short on facts, ignored what most of the country already knows went wrong in the past year.

    The White House list of accomplishments included elections in Iraq, Senate confirmation of John Roberts to the Supreme Court and the first national energy plan in more than a decade. Bush is “advancing his agenda” and passing “legislation important to the American people,” the fact sheet declares.

    “This has been a year of strong progress toward a freer, more peaceful world and a prosperous America,” said Bush, whose approval ratings have improved somewhat in recent days after touching all-time lows in 2005.

    But several of the “accomplishments” touted in the White House fact sheet are anything but accomplished, top among them the Patriot Act, the first item listed under the headline “A week of accomplishments.”

    Far from the outcome sought by the president, Congress appeared poised to approve only a short-term extension of key Patriot Act provisions due to expire at the end of the month.

    Under the headline “The president nominated well-qualified candidates to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Bush made no mention of his failed nomination of Harriet Miers, who withdrew under fierce attack from conservatives.

    Under the headline “The president is acting to help the Gulf Coast recover from natural disaster,” Bush touted more than $70 billion in hurricane-related assistance.

    Left out was any mention of the slow and bundled federal response to Katrina, which angered many Americans and which Bush himself called appalling.