On the record

In the latest of the don’t-let-the-door-hit-you-in-the-ass entries, Frank Rich assesses the George W. Bush legacy:

… [Karl] Rove has repeated a stunt he first fed to the press two years ago: he is once again claiming that he and Bush have an annual book-reading contest, with Bush chalking up as many as 95 books a year, by authors as hifalutin as Camus. This hagiographic portrait of Bush the Egghead might be easier to buy were the former national security official Richard Clarke not quoted in the new Vanity Fair saying that both Rice and her deputy, Stephen Hadley, had instructed him early on to keep his memos short because the president is “not a big reader.”

Another, far more elaborate example of legacy spin can be downloaded from the White House Web site: a booklet recounting “highlights” of the administration’s “accomplishments and results.” With big type, much white space, children’s-book-like trivia boxes titled “Did You Know?” and lots of color photos of the Bushes posing with blacks and troops, its 52 pages require a reading level closer to My Pet Goat than The Stranger.

Although Rich’s assessment of the vocabulary in the document is a bit extreme, it is indeed rather picture-heavy and dominated by bullet points. I think it’s peculiar that the administration wants to take credit for the ridiculous Medicare Part D prescription drug program. At least the authors don’t have the balls to make any claims about George Bush’s dedication to preserving scientific intergrity.