DOUG THOMPSON, CAPITOL HILL BLUE - Buy beleaguered, overworked White House aides enough drinks and they tell a sordid tale of an administration under siege, beset by bitter staff infighting and led by a man whose mood swings suggest paranoia bordering on schizophrenia.
They describe a President whose public persona masks an angry, obscenity-spouting man who berates staff, unleashes tirades against those who disagree with him and ends meetings in the Oval Office with "get out of here!" In fact, George W. Bush's mood swings have become so drastic that White House emails often contain "weather reports" to warn of the President's demeanor. "Calm seas" means Bush is calm while "tornado alert" is a warning that he is pissed at the world.
Decreasing job approval ratings and increased criticism within his own party drives the President's paranoia even higher. Bush, in a meeting with senior advisors, called Senator Majority Leader Bill Frist a "god-damned traitor" for opposing him on stem-cell research. "There's real concern in the West Wing that the President is losing it," a high-level aide told me recently.
A year ago, this web site discovered the White House physician prescribed anti-depressants for Bush. The news came after revelations that the President's wide mood swings led some administration staffers to doubt his sanity.