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Bush Using Drugs to Control Depression, Erratic Behavior
By TERESA HAMPTON
Capitol Hill Blue Jul 28, 2004
President George W. Bush is taking powerful anti-depressant drugs to control his erratic behavior, depression and paranoia, Capitol Hill Blue has learned.
The prescription drugs, administered by Col. Richard J. Tubb, the White House physician, can impair the President’s mental faculties and decrease both his physical capabilities and his ability to respond to a crisis, administration aides admit privately.
“It’s a double-edged sword,” says one aide. “We can’t have him flying off the handle at the slightest provocation but we also need a President who is alert mentally.”
Angry Bush walked away from reporter's questions. Tubb prescribed the anti-depressants after a clearly-upset Bush stormed off stage on July 8, refusing to answer reporters' questions about his relationship with indicted Enron executive Kenneth J. Lay.
“Keep those motherfuckers away from me,” he screamed at an aide backstage. “If you can’t, I’ll find someone who can.”
Bush’s mental stability has become the topic of Washington whispers in recent months. Capitol Hill Blue first reported on June 4 about increasing concern among White House aides over the President’s wide mood swings and obscene outbursts.
Although GOP loyalists dismissed the reports an anti-Bush propaganda, the reports were later confirmed by prominent George Washington University psychiatrist Dr. Justin Frank in his book Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President. Dr. Frank diagnosed the President as a “paranoid meglomaniac” and “untreated alcoholic” whose “lifelong streak of sadism, ranging from childhood pranks (using firecrackers to explode frogs) to insulting journalists, gloating over state executions and pumping his hand gleefully before the bombing of Baghdad” showcase Bush’s instabilities.
“I was really very unsettled by him and I started watching everything he did and reading what he wrote and watching him on videotape. I felt he was disturbed,” Dr. Frank said. “He fits the profile of a former drinker whose alcoholism has been arrested but not treated.”
Dr. Frank’s conclusions have been praised by other prominent psychiatrists, including Dr. James Grotstein, Professor at UCLA Medical Center, and Dr. Irvin Yalom, MD, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University Medical School.
The doctors also worry about the wisdom of giving powerful anti-depressant drugs to a person with a history of chemical dependency. Bush is an admitted alcoholic, although he never sought treatment in a formal program, and stories about his cocaine use as a younger man haunted his campaigns for Texas governor and his first campaign for President.
“President Bush is an untreated alcoholic with paranoid and megalomaniac tendencies,” Dr. Frank adds.
The White House did not return phone calls seeking comment on this article.
Although the exact drugs Bush takes to control his depression and behavior are not known, White House sources say they are “powerful medications” designed to bring his erratic actions under control. While Col. Tubb regularly releases a synopsis of the President’s annual physical, details of the President’s health and any drugs or treatment he may receive are not public record and are guarded zealously by the secretive cadre of aides that surround the President.
Veteran White House watchers say the ability to control information about Bush’s health, either physical or mental, is similar to Ronald Reagan’s second term when aides managed to conceal the President’s increasing memory lapses that signaled the onslaught of Alzheimer’s Disease.
It also brings back memories of Richard Nixon’s final days when the soon-to-resign President wandered the halls and talked to portraits of former Presidents. The stories didn’t emerge until after Nixon left office.
One long-time GOP political consultant who for obvious reasons asked not to be identified said he is advising his Republican Congressional candidates to keep their distance from Bush.
“We have to face the very real possibility that the President of the United States is loony tunes,” he says sadly. “That’s not good for my candidates, it’s not good for the party and it’s certainly not good for the country.”
© Copyright 2004 Capitol Hill Blue
Sullen, Depressed President Retreats Into Private, Paranoid World
By TERESA HAMPTON & WILLIAM D. McTAVISH
Capitol Hill Blue, Jul 29, 2004
A sullen President George W. Bush is withdrawing more and more from aides and senior staff, retreating into a private, paranoid world where only the ardent loyalists are welcome.
Cabinet officials, senior White House aides and leaders on Capitol Hill complain privately about the increasing lack of “face time” with the President and campaign advisors are worried the depressed President may not be up to the rigors of a tough re-election campaign.
“Yes, there are concerns,” a top Republican political advisor admitted privately Wednesday. “The George W. Bush we see today is not the same, gregarious, back-slapping President of old. He’s moody, distrustful and withdrawn.”
Bush Walks Alone Bush’s erratic behavior and sharp mood swings led White House physician Col. Richard J. Tubb to put the President on powerful anti-depressant drugs after he stormed off stage rather than answer reporters' questions about his relationship with indicted Enron executive Kenneth J. Lay, but White House insiders say the strong, prescription medications seem to increase Bush’s sullen behavior towards those around him.
“This is a President known for his ability to charm people one-on-one,” says a staff member to House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert. “Not any more.”
White House aides say Bush has retreated into a tightly-controlled environment where only top political advisors like Karl Rove and Karen Hughes are allowed. Even White House chief of staff Andrew Card complains he has less and less access to the President.
Among cabinet members, only Attorney General John Ashcroft, a fundamentalist who shares many of Bush’s strict religious convictions, remains part of the inner circle. White House aides call Bush and Ashcroft the “Blue Brothers” because, like the mythical movie characters, “both believe they are on a mission from God.”
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, the man most responsible for waging America’s war on terrorism, complains to staff that he gets very little time with the President and gets most of his marching orders lately from Ashcroft. Some on Ridge’s staff gripe privately that Ashcroft is “Bush’s Himmler,” a reference to Heinrich Himmler, Chief of the SS (the German Police) under Adolph Hitler.
“Too many make the mistake of thinking Dick Cheney is the real power in the Bush administration,” says one senior Homeland Security aide. “They’re wrong. It’s Ashcroft and that is reason enough for all of us to be very, very afraid.”
While Vice President Cheney remains part of Bush’s tight, inner circle, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has fallen out of favor and tells his staff that “no matter what happens in November, I’m outta here.”
White House aides say the West Wing has been overtaken by a “siege mentality,” where phone calls and emails are monitored and everyone is under suspicion for “disloyalty to the crown.”
“I was questioned about an email I sent out on my personal email account from home,” says one staffer. “When I asked how they got access to my personal email account, I was told that when I came to work at the White House I gave up any rights to privacy.”
Another staffer was questioned on why she once dated a registered Democrat.
“He voted for Bush in 2000,” she said, “but that didn’t seem to matter. Mary Matalin is married to James Carville and that’s all right but suddenly my loyalty is questioned because a former boyfriend was a Democrat?” Matalin, a Republican political operative and advisor to the Bush campaign, is the wife of former Bill Clinton political strategist James Carville.
Psychiatrists say the increasing paranoia at the White House is symptomatic of Bush’s “paranoid, delusional personality.”
Dr. Justin Frank, a prominent Washington psychiatrist and author of the book, Bush on the Couch, Inside the Mind of the President, says the President suffers from “character pathology,” including “grandiosity” and “megalomania” viewing himself, America and God as interchangeable.
Dr. Frank also concludes that Bush’s years of heavy drinking “may have affected his brain function and his decision to quit drinking without the help of a 12-step programs puts him at a far higher risk of relapse.”
Whatever the cause for the President’s increasing paranoia and delusions, veteran White House watchers see a strong parallel with another Republican president from 30 years ago.
“From what people who work there now tell me, this White House looks more and more like the White House of Richard M. Nixon,” says retired political science professor George Harleigh, who worked in the Nixon White House. “It may be 2004 but it is starting to seem more like 1974 (the year Nixon resigned in disgrace).”
© Copyright 2004 Capitol Hill Blue
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