George W. Bush's increasingly erratic behavior and
wide mood swings has the halls of the West Wing
buzzing lately as aides privately express growing
concern over their leader's state of mind.
meetings with top aides and administration officials,
the President goes from quoting the Bible in one
breath to obscene tantrums against the media,
Democrats and others that he classifies as "enemies
of the state."
White House aides paint a portrait of a man on
the edge, increasingly wary of those who disagree
with him and paranoid of a public that no longer
trusts his policies in Iraq or at home.
reminds me of the Nixon days," says a longtime
GOP political consultant with contacts in the
White House. "Everybody is an enemy; everybody
is out to get him. That's the mood over there."
interviews with a number of White House staffers
who were willing to talk off the record, a picture
of an administration under siege has emerged,
led by a man who declares his decisions to be
"God's will" and then tells aides to
"fuck over" anyone they consider to
be an opponent of the administration.
at war, there's no doubt about it. What I don't
know anymore is just who the enemy might be,"
says one troubled White House aide. "We seem
to spend more time trying to destroy John Kerry
than al Qaeda and our enemies list just keeps
growing and growing."
say the President gets "hung up on minor
details," micromanaging to the extreme while
ignoring the bigger picture. He will spend hours
personally reviewing and approving every attack
ad against his Democratic opponent and then kiss
off a meeting on economic issues.
is what is killing us on Iraq," one aide
says. "We lost focus. The President got hung
up on the weapons of mass destruction and an unproven
link to al Qaeda. We could have found other justifiable
reasons for the war but the President insisted
the focus stay on those two, tenuous items."
who raise questions quickly find themselves shut
out of access to the President or other top advisors.
Among top officials, Bush's inner circle is shrinking.
Secretary of State Colin Powell has fallen out
of favor because of his growing doubts about the
administration's war against Iraq.
President's abrupt dismissal of CIA Directory
George Tenet Wednesday night is, aides say, an
example of how he works.
wanted to quit last year but the President got
his back up and wouldn't hear of it," says
an aide. "That would have been the opportune
time to make a change, not in the middle of an
election campaign but when the director challenged
the President during the meeting Wednesday, the
President cut him off by saying 'that's it George.
I cannot abide disloyalty. I want your resignation
and I want it now.'"
was allowed to resign "voluntarily"
and Bush informed his shocked staff of the decision
Thursday morning. One aide says the President
actually described the decision as "God's
may also be the reason Attorney General John Ashcroft,
the administration's lightning rod because of
his questionable actions that critics argue threatens
freedoms granted by the Constitution, remains
part of the power elite. West Wing staffers call
Bush and Ashcroft "the Blues Brothers"
because "they're on a mission from God."
Attorney General is tight with the President because
of religion," says one aide. "They both
believe any action is justifiable in the name
the President who says he rules at the behest
of God can also tongue-lash those he perceives
as disloyal, calling them "fucking assholes"
in front of other staff, berating one cabinet
official in front of others and labeling anyone
who disagrees with him "unpatriotic"
mood here is that we're under siege, there's no
doubt about it," says one troubled aide who
admits he is looking for work elsewhere. "In
this administration, you don't have to wear a
turban or speak Farsi to be an enemy of the United
States. All you have to do is disagree with the
White House did not respond to requests for comment
on the record.
Copyright 2004 Capitol Hill Blue
Posted: June 13, 2004