carefully-crafted image of George W. Bush as a
bold, decisive leader is cracking under the weight
of new revelations that the erratic President
is indecisive, moody, paranoid and delusional.
and more this brings back memories of the Nixon
White House," says retired political science professor
George Harleigh, who worked for President Nixon
during the second presidential term that ended
in resignation under fire. "I haven't heard any
reports of President Bush wondering the halls
talking to portraits of dead Presidents but what
I have been told is disturbing."
weeks ago, Capitol Hill Blue revealed that a growing
number of White House aides are concerned about
the President's mental stability. They told harrowing
tales of violent mood swings, bouts with paranoia
and obscene outbursts from a President who wears
his religion on his sleeve.
supporters of President Bush dismissed the reports
as "fantasies from anonymous sources," a new book
by Dr. Justin Frank, director of psychiatry at
George Washington University, raises many similar
questions about the President's mental stability.
W. Bush is a case study in contradiction," Dr.
Frank writes in Bush On The Couch: Inside the
Mind of the President. "Bush is an untreated ex-alcoholic
with paranoid and megalomaniac tendencies."
addition, a new film by documentary filmmaker,
and frequent Bush critic, Michael Moore shows
the President indecisive and clearly befuddled
when he learned about the terrorist attacks on
the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
conservative critics who have not yet seen Fahrenheit
9/11 dismiss the work as an anti-Bush screed,
Roger Friedman of the normally pro-Bush Fox News
Network has seen the film and calls it "a tribute
to patriotism, to the American sense of duty--and
at the same time a indictment of stupidity and
also says the films "most indelible moment" comes
when Bush, speaking to a group of school kids
in Florida, is first informed of the 9/11 attacks.
of jumping up and leaving, he instead sat in front
of the class, with an unfortunate look of confusion,
for nearly 11 minutes," Friedman says. "Moore
obtained the footage from a teacher at the school
who videotaped the morning program. There Bush
sits, with no access to his advisers, while New
York is being viciously attacked. I guarantee
you that no one who sees this film forgets this
Frank says the episode is typical of how Bush
deals with death and tragedy. He notes that Bush
Bush has not attended a single funeral - other
than that of President Reagan. In my book I explore
some possible reasons for that, whether or not
it is "presidential". I am less interested in
judging his behavior on political grounds than
I am in thinking about its meaning both to him
and to the rest of us," Dr. Frank says. "He has
spent a lifetime of avoiding grief, starting with
the death of his sister when he was 7 years old.
His parents didn't help him with what must have
been confusing and frightening feelings. He also
has a history of evading responsibility and perhaps
his not attending funerals has to do with not
wanting to see the damage his policies have wrought."
his book, Dr. Frank also suggests Bush resents
those in the military.
behavior strongly suggests an unconscious resentment
toward our own servicemen, whose bravery puts
his own (nonexistent) wartime service record to
shame," he wrote.
of President Bush dismiss Frank's book as the
work of a Democrat who once headed the Washington
Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility,
but his work has 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
Carolyn Williams, a psychoanalyst who specializes
in paranoid personalities, is a registered Republican
and agrees with most of Dr. Frank's conclusions.
find the bulk of his analysis credible," she said
in an interview. "President Bush grew up dealing
with an absent but demanding father, a tough mother
and an overachieving brother. All left indelible
impressions on him along with a desire to prove
himself at all cost because he feels surrounded
by disapproval. He behavior suggests a classic
paranoid personality. Additionally, his stated
belief that certain actions are 'God's Will' are
symptomatic of delusional behavior."
Reynolds, a childhood friend of Bush, concurs.
wanted to please his father but never felt he
measured up, especially when compared to Jeb,"
Williams wonders if the Iraq war was not Bush's
way of "proving he could finish something his
father could not by deposing Saddam Hussein."
Bush's desire to please his father may have backfired.
Former President George H.W. Bush has remained
silent publicly about the war, saying he will
only discuss it with his son "in private." Close
aides say that is because he disapproves of his
son's actions against Iraq.
President Bush does not support the war against
Iraq," says former aide John Ruskin. "It is as
simple at that."
current White House aides and officials would
not allow their names to be used when commenting
about Bush's erratic behavior, others like former
Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill confirm concerns
about Bush's mood swings.
says Bush was moody in cabinet meetings and would
wander off on tangents, mostly about Saddam Hussein
and Iraq. Bush, O'Neill says, seemed more focused
on Iraq than on finding Osama bin Laden and would
lash out at anyone who disagreed with him.
says it is not unusual for White House staffers
to refuse to go public with their concerns about
the President's behavior.
saw the same thing in the Nixon years," he says.
"What is unusual is that the White House has not
been able to trot out even one staffer who is
willing to go public and say positive things about
the President's mental condition. That says more
than anything else."
Frank, the Democrat, says the only diagnosis he
can offer for the President's condition is removal
Williams, the Republican, says she must "reluctantly
have too many unanswered questions about the President's
behavior," she says. "You cannot have those kinds
of unanswered questions when you are talking about
the leader of the free world."
Copyright 2004 by Capitol Hill Blue
Posted: June 21, 2004