An uncivil war rages inside the walls of the West Wing of the White
House, a bitter, acrimonious war driven by a failed agenda, destroyed credibility,
dwindling public support and a President who lapses into Alzheimer-like periods
of incoherent babbling.
On one side are the dwindling numbers of die-hard loyalists to President George
W. Bush, those who support his actions and decisions without question and remain
committed to both Bush and scandal-scarred political advisor Karl Rove.
On the other side are the increasing numbers of those who say Rove must go
and who worry about the President's declining mental state and his ability to
restore credibility with Congress, our foreign allies and the American people.
The war erupted into full-blown shout fests at Camp David this past weekend
where decorum broke down in staff meetings and longtime aides threatened to
quit unless Rove goes. Insiders say Chief of Staff Andrew Card now leads the
anti-Rove legions and has told Bush that he wants out of the high-pressure job.
White House staff members say the White House is “like a wartime bunker”
where shell-shocked aides hide from those who disagree with their actions and
office pools speculate on how long certain senior aides will last.
Bush, whose obscenity-laced temper tantrums increase with each new
setback and scandal, abruptly ended one Camp David meeting by telling everyone
in the room to “go fuck yourselves” before he stalked out of the
Senior aides describe Bush as increasingly “edgy” or “nervous”
or “unfocused.” They say the President goes from apparent coherent
thought one moment to aimless rambles about political enemies and those who
are “out to get me.”
“It’s worse than the days when Ronald Reagan’s Alzheimer’s
began setting in,” one longtime GOP operative told me privately this week.
“You don’t know if he’s going to be coherent from one moment
to the next. What scares me is if he lapses into one of those fogs during a
Aides say Bush, who has always had trouble focusing during times of stress,
is increasingly distant during meetings, often staring off into space during
discussions on the nation’s security and other issues.
Card has responded to the crisis by cutting back on the number of staff members
with direct access to the President and jumping in to answer questions when
Bush’s mind wanders.
“Some people say Karl Rove is ‘Bush’s brain,’”
says one increasingly-concerned West Winger. “Well Andy has become the
President’s voice. He’s there to speak when the President seems
unable to find form an answer.”
Bush’s mental state is a hot topic on Internet blogs and has increased
since this web site disclosed last year that the White House physician had placed
the President on anti-depressant medication – a story the administration
never denied. Others, including prominent psychiatrists like Dr. Justin Frank
of George Washington University, wonder if Bush, an admitted heavy drinker who
claims he quit without any professional help, is hitting the bottle again.
An increasing number of mainstream media outlets, including Newsweek, The Washington
Post and the New York Daily News recently confirmed our earlier reports about
Bush’s temper tantrums.
“Bush usually reserves his celebrated temper for senior aides because
he knows they can take it,” the Daily News reported. “Lately, however,
some junior staffers also have faced the boss’s wrath.”
“This is not some manager at McDonald’s chewing out the help,"
a source with close ties to the White House told the paper. “This is the
president of the United States, and it’s not a pleasant sight.”
Bush loyalists claim the President can survive his current spate of political
troubles and emerge stronger than ever but an increasing number of White House
aides express increasing doubt. Some even go so far as to speculate if the President’s
deteriorating mental condition can survive another three years in office.
“The President has lost his focus, his ability to govern and the trust
of the American people,” says one longtime GOP operative. “Those
are things that are difficult to recapture when you’re on top of your
game and this President has taken one too many blows to the head.”