On July 8th, the same day that Kenneth Lay was being led to court in handcuffs where he would later plead innocent to various charges of conspiracy and fraud and so on and so forth, George W. Bush fled from a press conference like a startled gnome, refusing point-blank to answer questions concerning his relationship with the bent-as-a-bender ex-Enron CEO.
He is also alleged to have hissed to an aide once he'd made it backstage, "Keep those motherfuckers away from me. If you can't, I'll find someone who can." This is just one recent example of what has since been described as the President's increasingly erratic behaviour. Then there's the paranoia. Not to mention the depression. No wonder then, that after the abovementioned little scene, the President was immediately placed on 'powerful anti-depressant drugs' by White House physician Colonel Richard J. Tubb.
Or so claims an article published on Wednesday by online magazine Capitol Hill Blue. Unfortunately, the various claims made in the article, entitled 'Bush Using Drugs to Control Depression, Erratic Behavior', suffers from what could easily be described as an overall air of vagueness. The key sources are all unnamed for one thing, as is the drug the President is alleged to be taking.
But putting that to one side for just a moment or two, wouldn't it be magnificent if it were true? It'd make a blinding denouement to the mad President's first and only term.
According to the story, administration aides have admitted privately that the prescription drugs could, amongst other things, 'impair the President's mental faculties.' Crikey. The last thing anyone needs is for the man who said in March, "God loves you, and I love you. And you can count on both of us as a powerful message that people who wonder about their future can hear" to have his mental faculties impaired. Another aide describes the President's condition as a double-edged sword. "We can't have him flying off the handle at the slightest provocation but we also need a President who is alert mentally." Yikes. Stable door. Bolt. But where the heck is that horse?
Still, although the accusations have been dismissed by Republican supporters as unfounded anti-Bush propaganda, and by Bush-haters as simply too good to be true, Capitol Hill Blue have found a supporter in Dr Justin A. Frank, who is no doubt happy for any opportunity to plug his recently-published book, 'Bush on the Couch, Inside the Mind of the President'.
Frank says he's been watching the President closely for some time now, and is firmly of the opinion that he 'is an untreated alcoholic with paranoid and megalomaniac tendencies'. Well, book-plugging or not, there's no doubt that he may well have a point about the megalomania. "God loves you, and I love you. And you can count on both of us..."
Yesterday CHB printed a follow-up story, 'Sullen, Depressed President Retreats Into Private, Paranoid World,' which kind of made us feel that whether this turns out to be true or not, they should probably stop trying to appeal to the Onion crowd if they want to be taken seriously at all.
Still, the story itself yet again proved irresistible. It centred on yet more unnamed but thoroughly believable White House 'staffers' and 'top advisors' telling tales of increasing paranoia within the Bush Camp. Apparently, 'The George W. Bush we see today is not the same, gregarious, back-slapping President of old. He's moody, distrustful and withdrawn.' So much so that he now rarely sees anyone for 'face time', whatever that may be, except Karl Rove and Karen Hughes, and there is a kind of 'siege mentality' in the White House, with private phone calls and emails being monitored and scoured for signs of disloyalty. Well, there you go.
There are probably some people of you reading this who consider it wrong to wish a prescription drugs problem on a man who has already had serious issues with alcohol and cocaine, but we really can't help ourselves. Just please let it all come out some time over the next couple of months that Bush is popping 60 pills a day and is deeply unstable and then surely, surely to God it'll all be over.
But then again, realistically, probably not. We were forgetting for a moment what kind of people we were dealing with here. We forgot about the lessons Rush Limbaugh taught us. Rush was busted doing ninety miles an hour in his front room with hillbilly heroin bubbling over his eyelids and it didn't seem to do him any harm at all. So even if Capitol Hill Blue's sources do go on record and even if Bush is outed as a highly unstable, obnoxious-outburst-avoiding, pill-necking junkie, it probably won't make a blind bit of difference. He'll still be back in the not-seat come December. Probably.
Time for a cartoon.