By: Dana Blankenhorn

It’s a tough question that grew more urgent to me yesterday, when I watched George W. Bush comparing Iraq to World War II while New Orleans sank under Lake Pontchartrain.

If you look at the article on the syndrome posted at About.Com, the answer would have to be “no.” The article states tha the “dry drunk” has never gotten through the grieving process in the loss of alcohol, and recommends several steps toward recovery, which Bush seems to have engaged in:

Develop a hobby.

Get healthy.

Improve your mind.

Spend time with your family.

But in his book “Bush on the Couch,” Dr. Justin Frank insists he is just that, and more. He blames his mother, former First Lady Barbara Bush, calling her emotionally distant, and says the death of his sister Robin triggered things.

The untreated alcoholic who has simply stopped drinking treats anxiety as an enemy, and with good reason: He is often more challenged by anxiety because he has lost his time-tested means of numbing its sting…Bush manages his anxiety through his inflexible daily routines…

But when routines fail, denial kicks in as the treatment of choice to manage the potential development of internal chaos.

The President’s August stands as a great example of denial and routine. He abandoned his Crawford vacation when directly challenged by Cindy Sheehan’s “Camp Casey,” and then we had the San Diego trip, where he spread the delusional idea that the Iraq War (where citizens have not been asked to sacrifice) is a precise analogue of World War II (where it was demanded of everyone).

In an interview for Capitol Hill Blue, Frank calls Bush a bully who is driven by fear, and says this is part-and-parcel of the syndrome.

“The pattern of blame and denial, which recovering alcoholics work so hard to break, seems to be ingrained in the alcoholic personality; it’s rarely limited to his or her drinking,” he says. “The habit of placing blame and denying responsibility is so prevalent in George W. Bush’s personal history that it is apparently triggered by even the mildest threat.”

In his book, Dr. Frank also speculates that Bush sometimes drinks, but without evidence I have to consider that a spurious charge, over-the-top.

The charge is not new. In the liberal press, Katherine Van Wormer made it in 2002, at the height of Bush’s popularity, and treated it as old news. Malachy McCourt went further in his short 2004 book, Bush Lies in State, saying he’s still an alcoholic:

Unfortunately, the charge has yet to be taken-up by conservatives and, as a result, it has not been given any credence by the mainstream media.

However the idea of Bush as a dry drunk is flowing increasingly through the blogosphere, becoming a meme. Here it is and here it is and here it is again. (Want more? Here.)

Many, many stories that networks and big newspapers didn’t want covered have become common currency in the last few years, driven by the demands of ordinary bloggers.

Will this be another one?

Dana Blankenhorn
Mooreslore Blog
ZDNet OpenSource
Editor:, A-Clue.Com