Here's a question: Is "S&M" in the DSM? Yes indeedy. The authors probably don't say so, but it's widespread in the world of politics. What else would explain the motivation of those who engage in this torturous process or those of us who voluntarily watch? What else would explain the cruelty of those who ridicule Sarah Palin for needing a hand? For that matter, who else would use such a shameless cheap shot line like that, other than someone who has what the DSM labels an "Antisocial Personality Disorder"? But enough about me.

The publication could be a manual for politics: "Psychosis": A distorted view of reality. Check ... along with the subcategory "Delusional." They both explain the current insane ranting about "bipartisanship.” It's a figment of the imagination, people. It doesn't exist anymore! Get over it!

It's a lie, no matter how many group therapy sessions with Democrats and Republicans superegos the president calls at the White House. It’s just for show. About all they're good for is studying another condition that is so concentrated in Washington: narcissism. Around here that's not actually considered a disorder, it's more like a prerequisite, along with paranoia. There’s also the Obsessive-Compulsive Personality, which is imperative if you're a member of someone's staff.

The debate over just what dysfunctions to include and what to call them is not trivial. The stakes are high. What goes into DSM can have a tremendous influence, not only on treatment, but on what the insurance companies will cover. Not that they pay for much of anything anyway.

But still, the arguments over the new manual will go on for quite some time. It won't be completed for three more years, 2013. That's a good thing, because it's after the next presidential election, which should provide tons of material.

The DSM, by the way, is compiled by the American Psychiatric Association. It probably won't surprise anyone to find out APA is headquartered in the Washington area. Location, location, location.

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