Twitter is aflame these days with high-ranking former Obama aides. Liberated from any official constraints, overflowing with opinions and no small measure of old resentments at political foes and the news media, they are letting the world know what they really think — and seemingly enjoying themselves no end while doing so.

In the process, they are offering an unequaled window into the culture of the Obama West Wing. The brash, argumentative, sarcastic, often humorous, never-in-doubt ethos long familiar to reporters and other Washington operatives can now be followed by everyone in real time.

The Twitter alumni network has a distinctly male cast — it also includes Jon Lovett, Bill Burton, Ben LaBolt and even David Axelrod — and their frat-house banter serves a dual purpose for the Obama White House. It is an influential surrogate group, shaping the national debate while offering a relief valve for the pent-up frustrations of current administration officials…

Peter Baker, a New York Times White House correspondent who has covered the past three administrations, said in an interview that much of what he is reading from the Obamaites has a familiar ring. The message is “about scoring points. … There’s no break between elections any more: When you read these feeds, you feel like you’re in September or October of an even-numbered year, not the spring of an odd-numbered year. They’re jabbing each other over perceived slights and sins. It’s all about jousting.”