Monday, September 1, 2008

Mental Health Takes Front Seat In Elections

This may be the year Psyche takes center stage in politics, both domestically and internationally. Two storms have been brewing in the last few days, one over John McCain's mental state and the other over Pakistani presidential candidate Asif Ali Zardari's mental fitness to be in the nuclear chain of command.

John McCain & the Palin Factor
John McCain may have just conceded the election with his choice of Sarah Palin as his VP hopeful. For him, though, the real tragedy is his cluelessness.
Of all the pundits and bloggers feeding on his choice, Erik Ose nailed it squarely last week asking, Is John McCain Mentally Fit To Be President? McCain’s selection of running mate was just an icebreaker. We do have to question the judgment of a man who, wanting to woo one-time Hillary supporters, would pick an unknown, ultra-right wing woman with barely any experience in public service and whose only correlation to Clinton is chromosomal. Not to mention that Palin, who McCain only met casually once in February, is under investigation, Troopergate, for abuse of power in her home state of Alaska. Then there was the matter of her phone-in to the Bob and Mark Show on Alaska radio in January of this year. Palin sat back and laughed heartily as one host calls her political rival a "cancer" (she was a cancer survivor) and a "bitch." Play the video below to hear for yourself. The collective weight of all this means McCain's choice just doesn’t make much sense.

Ose then details McCain’s known problems with memory and occasional states of confusion. He uses Ronald Reagan’s frequently foggy-minded states as a reference point and wonders whether McCain may be displaying the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease.
This becomes all-too-disturbing when Professor John Banzhaf of George Washington University estimates that Sarah Palin has as much as a 40% chance of becoming president in a McCain administration.

An ordinary McDonald's franchisee wouldn't hire a manager who makes such poor personnel decisions. Should we trust a man with similarly poor judgment to be commander-in-chief?

Zardari's Record of Mental Illness

Benazir Bhutto's widower, Asif Ali Zardari, is running for president of Pakistan and has been expected to win. What may become a fatal bump in his road to victory are medical records which have been released documenting an extensive psychiatric history. Newsweek's issue dated September 8, 2008 contains an excellent accounting of this story.

Among the records are documentation of his depressive episodes, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. Why is this a matter of concern for the US? Rep. Pete Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, told Newsweek, " 'Typically, [the U.S.] wouldn't want that kind of person' involved in a nuclear chain of command."
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