July 20, 2011
From the front page of the Washington Post website:
Questions that surfaced about her migraines come at a critical juncture for her presidential campaign.
By the way, did you know that Michelle Bachmann suffers from migraines? Just checking ...
Cough migraines Cough.
Look, I'm all in favor of the intimate health details of anybody who wants to be President being blared everywhere.
Not that I think the President's health is all that important anymore. It's not like the early 1960s and JFK shows up for a summit conference with Khrushchev all doped up for one of his many ailments and so Khrushchev thinks JFK is a weakling and sets the Cuban Missile Crisis in motion. Thank God we don't live in that world anymore. I think we live in a world more like that of James Garfield. The poor man lingered on his deathbed after being shot on July 2, 1881 until his death on September 19. And we all know the many disastrous consequences that almost ensued from that, such as ... Well, I can't think of any off hand, but there was probably something important involving bimetalism.
Anyway, my point is that if you want to be President and thus be famous forever (like, say, James Garfield, who had less than 4 months in office before getting shot, but we still all know his name), we, the voters ought to get to know about you. So, I'm all for the press inquiring into every candidate's health.
But, that mean's every candidate -- not just the ones the media doesn't like -- all the candidates, like JFK and Barack Obama. As you may recall, John McCain released 1100 pages of his medical records, while Barack Obama released a one-page summary. It appears to me from reading Obama's memoirs that the President suffered some sort of mental health problems in the early 1980s and in 2000. Did he seek medical attention?
Answering those kind of questions is exactly the kind of awareness-raising that running for President ought to entail. My experience going through life is that a whole lot more people than you might think run into mental health problems at various points, and that seeking help sometimes helps.
For example, one of my readers pointed out to me a few years ago that Obama's account of his depressed mood after losing the 2000 House primary included a phrase common in cognitive behavioral therapy. I found his observation interesting, in part because I had never heard of cognitive behavioral therapy. So, I read up on CBT, a very level-headed form of talk therapy that tries to talk people out of the mental ruts they're stuck in, and it sounds like a good thing, something that could help some number of people, if they ever heard of it (which I, a relatively well-informed 48-year-old, hadn't ... until somebody brought in up in the context of a candidate for the White House)
I have no idea if Obama tried CBT, but, if he did, who better a spokesman for how it can change your life than the President?
But all that sort of thing is off-limits, because he's Obama.