Thursday, May 17, 2007

LA Times Asks the Big Question About McCain

Is he physically fit to serve as president? If the public had known about the health problems of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, they might not have been elected president. But now, the public is told about the health issues of candidates and elected officials. Or, I should say, the public is told about some of their health issues. And that being the case, now that the LA Times has brought out the issue of McCain’s health, we are left wondering what aren’t we being told? The LA Times says one of McCain’s problems is that he looks so old. Yes, he’s 70, but all those broken bones in the past make him move more slowly and more stiffly than most 70-year-olds move. And the melanoma scarring on his face is ugly and Americans like pretty. So okay, now that we realize that John McCain looks wooden and old and it’s not his fault, it’s because he is a brave American who was tortured in Vietnam and who has battled cancer, what about his mind? Worry not. His mind is fine. The LA Times reports that McCain’s staff says, "The incarceration, the broken bones, the beatings and years of starvation have left little lasting damage." The Robert E. Mitchell Center for Prisoner of War Studies at the Naval Operational Medicine Institute in Pensacola, Fla. says McCain's medical records indicate McCain was in generally good health and did not suffer any psychological illness." Dr. Bob Hain, director of the study program, said McCain was examined almost every year until 1994, when he stopped returning to the voluntary program. "The people who were captured in the mid-'60s underwent very serious torture," Hain said. "The people who underwent that certainly have significant orthopedic problems as a result." But Hain added that the men generally remained in good physical and emotional health. "These people are very unusual, very gregarious, very outgoing as a majority," Hain said. "There are some people who have some problems. As far as I know, John McCain is not one of them." After a particularly brutal period of beatings, the LA Times says, “McCain attempted to take his life several times. And when his communist captors finally beat a political confession out of him, McCain was left an emotional wreck.” The LA Times story says that it’s true that McCain is vindictive and a hothead but those traits predate his Vietnam experiences. And it’s true, McCain used to suffer from despair. He used to shake a lot. McCain says he “kept imagining that they would release my confession to embarrass my father. All my pride was lost and I doubted I would ever stand up to any man again. Nothing could save me. No one would ever look upon me again with anything but pity or contempt." McCain says his outlook darkened considerably during his experience in Vietnam. Nevermind. The LA Times reports that’s all in the past because McCain has an "outgoing, gregarious, sunny personality." At the end of the article, there is a list of all the bones John McCain has broken, and the cancer surgeries he’s had. But one thing we are never likely to know is what medications John McCain is on, when he takes them and why. It’s a question that also has never been answered about Sunny George in the White House Insane Asylum.

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