Monday, October 11, 2004


The second Presidential Debate is history. The "town hall" format with "undecided voters" posing the questions at Washington University in St. Louis produced what most newspapers and critics have called a decisive result. George Bush looked angry and petulant again; he was abrupt, abrasive, loud, and he did not answer questions put to him. John Kerry may have misstated a couple of facts ... actually he stated facts correctly, but did not define them adequately ... but all in all he looked Presidential and probably has the contest wired at this point ... barring some really dirty trick or an "October surprise" from Karl Rove and Co.

Wired is probably overstating it a bit. This race is very close and no one on the planet has any real insight into what will happen on November 2. But wired is a term that keeps coming up, you know, and it refers to George Bush, not Kerry. There are persistent rumors on the internet that George has been wired to Karl Rove and other off-stage assistants during his speeches and even in the debacle Friday debate where Kerry wiped the floor with him.

Sounds incredible, doesn't it! The truth will probably never be known. A reputable news and opinion link like Progressive Trail ran an article on it. It's worth reading. The symptomology is very important because there is an alternative hypothesis as well, which is at least twice as scary.

Just for the moment consider the implications if the President of the United State of American had become so inept at public engagements that he had ordered his minions to prompt him with names, dates, and places—facts— so that he would look good to his constituency. Imagine if George did not order it, but rather it was suggested to him because of his obvious inadequacies as a public figure! In either case, if George really wears a wire, then this means that the person we see is not the person he really is. In the first scenario he is being deliberately false with the people; in the second case he is being "run" like no politician before him. He would essentially be a front for a cabal of neocons and Rovean thugs.

The more plausible hypothesis, based on medical experience and analysis, is that George is suffering from presenile dementia. The web is full of wild ideas, we know, but this one surfaces again and again each time with fairly good credentials. If George's decreasing functionality in speech is the result of his "salad days" or if it is something that just happened upon him, the decrement is obvious and widely reported. He is prone to fits of temper among his close associates, and reports of these loud, abusive, and tyrannical outbursts have been seen on the web for over a year.

We would not dare to declare for one hypothesis or the other, or even for any hypothesis, but ... we watched two debates in which George was not his own Texas self. His affected redneck personality is no longer there and, instead, we have a person seemingly suppressing a bitter rage against not only his political opponent, but against the whole system that has put him in the glaring light of public scrutiny. We are not going to prescribe for George any therapies or nostrums. We would prefer that he just lose this race as gracefully as his current set of wits will allow, and that he goes back permanently to Crawford.

Copyright © 2004, James R. Brett Ph.D.