Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Mental Health of Michele Bachmann

Politics and psychiatry converge as a conservative website reveals that the surging Republican candidate “frequently suffers from stress-induced medical episodes that...occur once a week on average and can ‘incapacitate’ her for days at time. On at least three occasions, Bachmann has landed in the hospital as a result.”

Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller reports Michelle Bachmann’s history of frequent and severe mood swings that raise questions about her fitness for a campaign, let alone service in the White House.

Doubts about her state of mind keep multiplying after stories of her participation in an anti-gay sect and her fervent prayer five years ago predicting an apocalypse:

“Lord, the day is at hand. We are in the last days. You are a Jehovah God. We know that the times are in your hands. And we give them to you...The day is at hand, Lord, when your return will come nigh. Nothing is more important than bringing sheep into the fold.”

Her admirers may shrug off such revelations as prejudiced attacks on a highly spiritual candidate, but Bachmann has exceeded the speed limit for normal since she was elected to Congress in 2006.

Only weeks afterward, she drew attention at the State of the Union by groping the President and not letting go. A Minneapolis TV station reported what national viewers could plainly see, that Bachmann “put her hand on Bush's shoulder. However, it wasn't just a tap. After he signed an autograph for her, Bachmann grabbed the president and did not let go for almost 30 seconds.

“After signing the autograph for Bachmann, the president turns away, but Bachmann doesn't let go. In fact, the video shows her reaching out to get a better grip on him.

“Bush then leans over to kiss another congresswoman, but Bachmann is still holding on. Bachmann then gets more attention, a kiss and an embrace from the president. A few seconds later, Bachmann's hand finally comes off the presidential shoulder.”

Couple this manic behavior with what her staff describes as “the significant amount of medication Bachmann takes to address her condition,” which they describe as migraine headaches but sounds suspiciously like depression, and questions arise about the possibility of a bipolar President and the nuclear button.

In 1972, Democratic candidate George McGovern had to drop Thomas Eagleton as his running mate after revelations of his treatment for depression. We are more sophisticated now, but Michelle Bachmann’s mental health is an issue that will have to be addressed.

Update: When an ABC reporter tries to question Bachmann about her “migraines,” he is roughed up by her bodyguards. Asked if he has been treated this way before, Brian Ross says, “A few times. Mostly by Mafia people.”

Cocooned this way from the media and supplied with plausible sound bites by GOP veteran Ed Rollins, Michele Bachmann is making the Sarah Palin of 2008 look accessible.

Now she is running Tea Party-crazy commercials, bragging about voting against raising the debt limit:

“It goes completely contrary to common sense and how I grew up in Iowa...We have to deal with the economic reality.”

Or is she just trying to help her “Jehovah God” hasten the last days for the U.S.?

Update II: The Bachmann campaign releases a doctor’s letter telling her: “Your migraines occur infrequently and have known trigger factors of which you are aware and know how to avoid. When you do have a migraine, you are able to control it well, as needed with medication.”

All fine, as far it goes, but the lingering question about her mental health is underscored by recent research that “there is a genetic predisposition by people with migraines to be depressed"--46 percent, about four times higher than the rate in the overall population.

Coupled with Bachmann’s manic and erratic behavior, controlling migraines does not go very far toward answering the question of her overall stability.

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