Saturday, January 15, 2011

One for the Gipper, one for the chippers

Ronald Reagan's son Ron has written a new book, "My Father at 100" published by Viking, in which he writes that it is his belief that his father was suffering from dementia while in office.
"I've seen no evidence that my father (or anyone else) was aware of his medical condition while he was in office," Reagan writes. "Had the diagnosis been made in, say 1987, would he have stepped down? I believe he would have."
Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 1994, five years after leaving office. He died in 2004 at age 93 from complications of the disease.
The younger Reagan recalls how his father became uncharacteristically lost for words and looked "lost and bewildered" during the 1984 presidential debates with Democratic rival Walter Mondale. He says his father may have suspected the onset of Alzheimer's in 1986 when he was flying over familiar canyons north of Los Angeles and became alarmed that he could no longer remember their names.
But Reagan says the issue of his father's health should not tarnish his legacy as the nation's 40th president.
"Does this delegitimize his presidency? Only to the extent that President Kennedy's Addison's disease or Lincoln's clinical depression undermine theirs," Reagan writes. "Better, it seems to me, to judge our presidents by what they actually accomplish than what hidden factors may be weighing on them."
He continues: "That likely condition, though, serves as a reminder that when we elect presidents, we elect human beings with all their foibles and weaknesses, psychological and physiological."
Ronald Reagan was not one of my favorite presidents, but my political differences with him do not need to enter this discussion. What I do think is salient is the fact that a President with cognitive impairment can steer this country's course. Surely his aides should have noticed the slippage. Would it not have been in the best interests of our country to bring the matter to the fore? Alzheimers is a terrible disease, I am grappling with it in my family, as I would assume most of us will at some point. That being said, is it proper for  the man responsible for holding the nuclear football to be suffering from this sort of mental decline? Should not the Chief Executive undergo regular mental fitness examinations? And would any aide have the cajones to blow the whistle?

I am reminded of two things: Chief Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist who sat on the highest bench in our land with a major dope habit and Michael Jackson, crying out to his doctor for more "milk."And all of the handlers and sycophants too scared to make a peep or mention that the emperor was in the buff.

Rehnquist seems to me the most sordid of the three. Could not a case be made that all of his votes from the Scotus bench should be called into question, since he was scratching his jones with 1500 milligrams of Placidyl a night, three times the recommended dose? The Chief Justice of our land, in severe withdrawals and detox and hospitalized for his addiction in 1981 and 1982. He served on the high bench for 19 years and no one on the Senate Judiciary Committee had the balls to ask him about the monkey on his back during his confirmation hearing. Even though he had an FBI file that spelled it all out in crisp detail. Is there not a requirement for any judge or chief executive that they be of sound presence of mind, and need I say, not under the influence of narcotics?

There is a recent case where Judge Jack Camp was caught with guns, drugs and hookers and federal prosecutors have said that defendants can request re sentencing. The judge was charged with unlawful purchase, possession and use of cocaine, marijuana, Hydrocodone and Roxycodone and illegal possession of firearms.

On Nov. 19, Camp pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan, a judge from Washington who was assigned the case.

Camp pleaded guilty to charges of unlawful possession of controlled substances and also helping the stripper, a convicted felon, come into possession of the drugs.

The judge also pleaded guilty to giving a government laptop to the stripper. The charges carry up to four years in prison. Can we do the same for Rehnquist's decision's, give the American people a big do-over?

We are so smitten by celebrity and power in this country, we lose all of our common sense. A nation of enablers and it goes all the way to the top. Preach family values and tough love but run away and hide when it's somebody caught on your team.


Anonymous said...

laptop for a lapdance??

Anonymous said...

And one for the Clippers, who stuck it to the Lakers tonight 99-92.