Thursday, July 21, 2011

All Politics Is Personal

from Bachmann blo
As I remember it began with Tip O'Neill's "All politics is local," but then one of the Kennedys decided to substitute "personal."

I'd rather we go back to local, which might mean that Congress would listen to folks back home and arrange things so that the robber barons who gutted the economy under Bush II would end up in prison.

But to get back to the personal, it's true that most of the ad hominem attacks don't come from the intelligentsia. It only gets personal when an opposition politician's personal life or circumstances can appeal to the fears, to the lesser nature of voters. The most recent "personal" attack has been against the Tea Party candidate Michelle Bachmann.

And it almost seems as if it is a disability issue. Bachmann is being characterized as unfit for the presidency because she is subject to migraine headaches. The word most troubling is "incapacitating." 

No one wants a president subject to "incapacitating" circumstances whether it's from migraines, drunkenness, other addictions, or JFK's Addison's disease.

There are doubts that the attacks are fair. See migraine specialist Teri Robert's take at

I wouldn't vote for Bachmann, and I'm not sure that migraines are a "disability" that should be protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

It is both an ugly thing to happen and a thing that could -- rather than will -- make a difference in her ability to serve. 

Of course, it is nothing new. We can always remember McGovern's running mate, Thomas Eagleton, who was removed from the 1972 ticket because of a history of being treated for depression. There were similar personal attacks against Michael Dukakis (and his wife), James Stockdale, and John McCain. Oddly, and although I am sure there were such, I don't remember any vicious personal attacks regarding Dick Cheney's heart condition.

And he is one man on that list I wish had never been elected to power.

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