Ed Driscoll

Life (As Always) Imitates Charles Krauthammer

I’m waiting for my flight to board, but this is too much fun to ignore:

In 2003, Krauthammer famously wrote:

It has been 25 years since I discovered a psychiatric syndrome (for the record: “Secondary Mania,” Archives of General Psychiatry, November 1978), and in the interim I haven’t been looking for new ones. But it’s time to don the white coat again. A plague is abroad in the land.

Bush Derangement Syndrome: the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency — nay — the very existence of George W. Bush.

Now, I cannot testify to Howard Dean’s sanity before this campaign, but five terms as governor by a man with no visible tics and no history of involuntary confinement is pretty good evidence of a normal mental status. When he avers, however, that “the most interesting” theory as to why the president is “suppressing” the 9/11 report is that Bush knew about 9/11 in advance, it’s time to check on thorazine supplies.

When Rep. Cynthia McKinney first broached this idea before the 2002 primary election, it was considered so nutty it helped make her former Rep. McKinney. Today the Democratic presidential front-runner professes agnosticism as to whether the president of the United States was tipped off about 9/11 by the Saudis, and it goes unnoticed. The virus is spreading.

It is, of course, epidemic in New York’s Upper West Side and the tonier parts of Los Angeles, where the very sight of the president — say, smiling while holding a tray of Thanksgiving turkey in a Baghdad mess hall — caused dozens of cases of apoplexy in otherwise healthy adults. What is worrying epidemiologists about the Dean incident, however, is that heretofore no case had been reported in Vermont, or any other dairy state.

Krauthammer’s tongue was somewhat in cheek when he wrote the above passage. I’m not at all sure the same is true over at the Gray Lady, when one of its reporters writes this:

Renana Brooks, a clinical psychologist practicing in Washington who said she had counseled several White House correspondents, said the last few years had given rise to “White House reporter syndrome,” in which competitive high achievers feel restricted and controlled and become emotionally isolated from others who are not steeped in the same experience.

She said the syndrome was evident in the Cheney case, which she described as an inconsequential event that produced an outsize feeding frenzy. She said some reporters used the occasion to compensate for not having pressed harder before the Iraq war.

“It’s like any post-traumatic stress,” she said, “like when someone dies and you think you could have saved them.”

Well, to be honest, it’s not like any post-traumatic stress. Just ask the great Dr. Krauthammer.