Jules Crittenden has a must-read post on the “post traumatic presidency.” Read the whole thing, please, but here’s a snippet to let you follow along with our email:
Now the Republicans are getting ready to nominate a man who endured torture during years in a North Vietnamese prison. Expect the Democrat nominee, or more likely his or her surrogates, to make PTSD a campaign issue. The crazy, suicidal, homicidal tripwire vet has been a favorite figure of the anti-war left for a long time. Here’s one. Here’s another. Fringe cases. Don’t worry, it will make it into the mainstream. Suicidal, rage-filled John McCain, unsuitable for president. It’s already there, just below the surface of the temperament questions. Here the question is raised by someone whose commentary I usually enjoy and often agree with: A disparagement of two men who have given their nation superlative service in war and afterward.
I wrote to Jules:
You know what’s strange? Or maybe a huge flaw on my part? PTSD never entered my mind. I worry about Rudy’s temperament, too — and the only combat he ever faced was against the New York press.
Of course, that’s nothing to sneeze at.
And perhaps even now I’m making too light of an important issue, but I don’t mean to. It’s my opinion that temperament is much more due to nature than nurture. If I think Bob Dole is mean — and I do — I don’t think so because he got shot up in Italy 60 years ago. I just think that’s Bob Dole. Same goes for McCain. The last thing I meant to do was bring up the old (and statistically untrue) cliche of the insane war vet.
I did mean to disparage McCain, but not like that. His service and endurance made him a hero. But some of his personality traits, evidenced long before he was ever captured and tortured, make me question his fitness for office. And I think that’s a fair worry.
If I implied something else — and it seems that I did — I apologize.