Diagnosing the opposition

Charles Krauthammer has an interesting piece today about a New Republic writer who tried to diagnose Vice President Dick Cheney as one who has so many health problems that he couldn’t help it that he was mean and evil:

“What is wrong with Dick Cheney?” asks Michelle Cottle in the inaugural issue of the newly relaunched New Republic. She then spends the next 1,900 words marshaling evidence suggesting that his cardiac disease has left him demented and mentally disordered.

The charming part of this not-to-be-missed article (titled “Heart of Darkness,” no less) is that it is framed as an exercise in compassion. Since Cottle knows that the only way for her New Republic readers to understand Cheney is that he is evil — “next time you see Cheney behaving oddly, don’t automatically assume that he’s a bad man,” she advises — surely the generous thing for a liberal to do is write him off as simply nuts. In the wonderland of liberalism, Cottle is trying to make the case for Cheney by offering the insanity defense.

Make sure to read it all as he cites examples of what Cottle believes are instances which she believes proves Cheney is over the cliff. CK dissects Cottles piece methodically and then makes a diagnosis of his own: Cottle, he says in the last bit of the article, suffers from an ailment herself: Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Betsy Newmark pegs it:

Usually, the typical approach to Republican politicians that liberals don’t like is to say that they’re stupid. But when they’re faced with someone is clearly not stupid, I guess the next card to play is mental disorder.

They did the same thing with Ronald Reagan, speculating on whether or not it was really Nancy Reagan who was running the show.

Cottle appears to have taken a page from the Charlie Rangel playbook. Rangel, as you may remember, had a war of words in the media a couple of years ago for suggesting that Cheney’s heart problems indicated that he might be too unfit for his job. He also cited Cheney’s age as a factor, which was a bit odd considering that Rangel (1930) is older than Cheney (1941).

Personally, since Cottle evidently is trying to pass herself off as some type of expert on mental health, I wonder if she’d be willing to diagnose this? Or this? Or this? Or this? Or …

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