October 17, 2004
"Why is President Bush skipping his physical? (As He Did During His Nation Guard days.)
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
Every year for the last three years President Bush has had his annual physical in August. This year the Bush administration has announced that the president will not be taking his physical until after the election. Time constraints of his re-election campaign are given as the major reason for the change. Exactly how long does a physical take? Not that long really. So is the President really skipping his physical because of time constraints or is he hiding something?
There are many reasons to suspect the President is hiding something. First is the physical evidence visible in the three presidential debates. In the first debate the President was relatively subdued. Most notable was a persistent scowl that seldom left his face unless he was the one speaking. But in the second debate there was a completely different version of the President. He seemed overly aggressive and kept making an odd side to side motion with his lower jaw. Many, including doctors and other medical professionals, suggested the changes were symptomatic of someone who had been given cocaine or a drug with similar effects.
The aggressive behavior and the jaw movement were gone in the third debate but that time the President had an odd white spittle in the corner of his mouth, seemed to have a more reddish than usual complexion, and the left side of his face seemed to droop uncharacteristically. Many, again including doctors and other medical professionals, wondered if the President had suffered a minor stroke or perhaps developed a heart condition. Some noted that the size and placement of the odd bulge evident under the President’s suit jacket at the debates were consistent with a type of special defibrillator that can be worn under one’s clothing. Others suggested that if the President had been medicated at the second debate he could have been given a different medication before the third debate and that the flushing and salivation could be side effects of that medicine.
If there were no other evidence besides what was plainly visible during the debates, the President’s decision to delay his annual physical until after the election would definitely still give the appearance of hiding something. But the questions about the President’s health don’t stop there. As noted by James Fallows in the July/August 2004 edition of Atlantic Monthly, the contrast between the President, as he is today and the George W. Bush who debated Ann Richards in 1994 is startling. Over the last ten years the President’s speaking ability has declined dramatically. Another video made recently by the President for the Iraqi Survey Group was leaked to the website dailykos.com. In that video the President struggled even more than usual to speak clearly and form complete thoughts. Something definitely seemed amiss.
In addition to the President’s documented deterioration in speaking ability there have been what seem an unusual number of falls and bad bruises. The President fell off a Segway scooter, which is supposedly difficult to do. He reportedly choked on a pretzel and then briefly passed out. He reportedly fell off a bicycle on his ranch after hitting a slick spot caused by rain (even though weather reports contradicted the rain part of the official story). In another incident he injured his knee and had to give up running. And these are just some of the episodes that have been reported. The President also has a curiously low resting heart rate (43 bpm).
A piece by Ron Suskind published in the New York Times Magazine on October 17, 2004 also raised anew speculation about the President’s temperament. Insider witnesses confirm that the President has a certainty of mind that sometimes defies the facts and that he often displays belligerent impatience with those who tell him what he does not want to hear.
Previously, a handful of professional analysts had publicly speculated in print that such behavior might be a symptom of dry drunk syndrome and that the President’s past alcohol and/or drug abuse might be affecting his health. Along those lines, some doctors have specifically noted that spider lesions, like ones that have been removed from the President’s face, can be evidence of liver problems.
Many, perhaps even all, of the questions raised here about the President’s health might have innocent explanations. But taken together they raise a huge red flag about the President delaying his annual physical until after the election. If he has nothing to hide he should take a short break from campaigning and spend a few hours getting his official check-up.
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
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