We knew that when a woman ran for President there’d be talk about being temperamental, overly emotional, overly sensitive and subject to mood swings that might be dangerous in the Oval Office and Situation Room.
We just didn’t know that talk would be about the man in the race.
But since he won the Republican nomination two weeks ago, Donald Trump has given us reason to question not only his judgment and temperament, but his very mental and emotional stability.
Questions about mental health aren’t new to presidential races.
In 1964, Democrats suggested Barry Goldwater was crazy enough to start a nuclear war. In 1968 and 1972, there were rumors about Richard Nixon’s treatment by a psychiatrist. In 1972, Thomas Eagleton had to drop off the Democratic ticket after he admitted to undergoing electric-shock therapy for depression. In 1988, Lee Atwater said Michael Dukakis had been “hooked up to jumper cables” and President Reagan said “I’m not going to pick on an invalid.”
And we’ve seen a plethora of pop psychoanalysis of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
But never has a candidate given us more reason to question his (or her) sanity than Donald Trump does daily.
The most striking thing is how self-destructive his behavior is.
The day after he accepted the GOP nomination, Trump launched off again on Ted Cruz and whether Cruz’s father had a hand in JFK’s assassination. But, then, nobody likes Cruz.
It’s another thing altogether to attack – and keep attacking – the parents of an American soldier who died heroically in combat.
Carter tagged Trump right a few weeks ago when he noted that everything he says is either bragging or bullying.
But now it has gone even farther.
It’s not just ignorance: “Putin isn’t in Crimea. Oh, well, maybe he is.”
It’s not just rampant lying: Then: “I have a good relationship with Putin.” Now: “I have no relationship with Putin.”
It’s a pattern of behavior that is temperamental, overly emotional, overly sensitive and subject to mood swings that might be dangerous in the Oval Office and Situation Room.
As Barney Fife once said of Ernest T. Bass, “He’s just a nut, Andy.”
But this nut could be elected President.