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Shrink Rap

by Paul F. Heller Sunday, Jan. 12, 2003 at 1:24 PM

There is no shame in seeking treatment for mental illness... what's holding Bush back?

I have come to the opinion that President George W. Bush needs to see a psychiatrist, preferably one that won't pawn off all of his displayed idiosyncrasies on his mother. That's not fair to her. I am hardly the first one to wonder if Dubya is really in complete control of his mental faculties; qualified mental health professionals have expounded upon this already. While I am not one to delve too deeply into other peoples' problems, Bush is a polarizing public figure to some – although the 65 percent of Americans who don't vote at all seem to generally ignore him – and so the issue should at least be rudimentarily explored.

There are simply too many instances of duplicitous synapses at work in this man's skull, and if a president can be found mentally incompetent, as opposed to merely simple-minded, that ought to be grounds for his removal as head of state. The schizophrenic policies toward Iraq and North Korea are too easy of an example to even be believed. Like the purloined letter, the evidence under our noses is almost always overlooked. But there are other signs of at least mental fatigue that should cause some level of alarm among all concerned citizens.

But I fear it goes so far beyond that. Just yesterday, while pushing his economic resuscitation plan, Bush mingled a startling counterbalance of ideas. On the one hand, he tried to tell everyone how we might be able to keep a few more of our hard-earned dollars in our pockets. In the next paragraph, he revealed his plan to give three thousand dollars apiece to the unemployed; a "re-employment account", he called it. Overall, his tax cuts of .3 trillion will be offset by his spendthrift ways, which will run up a deficit of .4 trillion over the next ten years.

Bush constantly espouses a weird affinity for "the working people", yet he is a silver-spoon aristocrat who has never caught a whiff of his own sweat. And his propensity for doling out corporate welfare, while protecting the modern-day robber barons who have pillaged an economy that was galloping along the path of surplus tax revenues, belies any of the stuff his speechwriters put to paper for him to attempt to read aloud. In fact, his tax cuts are geared toward the wealthiest of the wealthy, reinforcing the apparent leanings toward oligarchy in his administration.

On the environment, last week he directed the EPA to strip away the protections afforded to our nation's natural beauty, basically repealing the Clean Air Act where big business is concerned. He also decided against a proposed billion refurbishing of the country's water and sewage treatment infrastructures, which have been deemed perilously antiquated by those who have hands-on knowledge of the subject. Yet he pledged 0 million to improve the salmon runs in the Northwest, stating that such spending somehow displays his concern for the ecology.

Then there is the response to the attacks of September 11th, 2001. Despite the fact that a small group of foreigners entered the United States and were able, through the sheer negligence of airline security, to commandeer commercial jetliners for deadly suicide missions, the focus has been on Americans ever since. While it is a pretty basic task, spotting Middle Easterners in airports, searches (some flagrantly illegal) are conducted "at random" by freshly anointed federal employees. That brings up the disconnect between the Right Wing's constant crying for "smaller government", even during the creation of the largest bureaucracy ever seen by a free people.

Furthermore, we were told in the aftermath of the horror to go about our lives in a "normal" fashion, but then that was followed up with the Operation TIPS nonsense. How normal was that? Even these days, we are told to be "vigilant" at the same time that the FBI puts a bunch of pictures and information on its website about a group of potential terrorists who were said to have infiltrated the United States; it turns out the whole story was just a hoax.

His apparent schizophrenia has trickled down to his constituents. Conservatives are marching in lockstep behind Dubya anyplace he goes, approving of policies that go in opposite directions. For instance, it is difficult to justify a mindset that believes we should undertake the invasion and occupation of Iraq (which will cost anywhere between and 0 billion – both are Bush Administration figures) yet refuses to accept that we should be paying historically commensurate wartime taxes.

All in all, it is clear that Boy George needs to sit down with a therapist and sort out all these conflicting emotions and concepts that plague his psyche. And, being the good American that I am, I am hereby offering to spare the taxpaying public that expense. Out of concern for my fellows, if Bush agrees to see a shrink, I'll pay for it ... as long as he doesn't use his position as Commander in Chief to worm his way onto a military counselor's couch. We've all seen how cost-efficient the Pentagon can be. A decent psychiatrist should be available in the Beltway for around 5 an hour, once a week. I think I can handle that, even in a stagnant economy.

And if he needs medication to balance out the chemicals in his brain, like his dad did, then all he has to do is ask his terriers in Congress to hurry up with that prescription drug welfare bill they've been stalling on. The road to the president's mental healing is but a signature away.
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