First-time readers, the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC, start of work day.  (Conversation starts Entry #225)

Gelly:  “Jordan, could we hold off the discussion about lessons learned re economic 092615_2031_Characters7.gifpolicy decisions and the Revenge Revolution?

Jordan:  “Sure, but why?”

Gelly:  “Something about presidential elections has bothered me for a long time.”

Jordan:  “Such as?”

Gelly:  “Why aren’t presidential candidates subject to an impartial, rigorous physical exam…and mental exam?  I mean. Given the responsibilities of the president you’d think…”

doctor-clipart-illustration-31325Jordan:  “…excuse me but let me back up.  Did you say presidential candidates should be subject to a rigorous physical and mental exam?”

Gelly:  “Yes, and here’s why.”

Jordan:  “But there’s already a provision in the Constitution to address your concern.  If something happens to the president, the vice president takes over.”

Gelly:  “I understand.  If the president dies, there is a clear line of succession.  A dead Turtleneckpresident makes it easy.  I think everyone supports the VP as successor.”

Jordan:  “Then what is the issue?”

Gelly:  “Really, the issue is when the president is not dead but mentally incapacitated.  There are no clear rules so the line of succession does not necessarily apply.”

Jordan:  “You have an example?”

Gelly:  “Ronald Reagan, toward the end of the second term…and probably earlier…ronald_reaganshowed signs of Alzheimer’s.  Nancy Reagan tried to mask the problem.  And credit to her, I think she did a good job.”

Jordan:  “You’re getting on thin ice discussing mental acuity.  How are you…rather how are we the public…going to measure mental acuity?”

Gelly:  “You know I’m not a psychiatrist or any kind of medical doctor.  But there must be some tests for early-stage dementia — Alzheimer’s or whatever.”

Jordan:  “Reagan was president in the 1980’s.  Your example is what more than 30 years ago?”

Gelly:  “We have a more recent case…at least I think so.”

Jordan:  “If I do a quick review of presidents since Reagan, the only one who seems to donald-trumpqualify as one of your ‘dementia candidates’ is Donald Trump.”

Gelly:  “You’re right.  And here’s my logic.  First, his father, Fred Trump, had Alzheimer’s.  I read that in his obituary in the NY Times. (trump-fred-obituary-nyt)  Not sure if Trump’s mother had Alzheimer’s.”

Jordan:  “From what I’ve read, the chances of having Alzheimer’s are greater if one parent has Alzheimer’s.  Even higher likelihood with two.  But still, even with two parents that’s not a guarantee.  What else?”

Gelly:  “Look at his pattern of behavior – before the campaign, during the campaign and after becoming president.  Each period he exhibited an inability or unwillingness to concentrate and/or study.”

Jordan:  “C’mon, a number of people have trouble concentrating or studying.”

Gelly:  “True.  But those people are not running for president…or elected president.”

Jordan:  “What are you basing your conclusion on?”

Gelly:  “To me the most striking behavior was how Trump’s position on an issue seemed to reflect ideas of the last person he talked to.  Trump would proclaim one trump-flip-flopposition then change his position after talking to someone with a different view.  Then he might change again after talking to someone else.  No one knew which Donald Trump was going to show up.  Just listen to some of the White House staffers talk about the chaos that was created by the inconsistency of positions.”

Jordan:  “Maybe that behavior is characteristic of a person who changes as he or she studies the issue.  What else?”

Gelly:  “Jordan, quit being so PC.  What was equally scary was his seeming inability to comprehend complex issues.  When presented with complex problems, he was like a deer-in-headlights-1deer-in-the-headlights – frozen.”

Jordan:  “Many of his supporters thought Trump was able to simplify issues that others made complicated.”

Gelly:  “People who thought that way either didn’t understand reality or didn’t want to face facts about Trump’s mental capacity.”

Jordan:  “What else?”

Gelly:  “Trump could not stand any criticism…so thin-skinned.  Complex issues could not be openly discussed and decided because the ‘decider-in-chief’ relied on either ‘gut feel’ or the last person’s opinion rather than objective analysis.  When bully-clip-artsomeone challenged Trump’s opinion, he would often act like a bully, openly humiliating the person…sometimes even on Twitter.  You cannot run an organization like that, let alone a country.”

Jordan:  “Maybe his management style was bad but do you think that behavior is a symptom of dementia?”

Gelly:  “What I know is this.  The kind of behavior Trump exhibited…not just once but consistently over time…put the US and many countries at great risk.  The behavior seemed to be outside the bounds of what I’ve read most psychiatrists consider ‘normal,’ with ‘normal’ constituting a very wide band.”

fife-drum%201Jordan:  “Well, there’s little doubt that some of his erratic behavior contributed to the Revenge Revolution.  Not the only cause, obviously, but certainly a major factor.  Is the lesson that we should take away — presidential candidates need to receive a thorough and objective physical and mental exam?”

Gelly:  “Yes.  Ideally the exam would be private and before the candidate made any public announcement.  So if the exam suggested potential problems, the candidate could consider not announcing.”

Jordan:  “Gelly, your idea is thought-provoking.  A great next step would be to get people talking about the mental health of the president.  Won’t be easy but it might catch hold.  Now, can we get back to lessons learned from economic policy decisions?”

To be continued)