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My background in neuropsychology affords me a somewhat unique perspective on Mitt Romney. I’m finding and accumulating evidence that he may show subtle but significant signs of mental impairments from a 1968 brain injury.

More to follow. . .

As anyone attending to the current presidential campaigns knows, Mitt Romney has a jittery, disengaged manner in his interactions with others; this is identified by many as his being "out of touch."  It first caught my attention four years ago, when he emerged as a potential GOP presidential candidate.  I initially assumed it was a result of his origins in a privileged and wealthy family in which he never really grew up emotionally, leaving him essentially a spoiled rich brat even in his adulthood.  His ruthlessness in business and awkwardness in human interaction seemed to confirm this, and I can’t deny that it may explain much of his current social dysfunction.

But recently, when he claimed to be unable to remember having bullied John Lauber in his adolescence, bloggers were wondering if he was showing signs of dementia (as opposed to simply lying clumsily, which I suspected).  Knowing about such disorders, I dismissed these hypotheses, understanding that his childhood and adolescent memories would remain intact, while his ability to retain and recall more recent and current information would be impaired if he was truly demented.  But I got curious, and researched Romney's history in a bit more depth.

I found this.

It tells of his having been seriously injured in a car wreck in France in 1968, so severely that he was declared dead at the scene.  And while he was later said to have only sustained a concussion, his apparent prolonged unconsciousness suggests that traumatic brain injury (TBI) would have been a more appropriate diagnosis.

Traumatic brain injury is generally associated with varying degrees of lasting mental impairment, which can include behavioral and/or mood disturbances, thought disorder, confusion, and deficits of concentration, attention, and memory. Years later, TBI survivors who have recovered most of their faculties and function may still show mild forgetfulness, impulsivity, and moodiness, and judgement can be disturbed in seemingly unpredictable ways.  Interpersonal
may be even more likely.  The prognosis for a 19-year-old patient is certainly better than for someone in their thirties or forties, but if unconsciousness and posttraumatic amnesia are prolonged, at least some of these adverse effects of TBI are likely to remain.  Romney went on to be quite successful in college, business and law schools, and corporate enterprise, so any residual impairments would likely be but mild, subtle, and obvious to the casual observer only in unusual, extraordinary circumstances.  Still, they could lead an otherwise brilliant and successful man to:

angrily confront the passenger in front of him in an airplane for pushing his seat back before takeoff

defy a park officer’s orders not to launch a boat in a lake, leading to his 1981 arrest

brush aside a security officer in the 2002 olympics, insulting the man with obscenities

lose his temper when reminded by a conservative radio interviewer of his having ordered gender-neutral marriage certificates

commit voter fraud by voting in Massachusetts in 2010 despite no longer residing there

wager $10,000 during a presidential debate

strap his dog on the roof of his station wagon for an extended trip

●suggest that "corporations are people"

●state how he likes "to fire people"

contradict himself on multiple occasions

Romney would likely deny many or most of these events, at least the interpretations of them by his opposition, but he has actually admitted some awareness of such problems.  Romney (and his wife Ann) have acknowledged the problems with his temper, referring to them as “Mitt-frontations,” her as a “Mitt-stabilizer.”

I have found numerous internet sites which refer to Romney’s “robotic self-control,” generally suggesting this as a favorable characteristic.  It’s an interesting description, implying that his management of his impulses is mechanical and automated, lacking conscientiousness or emotional intuition.  “Robotic” control is likely to be very effective in predetermined and unambiguous situations.  But when circumstances exceed the scope of a robot’s programming, the reaction will quite possibly be unpredictable, and inappropriate.  Naturally, we would expect the ambiguity and uncertainty of situations confronting a president are likely to be substantial, suggesting that any “robotic” tendencies in the executive office have a strong potential for ill-advised, potentially destructive decisions and actions.

So, what to do with this information, admittedly of uncertain credibility?  One idea would be to challenge Romney to undergo neuropsychological assessment, which I'm assuming would demonstrate little in the way of measurable disorder (even if he agreed to participate which, of course, he wouldn't).  But the question of his possible deficits from traumatic brain injury, even unproven, would undoubtedly lead many voters to have even greater doubts about him. It could discourage Romney from claiming to have no recollection of events from his past, and might compel him to avoid the frequent self-contradictions which have resulted in his multitude of “flip-flops” on issues.  Not wanting to be seen as brain-injured and impaired, Romney may go to greater lengths to avoid vacillating on his political stances, such that he could no longer present incongruous positions to conflicting Republican factions, and would have to keep his stories straight in forthcoming debates with Obama.

I am aware that my speculations regarding a possible history of traumatic brain injury in Romney, and my association of that hypothetical brain damage with some of his many impulse control failures, “gaffes” and idiosyncrasies will be seen by some as a “character assassination.”  As a clinical psychologist, I am bound by ethic principles to “improve the condition of individuals, organizations and society” while utilizing “special safeguards. . . to protect the rights and welfare of persons or communities whose vulnerabilities impair autonomous decision making.”  So, for me to raise these concerns as a psychologist regarding a man with whom I have no professional history, but which could adversely affect his political career, puts me in somewhat of an ethical quandary.  An analogy would be a man - not my client - whom I’ve learned has probable epilepsy, but who nonetheless drives an automobile because he has never told his physician of his seizures, so that he will not lose his license.  I’m not his therapist, so I have no obligation to protect his privacy.  To report my knowledge to his doctor violates no mandate of confidentiality, but would set in motion a set of events which restrict his driving, and are likely to adversely affect him socially and vocationally.  But as a member of the community in which he drives recklessly, I would consider myself responsible for taking steps to protect the well-being of those around us, for example, warning other medical professionals and authorities of the hazards of allowing him to drive.  I would conclude that my obligation to “do no harm” is mitigated by my responsibility to protect society, and so I would alert the man’s physician.

I asked a few colleagues their opinions of my presenting this information and my interpretation of it in a public forum, and none thought to do so would violate ethical principles.  I’ll admit to some clear bias in this case, in that I support Obama in his bid for reelection.  Before I developed apprehensions about a potentially neurologically-impaired man becoming president, I had many other reasons to look unfavorably on Romney and his candidacy, and some have to do with my perceptions of his character, and failings in that regard.  Still, I deny any intention of “character assassination” in making these statements; I want to help voters better understand the candidate by considering some troubling possibilities for which there is some evidence.  My expressed concerns are not intended to provoke attacks on Romney’s character; instead, I hope they invite voters to view the man with some compassion as a quite successful survivor of a traumatic injury, which nonetheless may render him unfit for executive office.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Or (26+ / 0-)

    he could just be a huge douche.

    The Republican Party is now the sworn enemy of the United States of America.

    Listen to All Over The Place - we play all kinds of music!

    by TheGreatLeapForward on Fri May 25, 2012 at 03:28:56 PM PDT

    •  yeah (4+ / 0-)

      gonna go with the simpler explanation as well.

      •  Could be both... n/t (9+ / 0-)

        Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

        by JeffW on Fri May 25, 2012 at 03:43:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm down with Giant Douche myself, sometimes (5+ / 0-)

        a douche is just a need for TBI or a Fristian diagnosis...

        Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
        I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
        Emiliano Zapata

        by buddabelly on Fri May 25, 2012 at 03:44:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Amen. (0+ / 0-)

          Until this first-time poster gives me solid reason to believe otherwise, I think he's a troll trying to trap DailyKos into attacking Romney on the single most tragic incident in his life.

          It's time to ask for ID.

          Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

          by journeyman on Fri May 25, 2012 at 05:55:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  How do I present "ID?" (0+ / 0-)

            I suppose yours is a legitmate concern.  I used to post as Rees Chapman, but I hadn't posted in some time, and my password stopped working.  I couldn't create a new account with the same name, so I went with DocChap.

            How else I can identify myself here, I don't know. . .

            •  Yes, I saw that. (0+ / 0-)

              As you will see in my other comments on this thread.

              I accept that Rees Chapman can legitimately comment on issues such as these.

              I think he would be a fool to do so as I am hardly the most hostile audience Dr. Chapman would encounter.  Believe me, I want this to be true.  It would basically be game, set, match, rod and reel if it were (if you will excuse me for mixing metaphors).

              That is exactly why I must question it.  If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

              That is not to say it necessarily is, but it probably is.

              That puts the burden of proof on those who say that it is true.

              I want to believe you.

              But I need more proof.

              You can start by confirming your identity.

              You do not have to do this publicly, but an email from me to Dr. Chapman and and acknowledgment of this exchange would be a good place to start.

              Is that acceptable to you?

              Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

              by journeyman on Fri May 25, 2012 at 07:21:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

                •  I'll be in touch. n/t (0+ / 0-)

                  Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

                  by journeyman on Fri May 25, 2012 at 07:53:21 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  For the Record (0+ / 0-)

                    After a private exchange with the diarist, I am now convinced that he is who he says he is, is not a troll and is writing in good faith.

                    I still question the political wisdom of making this a campaign issue, but I believe that the diarist does have more expertise on the question of brain injury and its effects than I and will defer to his judgment.

                    Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

                    by journeyman on Sat May 26, 2012 at 01:34:39 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Thanks! (0+ / 0-)
                      I still question the political wisdom of making this a campaign issue
                      So do I.  Also the moral "wisdom," although I believe I have resolved any ethical concerns.  I want Democratic campaign strategists to struggle with it.   I'd like for voters to wonder whether or not they want an impulsive man with occasionally flawed judgment in the most powerful position in the world.  I want them to reflect on this matter with some compassion for him, in that he possibly can't help it, his impairments perhaps resulting from an organic brain injury.  I'm hoping they will consider that the skills and strengths that enable a person to be enormously successful financially, even politically, aren't necessarily accompanied by the more finely developed and subtle capacities required of a president.

                      But previously you said. . .

                      Believe me, I want this to be true.  It would basically be game, set, match, rod and reel if it were
                      . . . which suggests you believe it would be a powerful and decisive ( if not particularly wise) maneuver if utilized by Obama's campaign.   So, this really isn't a black-or-white, right/wrong issue. . .
    •  I'm going with douche. (7+ / 0-)

      But the fact that he "came back from the dead" could also explain a lot.

      Could he be....a zombie?

  •  Tabloid psychology. Include me out. nt (11+ / 0-)

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Fri May 25, 2012 at 03:29:13 PM PDT

    •  Consider yourself disincluded. nt (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NMDad, Wee Mama, MidwestTreeHugger
      •  I'm sorry. Where did you get your degree? n/t (0+ / 0-)

        Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

        by journeyman on Fri May 25, 2012 at 05:56:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Here I am being lazy and not doing proper research (0+ / 0-)

          There is a rule against outing here and so I won't, but you did put your image up and there is the Google.

          It seems you might actually be legit.

          And so I'm willing to listen.  But, I really have to ask, do you have any idea what kind of shit storm you could be raising here?

          If you think I'm nasty, just wait until the GOP gets ahold of you.

          I'm actually starting to consider the possibility that you were completely sincere and that you might actually know what you're talking about.

          That scares me because it would mean that you are a good guy is so so naive it isn't even funny.

          If that's the case, just delete, man.

          You do not want this.

          Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

          by journeyman on Fri May 25, 2012 at 06:05:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Name me a President (6+ / 0-)

      or candidate for President who wasn't subjected to armchair analysis.  I think DocChap's piece has been better than most.

      •  Okay, above-average tabloid psychology. nt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

        by Bob Love on Fri May 25, 2012 at 04:41:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  frontal lobe contusions (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I have also treated patients with head injuries.  It's pretty classic that head-on collisions cause frontal lobe contusions.

          This area of the brain is essential for self-control and establishing inhibitions, and damage typically leads to impulse control problems.

          I remember my first rotation through an intensive care unit.  The nurses were dealing with several TBI patients and gave me a detailed rundown on all the typical impulse control problems that they routinely had to deal with in this injury.  This was a practical education that I have had to call upon regularly since.

          I would expect Romney to have impulse control problems as he recovered from this serious brain injury.  The question relevant to the election is whether these behaviors have resolved.  

          •  i've known several people who have experienced (4+ / 0-)

            severe concussions - and, yes, they ARE changed.

            anyone who has had a friend, relative, loved one, neighbor who has had such an injury and has watched them over the years can confirm this as well as any doctor.

            this diary is an eye-opener that explains many "questions" i've had about romney - it is another puzzle piece requiring us  looking more closely.

            how does someone with a traumatic brain injury respond in a severe crisis (like 9/11, for example).

            also, anyone watching the recent news will have seen the current studies being done on football players who have had repeated concussions and the comparisons now in the medical field with those returning from the middle east with impact injuries from leds, etc.

            wow.  didn't know about the auto accident - now that i do, it is even more critical, to me, anyway, that romney never makes it to the top office.

  •  The Haircut Attack Was 3 Years Earlier (14+ / 0-)

    and his peers described his pranking and bullying behavior all thru prep school as disturbing.

    We don't need a possible post-prep-school injury to explain why his behavior indicates he shouldn't be President, but this is worth considering.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri May 25, 2012 at 03:29:42 PM PDT

    •  Indeed. . . (7+ / 0-)

      . . . he was a spoiled arrogant brat years before he was brain injured.  But he may have never outgrown his bullying behavior due to socioemotional impairments from TBI.

    •  He also led a blind teacher to a door that was (9+ / 0-)

      closed, telling the poor blind person it was open, and reportedly, when the blind person banged into the wall, Mitt Romney laughed so hard, he fell to the floor.

      Some point out that he was clearly a cruel bully prior to this accident, favors simplier hypothesis, but may be missing a different point about his current inability to remember these incidents, or his lying about this.

      A few weeks ago, I read a blog of a clinical psychologist suggesting people should be far more concerned to know the answer to this latter question, as if Romney remembers this all well, and is willing to look right into the camera and lie about it, is suggest lack of presidential charactor.

      But, if he truly can not remember, it may be worse, suggesting, perhaps, such a deep field of denial, as to be a symptom of sociopathy, which afflicts 4% of the population.

      This suggestion of TBI, may be a third hypothesis, but, something that is an important issue for voters to know prior to the election.  

      In order to reassure voters, I believe Romney should volunteer for an extensive TV interview from a reputable panel of journalists and doctors to determine exactly which of the many "pranks" and "hijinks" he can remember, and which ones he can not.  For example, with regard to the "haircut" incident, Romney says he can not remember, but does remember that "it" had nothing to do with the guy, perhaps, being gay, despite his three days of taunting the victim prior to leading the gang attack.

      Does he remember tormenting the blind teacher?  The other gay student?  He says he engaged in a lot of regretable "hijinks" and "pranks" he does regret.  What were they?  Voters need to know.

      Also, my understanding is that MRI, and PET scans, and other brain imaging can now tell us a lot about TBI, and other disorders.  Romney should have a reputable medical team, with the cognitive and other neuroligist you suggest, do a complete work up to reassure voters, and Mitt Romney himself about the conditions of his brain and cognitive proceses.  

      It must be distressing for him, to have such large gaps of missing memory about his core experiences of socialization, which other clinical psychologists typically stand out with great vividness in most peoples memories for the rest of their lives.  Whether one is leading a gang attack, or victom of it, as a teenager, these kinds of incidents are typically not forgetten without some deep repression, or organic TBI.

      What a terrible set of uncertainties to leave as a cloudy overhang for such an important election, and for such a critical position where the president has his finger on the nuclear weapons.  Can  you imagine the predicament we might be in if he launched a nuclear strike, but then couldn't remember why?  Other countries are probably worried about this too.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Fri May 25, 2012 at 04:41:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think he should be put into a difficult (5+ / 0-)

        situation either on the campaign trail or somehow in a debate where he is pushed and stressed and finally snaps.

        "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

        by eXtina on Fri May 25, 2012 at 05:07:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This will probably happen naturally, eXtina. (4+ / 0-)

          We've already seen small flashes of the Mit-temper when journalists have pressured him more than he preffers.

          Running a campaign and being on the road that much can be exhausting, and test anyone to their limits.  I really don't know how folks of his age stand up to it as well as they do.

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Fri May 25, 2012 at 05:50:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Chuck Todd could give him the Voight-Kampff Test (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eXtina, HoundDog, Calamity Jean, madhaus

          You're in a desert, walking along in the sand when all of a sudden you look down and see a tortoise. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun ...

          Of course, R. Mitt will then kill Chuck and then run for the nearest exit. But Harrison Ford lies in wait ...

          Zen and the Art of Penis Truck Maintenance

          by virginislandsguy on Fri May 25, 2012 at 06:01:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  LOL, wasn't that test at the beginning of Blade (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            virginislandsguy, madhaus

            Runner, great.

            I was in relationships for over a decade with three women in a row that had PhD in psychology, and made them all watch this movie hoping that psychometric test to smoke out replicants would be their all time favorite movie scene.

            Hey, you've just raised the forth hypothesis possibly explaining Romney's claim he can not remember these youthful "hijinks and pranks."  What if he is a replicant?  This would explain everything, even better than TBI, flagrant lying, or sociopathic levels of denial.  

            But, sadly, many on the right hate President Obama, and Democrats, so much, they will vote for him even if Chuck Todd, can establish that the truth is "all of the above."

            The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

            by HoundDog on Fri May 25, 2012 at 07:10:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Was bullying blind teacher even worse? (0+ / 0-)

        I don't want to compare assaulting Jon Lauber to what he did to the teacher. The analogy is not perfect. Indeed. One was assault. Said assault and homophobia and hazing were not uncommon at boarding schools but I would be willing to bet that humiliating and potentially injuring someone legally blind was extremely rare if not non existent elsewhere.

  •  I am inclined to see Mitt as a lying sack of (15+ / 0-)

    manure. We don't need to go all Dr. Frist here. The man lacks compassion, empathy, and judgement. He was a lousy governor, and he should not be elected president.

    •  I'm not offering this. . . (6+ / 0-)

      . . . as another reason to loathe him.  Obviously you've got all you need.  But I'm suggesting another, less malicious reason to oppose his candidacy.  

      If a reporter asks Romney "are you a lying sack of manure?" Romney won't respond.  If another reporter asks "might you still have impairments from your 1968 brain injury?" he'd have to at least acknowledge the question.  

      •  My oldest brother was poisoned at 3yrs old (6+ / 0-)

        he went through convulsions and was in a coma for weeks.  When he came out of this coma he was slightly brain damaged, he was functioning but a slow learner after the poisoning.  We were four to six yrs younger and he was hell to be around when our parents were away.  He got a lot of joy whipping us and threatening us.  It seems when he turned 50yrs old he became less functioning.  He has become a hoarder of paper and cars.  I think there is a correlation between slight brain damage and compulsive behaviour.

    •  or cow pie :-) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue jersey mom

      "George Washington: "The power under the Constitution will always be in the people.... and whenever it is executed contrary to their interest, or not agreeable to their wishes, their servants can, and undoubtedly will, be recalled." 1787

      by moose67 on Fri May 25, 2012 at 03:59:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think everyone agrees Romney lacks compassion, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MidwestTreeHugger, WakeUpNeo

      empathy, and judgement, and was a lousy govener, but some don't care.

      The additional important question now, is "does his claim that he cannot remember these early incidents represent lying, deep denial, and cognitive repression, or is merely organic traumatic brain injury?"  

      Some voters may be willing to accept some conditions but not others.  

      So, just to clarify the issues, and avoid a lot of unnecessary gossip, I agree Romney should volunteer for a complete medical, and psychologial work-up, as well as interviews about exactly which of the early childhood incidents he remembers, and which ones he doesn't.

      When he denied memory, did he mean to include the incident where he walked the blind teacher into the door, or just leading the gang "haircut attack?"    


      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Fri May 25, 2012 at 04:49:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I started out reading this with "Oh, brother" (17+ / 0-)

    But then it dawned on me.

    My brilliant father sustained a head trauma in a bicycle accident and we began to notice him making odd decisions sometimes after that, although we never associated the odd decisions with the accident.

    "Odd decisions" such as - we go to a buffet restaurant and everyone brings a tray of food to the table. Then he collects the trays to get them out of the way - and puts them on someone else's table!

    Suddenly, I'm thinking that sounds like someone who would think it's a reasonable idea to strap a dog on the roof.

    Head trauma could absolutely cause Romney to do and say odd things and be oblivious to one's enviroment and company. I'm not a doctor, but I could see it in my father. Dad remained brilliant until he died, but he was not all right, and I would never want him in the White House.

    •  Excellent points pucklady. I would think Romney (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MidwestTreeHugger, pucklady

      would want to know as well.  If MRI, and PET scans did indicate TBI, then Romney could get some special nurses to help him avoid making cognitive errors in those areas he, and everyone else, would know they have some weakness.

      For example, if he were elected, maybe we might alter the protocals for the nuclear launch sequence, to include and extra set of "safety questions" such as:  "Are you really sure?,  Can you remember why??  etc."  

      Everyone could then have a better understanding of what is really going on in Romney's thought process.  

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Fri May 25, 2012 at 04:54:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe that's what Ann will do... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        •  She would probably want to know more than anyone. (0+ / 0-)

          Speaking as someone who was in a 10 year relationship, that ended abruptly, without much exlanation, I've been troubled by not knowing if this was an additional symptom of the incipient dementia, my former SO, has been diagnosed with, or whether it was something I did, or just a sudden change of heart.

          My S.O., was, and still is brilliant, with three gradaute degrees, including a PH.D. from Harvard, and PH.D. in psychology, but had a really serious 15 year bout with alcoholism, bi-polar, PTSD, and others, and takes about 8 serious psychotropic medications, and now including aricept.

          She's had a bunch of brain scans which showed lots of things, but sort of inconclusive, as far as I could find out.  

          I'm not easy to live with, and I also believe folks have the right to make their own choices for whatever reasons they like.  

          I've also have seen a lot of amazing recovery efforts, where people have built, or even rebuilt successful lives after tragic accidents, injuries, addictions, illness, etc.  

          But, it helps to have factual information as a basis.  

          But, I'll confess, my "concern" about Mitt Romney probably comes more from partisan politics more than compassion for Ann, and Mitt.  

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Fri May 25, 2012 at 05:46:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Could this possibly be true... and will the rest (4+ / 0-)

    of the country be able to see it?  Great examples and documentation, btw.

    "I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization." - United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (Republican) -8.12, -5.18

    by ncarolinagirl on Fri May 25, 2012 at 03:47:24 PM PDT

  •  I find your hypothesis (5+ / 0-)


    It also is a reminder of what could happen to all of these TBI soldiers that are back at home (and some still in the service).

    I do believe the brain can be damaged.

    But overall, you do have a very spoiled brat who lacks good people skills.  How he got as far as he has is beyond me, except money does buy you a lot...

    Well, when you earn what, $500,000/week doing nothing, you tend to lose sight of reality.

    -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

    by MarciaJ720 on Fri May 25, 2012 at 03:47:58 PM PDT

  •  The only problem with this diagnoisis is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karl Rover, kurt, kaliope

    that it applies to every Republican I have ever known. Maybe becoming a Republican injures the brain....

    "I will believe corporations are people the day Texas executes one!"

    by Haningchadus14 on Fri May 25, 2012 at 03:56:34 PM PDT

  •  I appreciate the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wee Mama, MidwestTreeHugger

    insight into your area of expertise. It's great being able to learn from such diverse professionals at this site.

    As for diagnosing Romney, I have mixed feelings. Those with <25,000 UIDs may remember the 2004 general election debates, with several commenters (and possibly diarists, I can't remember) swearing that they, as MDs, were positive that Bush must have had a stroke shortly before the debate. Something about his eyes, or his face sagging. This was pre-Schiavo, when it was still ok to do this sort of thing. But again, I appreciate learning about different areas of medicine.

    You are reading my signature line. #hashtag

    by cardinal on Fri May 25, 2012 at 04:32:06 PM PDT

  •  Given that stress exacerbates most neurological (4+ / 0-)

    problems, and that the presidency is the highest stress job on the planet, TBI would be a bad component in a president.

    Does anyone remember this video of progressive deterioration of Bush?

    Could we do a similar comparison on Romney, to show progressive deficits?

    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Fri May 25, 2012 at 04:33:09 PM PDT

  •  Very interesting diary, DocCha. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wee Mama, WakeUpNeo

    Thank you for your analysis.

    I did some reading in this area during graduate school as I worked for a couple of years teaching language to kids, mostly teenagers, undergoing long-term hospitalizations for traumatic brain injuries. What you've outlined seems logical to me, still I'm curious to know whether any of your colleagues with whom you discussed this agreed with your analysis as well as with your intent to present it in public. Did any disagree or offer alternative interpretations?

    Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

    by RJDixon74135 on Fri May 25, 2012 at 04:40:23 PM PDT

  •  Brother Ockham says . . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    you're going to need a bit more than this.

    Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

    by journeyman on Fri May 25, 2012 at 04:40:46 PM PDT

    •  Yes, we need more data. We should ask Romney (0+ / 0-)

      to volunteer for MRI, PET scans, and a full neuropsyholocial workup as part of the normal medical exams many presidential candidates routinely go through to reassure voters.

      Didn't McCain and President Obama do this.  I think I remember Obama's doctors reassuring the public that he was fully healthy.  

      To respect the privacy of candidates we don't need the MRI's and other medical test all posted on a website.  Just the summary overview and reassurances of the medical team that Mitt is fit for the office of the POTUS, or that we are fully informed of any conditions prior to the election, so we can decide if it matter to our vote.  

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Fri May 25, 2012 at 05:03:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No we don't need more data. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Question #1: Was Romney documented lacking empathy and being an all-around asshole before this?

        Yes he was.

        Question #2: Is this a long-time trusted member of this community making this accusation?

        No, he isn't.

        In fact, he's never contributed to this forum prior to writing this diary.

        Question #3: What is more likely: A true expert decides to weigh in on this mighty topic and risk his professional reputation (and make no mistake about it, if this actually became an issue, this man's entire career would be in the balance) or that some troll decided to bait us and prove to us that we are no better than Bill Frist's groupies?

        Brother Ockham would tell us that the burden of proof lies squarely with "DocChap".  So far he has not met that burden.

        Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

        by journeyman on Fri May 25, 2012 at 05:13:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So are you assuming Romney is lying when he says (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          he can't remember?   Or so deep in denial, or of such poor memory, that he really can not remember?

          The hypothesis of some degree of TBI seems more charitable to me.  

          But, given the seriousness of the accident, the pecularity of other behavior, like, for example, unnecessarily insulting the cup-cake charity, and the magnitude of the POTUS responsibilities, it does not seem Frist-like to suggest a medical examination prior to the election.  This may actually be routine, (I can't remember, but I'm not running for president.)

          But, I understand you point about taking the "high-road" jouneymen, which is a sign of your good charactor.  Let me think about it more.  I have criticized those who unfairly "swiftboated" Kerry, and those who want to exploit the Jeremiah Wright associations.  We may have enough proven issues, we can win the election without stooping to the same level of some of the right do regularly.

          But, just the fact that he was already proven to lack empathy prior to the accident, is a seperate issue, from the question of is he lying now when he says he can not remember, or can he really not remember, and if so why?   Is this not a valid question to even ask?  The author is not suggesting a major advertising campaign based on this, but raising a hypothesis.    

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Fri May 25, 2012 at 05:31:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My view is this: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Which is the simpler explanation:

            Possibility # 1: Romney is a socially awkward asshole.

            Possibility # 2: A competent authority in the field of brain injuries decides to risk his professional reputation (and believe me, there is no question that that is what he would be doing.  He's even posted a picture of (suppossedly) himself) on his diagnosis from a bunch of newspaper articles?  Oh, and by the way, this guy decided that he would make this his very first contribution to this blog?

            Obviously it's door #1.

            I'm not saying that this guy is wrong, I'm just saying that I don't trust him.  I have no reason to.  Oh, and by the way, if we decided to make the single most tragic thing that Mitt Romney has ever experienced into an attack on him and it turned out to fizzle, how would that make us look?

            This is the part where you ask to see some ID.

            Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

            by journeyman on Fri May 25, 2012 at 05:48:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You make good points, I hadn't fully considered (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              while writing my previous comments, journeyman.  

              And, yes, there would probable be even other more serious backlash risks, "if" we were to turn this into an attack on him.  Not, the least of which, could be the tremendous numbers of troops who have sufferred a broad range of degrees of TBI, but have manage to rebuild good lives, but whom also face prejudice and doubt about their "reliability."

              I was not aware of this poster's background.  While it is important to raise these kinds of questions,  before escalating these themes into any kind of formal campaigning, here tonight, it's late in the evening on a Friday night, on a Democratic political blog, where many are just relaxing, and searching for new ideas, info, and perspectives.  I've wondered guite a bit, why folks are not more concerned with Mitt's claim of lack of memory, and believe this to be a legitimate area of discussion.  

              So, it seems ok to discuss and explore the issues, don't you think?  Or, has DKOS become so reknown, and influencial, that every post, and every comment puts at risk for national scrutiny, and backlash?  This is a blog, not a monthly academic, peer-reviewed journal, although, we've evolved a similar review, and vetting system for our top writers, in many cases.    

              I probably rec'd, the post, as I rec most things I read, unless obviously problematic, as encouragement to new, and experienced writers, and as appreciation they took time to write here.  As someone who has written several hundreds of posts I know how sad it feels to spend a lot of time on them, and then get little or no reaction.  It doesn't mean I agree with the post, or believe it should be the foundation for future political campaign ads.

              But, if you can support the case that this author is trying to exploit our venue, or cause some other kind of trouble, I'll retract it.  Did this post get on the rec board?  When I read it, it only had a few recs and comments.

              Thanks for thinking about the meta-issues, and being concerned about our reputations.  

              The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

              by HoundDog on Fri May 25, 2012 at 06:36:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  HoundDog, I think you're a good guy. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HoundDog, buddabelly, kurt

            You've put up with my somewhat belligerent self and even recc'ed it.  Twice.

            I'd like to rec you, but I can only rec your comments.  I can't rec your comments because I simply do not agree with them.

            That said, consider this comment to be a rec of you personally and of your ability to engage in debate without getting personally ugly.

            Thank you.

            Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

            by journeyman on Fri May 25, 2012 at 06:37:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sure thing journeyman, I appreciate your comment, (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              journeyman, Wee Mama, buddabelly, freerad

              and have enjoyed our conversation, and even agree with many of your concerns.  You probably haven't had a chance to read my last comment yet, but you will see I even extend you wise caution about the risk of backlash from vets about misuse of TBI concerns for political exploitation.

              But, I also noted in a gentle way, that we are not voting to elevate this post, or any of the comment to be the foundation for a politica ad, or even to be representative of the views of our community.  

              When I rec'd the original post, and your comments it doesn't mean I agree with everything said, as you will see I explain in my most recent response to you elsewhere.  But, additionally, I rec'd your comments to show respect, and support for your level of concern, and as part of the Gandhian philosophy of constructive engagement.  

              My stance is that out of serious intense discussion emerge insights, better mutual understanding, and progress.

              I had the great fortune to spend about 15 years on a very focused reasearch team at MIT where our top faculty and graduate students worked for over a decade on a set of mathematical models of social systems.  One of my friends, who later replaced the founder of our field, as the tenured faculty-department head would often spend 10 hours straight in arguments so heated, and uncomfortable that others were sometimes left speechless.

              It gradually become clear that the attacks entirely focused on the ideas and mathematical formulations, or interpretations, as after work, all participants were lifelong friends and loyal defenders of the others.

              One thing I prefer about mathematical modeling to political blogging is that is far easier to distinguish attack on the ideas, which is the basis of progress, from attacks on the person which is destructive.

              Even though you are passionate, I could tell you concern was not personal, but entirely based on legitimate concern about the issues you raise, and the possibility we might be misled, or bamboozled by someone.

              And, I admire folks like yourself, who still care enough about the ideas, the quality of our collective thinking, the reputation of our site, and integrity of the Democratic Party, and political process to get this "hot-headed" about these issues.  And, even write follow-up comments to clarify your intentions.  

              This is great, journeyman.  As you may note, I'm up to over 20,200 comments here, and for the most part, I've sunk to the level of making inside jokes to myself, just to keep myself amused.  

              To actual have an interesting, meanful conversation, with someone as intelligent, passionate, and committed as yourself is the best fun I've had all evening.  

              Plus, I've seen you around for many years and respect your contributions.  

              Keep on trucken' my friend.  And, let me know if you think I should retract any rec's I probably made here.  I wasn't endorsing a remote diagnosis, as just saying thanks to the writer.  I'm the kind of person that still leaves "only" a 15% for even really bad table service.  


              The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

              by HoundDog on Fri May 25, 2012 at 06:56:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Today's News Media - Not for a Democrat! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, WakeUpNeo

    No, I think that this analysis would be far more than enough for Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Faux Talking Heads to spend the next two or three months discussing - if the subject were a Democratic Party Candidate.

    Now, the facts being different, and since King Grover only needs somebody who can sign whatever legislation Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan send him, King Grover would probably consider any potential brain injuries and long-term dementia in the person of the potential President, insignificant.

    Impeach Grover Norquist! Defeat a Republican!

    by NM Ray on Fri May 25, 2012 at 05:05:09 PM PDT

  •  Suggest reviewing APA ethics guide (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    journeyman, kurt, 3idirish

    (for some reason the link shortcut is not showing up, so giving the raw link)

    The Elephant. The Rider. The Path. Figure those out and change will come.

    by Denver11 on Fri May 25, 2012 at 05:06:43 PM PDT

  •  Hard to believe this very serious car (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    accident isn't more commonly known. I've never heard of it before. Even Laura Bush's car accident was known during the campaign.

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Fri May 25, 2012 at 05:08:48 PM PDT

    •  Sorry, but the only biography of Romney (0+ / 0-)

      has a good deal to say on it.

      It is quite well known.  What isn't known is the diarist.

      I think he's a troll.

      Of course, if he's willing to show me some reason that I shouldn't, well then I'm all ears.

      Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

      by journeyman on Fri May 25, 2012 at 05:53:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  another link about accident from NYT.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Macca's Meatless Monday

    by VL Baker on Fri May 25, 2012 at 05:26:06 PM PDT

  •  Fortunately for Romney, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, kurt

    brain damage is not a disqualification for the Presidency.

    Fructose is a liver poison. Stop eating it today.

    by Anne Elk on Fri May 25, 2012 at 05:28:27 PM PDT

  •  I find it more interesting that (0+ / 0-)

    the oncoming car was driven by a Catholic priest. Anyone who has seen one of the Omen movies knows it is always a Catholic priest who is trying to kill the young Damien. What did this priest know about Mitt Romney that made him want to kill him? Why is Romney's hair so unusually thick, if not to hide the numbers 666 branded on the top of his head?

  •  Went to MIB3. . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    edrie, WakeUpNeo

    . . . with my wife, and returned to find I'd stirred up quite a controversy, along with speculation that I am trolling.   Of course, if I was, I don't think I would have presented so much legitimate and verifiable documentation of my hypothesis.  But I can understand the suspicion, in that I appear to be a first time poster.

    I'll confess to having soured on my DailyKos experience years ago, when I posted under the name Rees Chapman.   So much toxic rage, I decided to take a break from it, and seldom came back.  When I decided to post this diary, I found that my password no longer worked, and the email address I'd used was no longer active.  So I set up a new account as DocChap, the previous one being unavailable.

    I appreciate all the personal anecdotes, the speculation that what I am suggesting might be true, even much of the sarcasm and flak.  I thank journeyman for his concern regarding GOP backlash, but I'm not worried.  

    At you'll find the same post.

    btw: MIB3 is superb!

  •  I read that Romney makes it a point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to go home frequently, to spend time with his wife.  He feels that she 'centers' and 'grounds' him, or terms to that effect.  Her ability to reduce his stress level was remarked upon.  That would fit with your  hypothesis of persistent effects from the auto accident.

    Democrats - We represent America!

    by phonegery on Fri May 25, 2012 at 07:35:45 PM PDT

  •  "Robotic self-control" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phonegery, jan4insight, kurt, WakeUpNeo

    I think that Romney's skill set involves sitting in a room and poring through mountains of tax codes, legal documents, and employment contracts in search of loopholes.

    How did he become CEO of Bain? This is where we've underestimated him, and also George W. Bush:

    Superiors: Hey, Mitt/George, can we get fifteen minutes on the phone with your father?

    Mitt/George: That depends. Can I have an equity position and a seat on the board of directors?

    "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

    by CFAmick on Fri May 25, 2012 at 08:12:44 PM PDT

  •  I can't wait for the stimulating give-and-take of (0+ / 0-)

    dueling neuropsycologists in the media if this line of attack -- and disclaimers notwithstanding, it is an attack -- is pursued.

    It will immediately be compared to classic Soviet/Totalitarian classification of political opponents as mental defectives, for which there is ample evidence.

    Political parties will rue the day they try it in America.

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