Are Palin and McCain Mentally Competent?

A column by David Brooks brings into question the psychological readiness of a woman like Sarah Palin. More articles appear daily alluding to her rigid mind set, aggressiveness and brass compensation for a lack of experience and judgement that are too similar to the ineptness of George Bush. An indication of not just more of the same past eight years but a far worse future for the U. S. and the world to endure.

And what of the psychological readiness of John McCain, a man who admits that torture broke him? In my experience as a therapist, victims often retain a degree of lingering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He is called angry and volatile by fellow Senators, angry by school pals and angry by a fellow prison camp soldier. Has he received treatment for PTSD, how much, by whom, for how long and was it effective? Imprisoned, tortured and humiliated, John McCain says such treatment broke him. Just like a broken bone or torn skin, the healing process does not mean that it did not happen. Scars and weakness remain. How will such scars hurt the U.S. presidency?

The day to day of the Senate is nothing like the war zone of the oval office when it comes to stress. Physically, he is certainly too old and prone to illness to withstand the horrific aging that the highest office in the land imparts on our presidents and top leaders. The severe work stress is inescapable. As the pressure mounts, will Post Traumatic Stress Disorder kick in and cloud his judgement? Most therapists have witnessed that kick-in or flashback experience when working with PTSD patients. PTSD patients struggle with the insecurity of their mental state and worry that they will fail emotionally at unpredictable moments when triggered by sights, smells, sounds and places that are deeply embedded in their psyche.

Perhaps, these elected officials are trying their very best to govern. But, a prudent voter must examine results, not empty promises or keep blind allegiance to any "ol' Party." Go back and listen to what the Bush political promises were. Are there less abortions, less gay marriage, less poverty or better education, a stronger economy or any security? All no to that.

Little lies, infidelity, confusion about countries, flip flopping on big issues, not understanding the economy and bad choices in inexperienced business partners may be something that you can overlook in your grandfather, but not in the leader of the free world or their successor.

Mandatory mental health screenings should be a requirement of all top leaders in our government. Our decision makers have no right to shield themselves from the paying public concerning mental illness, emotionally disturbed behavior, drug use or alcohol use because these jobs are 24-7.

World War II, Korean War and Vietnam vets did not get the help they needed and they and their families suffered with the effects of war. I have counseled people from all these wars and their stories are similar. Explosive anger is a sign of a lack of healing. Now, John McCain selected the VP based on a one hour meeting and a fifteen minute phone call! That is such poor decision making, a true dysfunctional suspension of the potential reality of the office of vice-president.

Judgement is paramount to keeping the citizens of America alive rather than nuked, financially destroyed, victims of disease or tainted food. It is a staggeringly big job, too big for John McCain and ridiculous for Sarah Palin, a pitifully inexperienced choice by a man who should have known better.

The U.S. cannot use it's presidential election like a high school popularity contest. The people must choose a leader who is honest and faithful, a deep thinker who is a scholar of history and politics and someone who works with and for the people in most need. John McCain is far from that choice. He is mentally and physically a huge risk with a 30% chance of dying in office because of his age. A Palin administration would be a disaster for the majority and a coup for the religious right and all foreign leaders who despise us.

The Republican party could substitute a different line-up for their ticket and provide Republicans and Independents a choice. But, as it stands, Obama is the only wise vote in town.

©2010, Molly Barrow

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Dr. Molly Barrow holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is the author of the new book, Matchlines: A revolutionary New Way of looking at relationships and making the right choices in love. She is an authority on relationship and psychological topics, a member of the American Psychological Association and a licensed mental health counselor. Dr. Molly has appeared as an expert on NBC, PBS, KTLA, and in O Magazine, Psychology Today, Newsday,,, Women's Health and Women's World. Please visit: or Take the new relationship compatibility test, Match Lines Systems for Successful Relationships for Singles, Couples and Business at Molly has a radio program, Your Relationship Answers at

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