Skip to comments.49% of US Presidents suffered mental illness in Duke study
Posted on 04/20/2006 10:05:20 PM PDT by Torie
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But remember, John Adams hated Thomas Jefferson
With today's large fields of candidates, it's always possible to find one real kook, and elect someone who also has something wrong upstairs. And of course the observers are biased themselves, and prefer some candidates to others.
"Presidential temperament" was a big theme in 1976. It doesn't look like the professional observers caught Jimmy Carter's own deficiencies and rigidities. They were comparing Carter to recent presidents Nixon and Johnson. Carter didn't have their particular flaws -- and they didn't want Ford to win -- so they judged Jimmy not just to be sane, but to have an untroubled psyche, and missed his obsessive nature.
"so they judged Jimmy not just to be sane, but to have an untroubled psyche, and missed his obsessive nature."
Not us Navy guys. We have a saying from way back: "Nukes are pukes."
If they compared Wilson to TR, Woodrow might simply look boring and conventional.Absolutely, and that's precisely why he won. He stayed "safe" -- boring -- and a traditional low-tarrif, moderate progressive Democrat, fitting in comfortably between TR's radicalism and Taft's conservativism. The Wilson scholars hate to think he was a traditional Dem. He was. All that cr*p about Brandeis converting him is bull. Even if true, he met Brandeis way late in the campaign to change either his thought or his rhetoric. (Indeed, his first term domestic policies were either mainstream progressivism, just to the left of Taft, or traditional populist Democrat.)
So, his '12 political campaign was based on being, if not stodgy, then stiff, especially as a counter-point to TR, who was accused of being a drunk, a maniac, and all sorts of unkind and mostly -- mostly -- untrue manifestations of mental instability. Note, though, that Wilson was considered a very good speaker. Not a TR, but he could make a good speech.
I don't see how anyone in 1912 could have known Wilson's inner character, except, perhaps, close associates. He was the occasional stuborn ass as president of Princeton, but that was seen as having backbone. And he was very adept as Governor of NJ, although I think the political situation there made it easy for him. He took supposedly brave stands against "the interests" that were really easy to make. It was the events of his presidency that brought out his ugliest core. Nobody could have known it back in 1912.
"But remember, John Adams hated Thomas Jefferson"
Heck, Aaron Burr *killed* Alexander Hamilton.
Bush isn't smart enough to be crazy.
Very common in overweight men, and President Taft was HUGE!
LOL - that's kinda funny when you stop to think about it. I would imagine most presidents get tired of living like they're in a zoo or fishbowl being watched 24/7.
JFK was a sexual deviant. Somehow they failed to mention that in this article too.
I think you have to be nuts to want that job in the first place.
There couldn't have been that many liberal presidents throughout history could there have been?
He got stuck in the WH bathtub
President Taft was HUGE!Taft's top weight as President was 347 lbs in 1911/12. (He peaked at around 330 as Sec War five years before; he dropped under 300 when he ran for President.) The story of the bathtub is typical of how these things define history. That story is the most common in the popular mind of the guy's presidency. It came from a White House usher who printed memoirs in 1934. He wrote,
He got stuck in the WH bathtub
"When Taft came to the White House, a large tub had to be placed in his bathroom, since the one already there was not big enough. The President would stick in it when bathing and had to be helped out each time" ("Forty-Two Years in the White House" by Ike Hoover p. 111)It's remarkable how popular history has gone from those lines to "Taft got stuck in the bathtub" -- and, worse, how that it came to define the man. It's an historical shame.
I won't bore you with a large refutation of Hoover and his stories, except to say this:
1) Taft was large all his life, and he traveled extensively, probably more than anyone else in politics in his day. He was used to different bathtubs everywhere he went and he knew what to do in case of an under-sized tub. He didn't get "stuck" in one. He needed help getting out. And that tub Hoover described was in the White Hous when Taft was well under 300 lbs.
2) Hoover hated Taft and used his memoirs to paint him ugly. While it is likely true that Taft got help from his Filipino manservant in bathing, I have found at least two instances in which Hoover flat-out lied about, or, to be generous, most erroneously recalled the past. Put it this way: Hoover did not have to mention the bathtub story in his book. It's a silly story that ought not to define his presidency.
For a couple stories about Taft, his weight, and his humor about it, see here.
Interesting PDF, but it'll take a while to look through it.
Sometimes politics really is psychodrama. Maybe it happens when a charismatic or innovative leader comes along and breaks with tradition. Such a figure has trouble fitting in with those around him, and the other political actors have a hard time coming to terms with the age's dominant figure.
TR, Taft, and Wilson provide one example. JFK, LBJ, and Nixon another. You can see a little of this in the early Republic as well, as founders competed with each other for Washington's and then Jefferson's favor. The relationship between presidents and vice presidents has often been frought with Freudian tensions.
90% of Duke professors are morons.
Well, according to this book, that is not entirely true.