A Leftist obsession: Mr Trump is mentally damaged
Even during the primaries there were claims that Mr Trump was in some way mentally defective. And there has been an absolute drumbeat of such accusations ever since. The latest, by a John Gartner, is titled
"Trump's cognitive deficits seem worse. We need to know if he has dementia: Psychologist" It appears in that august publication, "USA Today"
Dr. Gartner is a psychologist and a former assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine but I am a Ph.D. psychologist with a large array of published academic papers on mental health topics so I think I am in a good position to examine his claims.
Gartner assembles many examples of "defects" in Trump's speech and rightly says that such defects are common in the speech of people with Alzheimer’s disease. He shows that Trump rambles and mixes up his words.
So has he made his case? No. As Leftists normally do, he has ignored facts that do not suit him. He has a conclusion he wants to come to and has ignored alternative explanations for the "evidence" he examines.
And the thing he ignores is a really gross omission: Elder speech. Old people ramble and mix up their words. We all do as we get older. Let me recycle something I said about that recently:
"Old people tend to forget their words and may use generic substitutes. For instance, the lady in my life and I are both of Mr Trump's vintage and we both listen to a lot of early classical music. But one day she wanted to say something to me about a harpsichord, an instrument very familiar to us both. But words failed her. So she referred to it as "that piano thing". Mr Trump's speech could well lack precision like that. He is 72. He could, for instance say "father" when he meant "grandfather". Mr Trump is squarely in the category of someone from whom elder speech can be expected.
But being old does not make you mentally defective. Most of the world is ruled by old people. So they would appear in fact to be mostly seen as wise by their electors.
But other politicians don't speak in the muddled way Trump does, you might say. And that's true. Because others almost invariably read pre-written words off a teleprompter, often words of great verbal skill. It's not even their own words that most politicians are uttering in public speeches. Mr Obama is a good example of that. All his speeches were brilliantly polished. But there were a few occasions when for some reason he was deprived of his teleprompter and on those occasions he made no sense at all. Some examples here and here of muddled Obama speech that Dr Gartner might like to review. And Mr Obama is a lot younger The Donald.
The biggest verbal horror Obama perpetrated to my mind when he referred to an army "corps" and pronounced it as "corpse". Quite gross. And as for grandiose speech, can you beat Obama's claim that his nomination for the Presidency was "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal"? (3 June 2008). And for confusion, what about, ""We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." It made sense to Obama's followers but Trump makes sense to his followers too.
Mr Trump is a very forthright politician. He speaks his mind and he speaks it his way. He does use a telepromter on some formal occasions but mostly he just lets it rip. His followers like that. They know they are hearing the real man, not some artificially contrived media creature who actually believes in nothing. Mr Trump is no policy wonk but nor are most of his voters.
We had a political leader much like Mr Trump in my home State of Queensland, Premier Joh Bjelke Petersen. He was a small farmer and spoke like one. Media figures thought his rambling, disconnected speech made no sense at all. But it made plenty of sense to his voters. They kept him in office for nearly 20 years. So 8 years of Trump would seem eminently feasible.
Even young public speakers make gaffes. Dr. Gartner should make allowances.