Wednesday, March 31, 2004

More about Kerry's health

Setting aside the Andy Borowitz flip flop joke, Lurch's impending operation again brings up the question of why he won't release his medical records.
Now comes the unrelated matter of an operation to repair a torn shoulder tendon, an injury that the Kerry campaign says he incurred while on a campaign bus in January. The post-operative period will again take him out of action for "three or four days." Of such episodes, impressions begin to form.
Those pesky campaign buses!
In the murky background, national tabloid papers speculate that he may be a victim of more embarrassing diseases. Such nasty rumors are commonplace in American politics (and inevitably have their effects), but are fueled by candidates who refuse to release all their medical records — as Mr. Kerry refuses.
I could always understand Bubba Clinton's reluctance, since the little people might frown on multiple cases of the clap, not to mention his vacuum cleaner nose for cocaine. And Kerry's military medical records might be a bad idea since the general consensus is that he got his Purple Hearts for bandaid injuries that other soldiers would not have even reported. But what's the deal with his current medical situation?
The limited, general, uncorroborated statements by his personal physician, Dr. Gerald J. Doyle of Boston, only keep the controversy on a slow simmer. The doctor said that "there was no evidence of metastatic disease" and that Mr. Kerry's heart function "was above average for a man his age." Is that really the best his helpful doctor could offer up?

The American public has a growing experience with incomplete, protective or misleading statements by the doctors of politicians and other celebrities. So long as Mr. Kerry refuses to permit the release of his military records relating to his war injuries and health, as well as his current and comprehensive medical records, a curious American public will have to judge the senator's physical fitness for the presidency by publicly available evidence, speculation and rumor. It's Mr. Kerry's own fault if false rumors affect his candidacy.

He is already on record as lying about his cancer condition last year — first denying the condition, then admitting it when the fact could not be avoided. Even The Washington Post yesterday reported: "Kerry, 60, who appeared athletic and robust during his recent skiing holiday, has nonetheless faced medical issues in the past year that have raised questions about his overall health." When The Washington Post puts its corporate teeth into a candidate on a personal matter — that's not good news for the politician.

As The Post alluded, even Mr. Kerry's intentionally conspicuous athleticism (playing ice hockey, snow boarding and racing his 10-speed bike in front of news cameras) is suspicion raising. We all remember Mr. Kerry's idol — John F. Kennedy — conspicuously playing vigorous football and sailing for the news cameras as a cover for his Addison's Disease and severe back ailments.
C'mon Lurch, how about some full disclosure?