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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

NEW DIAGNOSIS! Irrational Fear of Palin Disorder

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
As a veteran therapist, I'm using this forum to announce the establishment of a new clinical diagnosis: IFP Disorder (Irrational Fear of Palin Disorder).
Since the McCain campaign picked Sarah Palin as their V-P candidate, poll numbers have swung ominously in their favor. The gun-totin', Bible-thumping, anti-choice, book-burning "hockey mom" is America's newest sweetheart.
But that's not the point: what really has amazed me in the past week is the change that has come over my therapy patients. Without fail, they seem oddly uninterested in dealing with their usual issues---relationship conflicts, family concerns, career crises, substance abuse, etc. All they want to talk about is their Fear of Sarah Palin.
Since my practice specializes in creative issues, I have many artistic types as patients---and, true to the cliche, most are liberal Democrats. What I've seen in the last week in my therapy office can only be described as a clinical phenomenon:
hour after hour, patient after patient comes trudging in with shoulders bent, face a sickly pallor, and eyes buzzing with anxiety. Some personal tragedy? Some terrifying dream? Some horrible revelation from a spouse or significant other?
No...it's Sarah Palin's rise to prominence. It's the turn in the polls. It's the bracing fear that the McCain/Palin ticket may actually triumph in November.
Old issues of paranoia, depression, and inadequacy are re-emerging. Beliefs are being challenged. Old phobias reawakened.  
And with good reason. Minnesota elected Jesse Ventura governor. Californians put Arnold in the state capital. Why not a vice-president (and potential commander-in-chief) who seems more like a runner-up in American Idol than a sober-minded policy maker?
The symptoms of IFP Disorder are depression, loss of faith in the political system,
obsessive viewing of cable news shows and Internet sites, and compulsive sending and forwarding on of alarmed (and alarming) emails to like-minded people.
The treatment options for IFP Disorder? Phone banks, donations, organizing, and getting out the vote. Will that work? Will it be enough?
Only time will tell. Because if IFP Disorder sprouts into a full-scale epidemic, we may indeed soon be seeing Vice President Palin field-dressing moose in the Rose Garden.   

1 comment:

Dave Congalton said...

I have some encouraging news for you, Dennis. It seems like the "Palin Effect" was short-lived:

"Despite an intense effort to distance himself from the way his party has done business in Washington, Senator John McCain is seen by voters as far less likely to bring change to Washington than Senator Barack Obama. He is widely viewed as a “typical Republican” who would continue or expand President Bush’s policies, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Polls taken after the Republican convention suggested that Mr. McCain had enjoyed a surge of support — particularly among white women after his selection of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate — but the latest poll indicates “the Palin effect” was, at least so far, a limited burst of interest. The contest appeared to be roughly where it was before the two conventions and before the vice-presidential selections: Mr. Obama had the support of 48 percent of registered voters, compared with 43 percent for Mr. McCain, a difference within the poll’s margin of sampling error, and statistically unchanged from the tally in the last New York Times/CBS News poll, in mid-August."