The new book is here.
I’ve got a new Think Again column on Sarah Palin and Blood Libel here, called “The Gift Who Keeps on Giving.”
And my Nation column is called “A “Worm” in the Neocon War Plans?” and that’s here.
For the Daily Beast I did “The GOP’s Health Care Kabuki” and that’s here.
I got kicked off Parker-Spitzer last night apparently for Ron Reagan, who writes in his new book that his father probably had Alzheimer’s while president. In 2000, the great Charles P. Pierce published a book called Hard To Forget, which was about both his father’s Alzheimer’s, and how all four of his siblings eventually succumbed to it, and about the history of the disease and the researchers who were fighting it at the time. In it, on page 59, he wrote this, in part:
I will believe this until I die—for at least four years, the United States was governed by a symptomatic Alzheimer’s patient. I believe the people near him knew that and I believe that they covered for him in a hundred ways, large and small…I do not envy them their dark miracle or their consciences.
The Reagan people reportedly were furious at Pierce for having written that. (The Alzheimer’s community is a talkative one.) But he felt confident in writing because, almost to a person, everyone he talked to in the research community believed it. At a conference in Japan, Pierce told me he was talking to Dennis Selkoe, one of the top guys in the field and mentioned that there was one episode in particular that made him think that Reagan had become symptomatic, and Dennis, without missing a beat said, "The first debate with Mondale." There were always hints. Jane Mayer and Doyle McManus wrote a book called "Landslide" that begins with a young WH lawyer being tasked to research the presidential disability provisions of the 25th amendment. Every memoir—from Lawrence Walsh’s to Ollie North to Lesley Stahl’s—has at least one instance of Reagan being utterly vacant. John McCain told Pierce that he had seen one in the WH. Many Alzheimer’s patients have a catastrophic episode—Reagan had a few, and these were evident during his testimony during the Iran-Contra scandal…among others.
For reasons I cannot imagine, New York magazine didn’t ask me to contribute to this, but this list making stuff is fun. Here’s mine. (For reasons of honesty and expertise, I decided to limit myself to people and events I was old enough to actually experience.)