Date: September 5, 2008
From: Geoffrey Smith
Subject: Not the nation's business
Your editorial suggestion that Sarah Palin's situation is akin to that of Missouri's Thomas Eagleton in the 1972 presidential campaign of George McGovern raises an important question. Why should depression and treatment be something that a candidate must disclose ("Shadow Cast on McCain's Judgment-Sept 3)? This argument would have put Abraham Lincoln's candidacy in jeopardy, as well as perpetuating stereotypes surrounding mental illness. That Mr. Eagleton got help was his and his family's business, not the nation's.
In this context, the recent furor over Ms. Palin's pregnant daughter Bristol has more in common with the media's treatment accorded Mr. Eagleton, not that candidate's responsibility to come clean nationally about any and all personal problems.