I am going to cut to the chase on this one. A diagnosis of Bipolar should, indeed, exclude a candidate from the presidency. And I say this as a Bipolar sufferer myself. While I agree with the theory that the very qualities that mark mood disorders make for great leaders in times of crisis, (A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness by Dr. Nassir Ghaemi) the reality is allowing someone who can become manic or gravely depressed to have access to ‘The Button’ is ridiculous. Additionally, Clearance is not granted to those with serious mental illness, so allowing the Commander-in-Chief to suffer from Bipolar is utterly absurd.
It seems that Liz Spikol, the article’s author, and I are on the same page with this topic. She writes, “Now let’s say Newt Gingrich has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder I. Is he still a viable candidate for president? No, but it’s not about the diagnosis. It’s about the behavior.” That’s absolutely correct. It is about the behavior. It’s not about lack of intelligence (bipolar people are often times very intelligent), socioeconomics, party affiliation or stigma. It’s all about whether the person in question can present rational, consistent leadership for one of the most powerful nations on earth, as well as whether they are able to handle stress in a time of crisis – the latter being a well-documented trigger for a bipolar episode.
So, for everyone out there, both foreign and domestic, I give the floor to you. Any thoughts on whether a Bipolar sufferer is a viable candidate for the US Presidency?