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A clean bill of health for Dave Reichert

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on Oct. 7, 2010 at 3:32 pm with 10 Comments »
October 7, 2010 3:32 pm

A rather vile post on the two weeks ago, “What’s wrong with Reichert’s brain?,” speculated that the head injury U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert suffered last February had more or less left the 8th District Republican a confused punch-drunk unfit for Congress.

The author, David Goldstein, cut-and-pasted excerpts from a UCLA medical website into lurid accounts of Reichert’s injury and theorized that the congressman had an atrophied brain – “Which leaves me wondering if the 8th CD is on the verge of re-electing a congressman with an… um… intellectual disability.”

Well, Reichert just paid our editorial board a visit today. If he was suffering from any brain damage, he did a heck of a job covering it up as he lucidly answered questions ranging from fiscal policy to Afghanistan to bipartisanship. He was vague at points, but it looked like the deliberate vagueness of a politician denying targets to the opposition. His challenger, Suzan DelBene, also employed tactical vagueness when she came in, only a lot more of it.

Reichert got his head whacked by a branch while he was cutting firewood; the doctors found a large residue of blood in the right side of his cranium and drilled a few holes in his skull to relieve the pressure. This week, he released a letter from the attending physician for Congress, Brian P. Monahan, who wrote, “You have received close follow up and completed an uneventful recovery and your symptoms resolved completely,” Monahan wrote.

Reichert can joke about it now. “I’m fine,” he told us. “It’s brain surgery; yes, there’s a recovery period. It did push my brain to the right so I made my Republican friends happy. But it’s moved back to the center since then.”

He said he was in the hospital five days and back to work two days after his release.

He was touched when his Democratic challenger of two years ago, Darcy Burner, sent him flowers in the hospital. Also when Nancy Pelosi called him and said, “We were praying for you, and I personally was praying for you.”

Political analysts talk about an “expectations game,” which politicians win simply by performing better than expected. Their opponents, eager to trash them, often play right into the trap. Back in 2000, Democrats gleefully forecast George W. Bush’s humiliation at the hands of Al Gore Jr. in the presidential debates; at that point, all Bush had to do was not get humiliated to come out ahead with much of the public.

Setting the performance standard for Reichert at “not brain damaged” did nothing to help DelBene’s campaign.

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. BlaineCGarver says:

    Well, Pat…I’m sure Democrats will flock to the right side after your pronouncment…..

  2. jimkingjr says:

    Goldstein decided some time ago that truth matters as little to him as it does to Eyman- just write whatever makes the politics you favor “work”, even if it is an outright lie. Both sides continue to push all decency out of politics and campaigns.

  3. hortonpeak says:

    Well, now we know it is not some medical complication. And, I for one wish him the best and am glad he had access to great medical care. However, that raises the larger question of his answers to legitimate questions. At least Goldy was willing to give him the benefit of an organic problem.

  4. mjcrites says:

    There’s nothing nasty or vile about asking if someone who’s taken a nasty whack to the head is fit to go back to work. Glad to hear he’s OK.

  5. quiller4 says:

    There was nothing nasty at all about asking the question most especially after the Congressman revealed in a televised interview that the injury was much more significant than than we had been led to believe for months.

    Instead I find it disturbing that nobody in mainstream media asked follow-up health questions of Reichert after the Mak interview aired.

    If the Congressman recovered with no lasting impairment, then good for him. That is not often the case in a man his age. I know because it was a subdural hematoma treated within 24 hours of the original injury that caused my mother’s death.

    Before the surgery to remove her hematoma that was about one quarter the size of the one Reichert’s surgeon removed, Dr. Wiese cautioned our family that brain herniation was not an uncommon response in older patients and could cause permanent brain damage or death.

    The Congressman suffered a serious injury that could have resulted in death or permanent disability. The press should have been asking questions of Reichert just as they did of Sen. Tim Johnson.

    David Goldstein asked appropriate questions in a serious and respectful manner. If he hadn’t, this matter would not have been addressed. Thank you Mr. Goldstein.

  6. cliffallo says:

    Given Reichert’s performance, injury, and curious schedule, Goldstein asked an important question. The TNT had the leverage Goldstein did not to obtain what it believes is a satisfactory answer.

    Next question:

    Hans Zeiger is proud that he required neither government nor parental assistance to attend college. Can the TNT get Zeiger–now a public figure–to disclose who did pay his college expenses?

    Given Zeiger’s lack of an employment history, it is legitimate to ask how he has made his way in the world since his graduation from Puyallup High School.

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