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This Is Your President on Drugs

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In a recent column titled "Soft Shoe in Hard Times," byline Washington DC, Maureen Dowd observed, "Everyone here is flummoxed about why the president is in such a fine mood... Boy George crashed the family station wagon into the globe and now the global economy." Yet he seems "goofily happy."

I have a hypothesis.

This is your president on drugs.

I first became suspicious after the famed pretzel incident. When Bush showed up in front of the cameras with the nasty scrape on his face, which he attributed to choking on a pretzel and falling off the couch while watching a ball game, there was wide speculation he'd started drinking again. At the time (pre-911), his ratings were in the dumps and Enron was crawling up his neck. Maybe the pressure was just too much for this known rage-aholic with an attention span of 15 minutes.

I soon noticed a distinct change in his voice and timbre. His speech had a flatline quality, a compression of peaks and valleys. His temper seemed tempered. He slurred a lot of words. His voice rasped with the gravelly sound of a permanent hangover.

I became convinced the president was on Prozac.

At lunch with a doctor friend last summer, for no particular reason I mentioned all this. He leaned in quizzically and looked me deep in the eye. He'd recently been chatting with a doctor friend of his who had been involved with Bush's European trip, and who wondered aloud about a strange practice he witnessed. Throughout the trip, the Secret Service bagged all the president's poop and pee.

Why would they do that, except to avoid drug testing?

The situation is more serious than it may sound. Jim Cramer, the MSNBC financial pundit and former hedge fund manager, was in the game during the 1999 bubble. He acknowledged that he and a whole lot of Wall Street traders were playing the market through anti-depressant lenses. Here's what he wrote about the irrational exuberance ramping up to the crash:

"Prozac and all those other drugs banish the 'This is the end of the world' thoughts. Which means you are not as anxious as you should be about an obvious downside."

Think about it. A willfully blue-sky president already disinclined to think about the downside, jacked up on antidepressants that banish the downside. Scratch those pesky "This is the end of the world" thoughts.

We need to demand the poop on the president.

Kenny Ausubel, Founder and CEO, Bioneers.

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