Thursday, May 1, 2008

Pity for Sleep-Deprived Presidential Candidates

I feel sorry for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain. Oh, I now they're all wealthy and powerful and have willingly signed on to run for the presidency. Still, I would hate to be in their position of having every word scrutinized and criticized. They've all gotten into trouble because they've misspoken. Some more than others.

What we need to remember is that these folks are getting by on little sleep. We all say stupid things when we're tired. We are a tad ornery. Presidential candidates are only human, and they react the same way.

They don't get much sleep. At one time, McCain said he was trying to get five or six hours a night. Obama said his best Christmas gift was eight hours of sleep. I doubt he's gotten much lately. Jeremiah Wright is insomnia in a pastor's robe. The whole country has noted Clinton's fatigue in unflattering, bleary-eyed photos. Her husband even pointed it out to the media.

Politicians are sleep-deprived, no doubt about that. Bill Clinton said sleep deprivation caused some of the "edginess" in Washington D.C. He was notorious for only getting a few hours of sleep per night. Harold Dean's rambling shriek that cost him his presidential bid was blamed on sleep deprivation. Mike Huckabee (remember him?) blamed some of his problems on fatigue, stating he was down to four hours of sleep per night. Giuliani spent a night in the hospital because he was so exhausted. All-night campaigning toward the end of a campaign is a badge of honor for all candidates.

Given what we know about sleep deprivation - specifically that it impairs judgment and decision-making skills - wouldn't we all be better off if these people would go home and take a nap?