September 28th, 2016
Howard Dean, the physician and former governor of Vermont, Democratic presidential candidate and head of the Democratic National Committee, tweeted during the presidential debate Monday: “Notice Trump sniffing all the time. Coke user?”
The following day, he doubled down on his charge:
“his is an interesting constellation: he sniffed during the presentation, which is something that users do, he also has grandiosity, which is something that accompanies that problem, he has delusions. . . ., he has trouble with pressured speech . . .he couldn’t keep himself together. . . . He is someone who has proven himself unstable.”
Tragically, speaking as an expert on addiction, I think it is obvious that Howard Dean is displaying a long-term drug problem. Just look at the obvious signs:
1. His blurting out inappropriate observations, comments and strange noises. This is a long-standing problem for Dean, as described here:
But then came the Iowa Caucus. The frontrunner for so many months, Dean came in third place behind John Kerry and John Edwards, shocking his supporters. But the damage was far from finished: In his concession speech in a Des Moines hotel ballroom that night, Dean tried to make himself heard above a raucous crowd of thousands. In a speech that was largely ad-libbed, he began shouting a list of states the campaign would go on to conquer in the months to come. And then he came to that immortal, cartoonish crescendo: “YAHHHHHH!!!”
The Dean Scream, as it became known, spread almost instantly across the media landscape. It played on loop on cable networks and local stations alike. Leno, Letterman, and Conan all had their fun with it, and Dave Chappelle wrote a skit that immortalized the moment for any young adults who had still somehow missed it. Dean’s cry became the stuff of legend. It was the Internet’s first-ever political meme, remembered as the moment We, The People decided that Dean was unfit for the Oval Office.
And how can we assess the relative harms of Trump’s and Dean’s drug habits? Significantly, Trump’s sniffles didn’t cause his debate debacle, while we have seen that the Dean Scream in and of itself derailed Dean’s presidential campaign.
2. As a physician, Dean has had a long-term opportunity to gain access to drugs!
3. Dean was governor, and is a current resident of, Vermont, whose recent candidate for President and current senator, Bernie Sanders, was the only candidate among 20 Republicans and Democrats who favored decriminalization of marijuana. Although the Vermont legislature voted down legalizing marijuana this year, “a growing crop of Vermont cannabis entrepreneurs are expanding their businesses with an eye to the future.”
To any expert, Dean’s increasingly bizarre behavior as he becomes a Hillary Clinton automaton makes it evident that he is on some type of drug, whether it be cocaine, marijuana, or some prescription he writes for himself. Just as a dozen years ago he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in his presidential bid, his idiotic tweet gave the Trump forces a chance to recoup from their candidate’s own bizarre, off-putting performance.
Dean was elected to five terms as Governor of Vermont, making him the longest-serving top official in that state since the Revolutionary War. Dean also served as chairman of the National Governors Association. During his administration, Dean balanced the state budget 11 times and Vermont paid off much of its public debt, even as Dean lowered income tax rates twice.
So what could possibly account for his rapid descent into political oblivion—and his flailingly irrelevant line of attack on a candidate with as many substantive defects as Trump—other than a drug addiction of the severest kind?
Stanton Peele is a columnist for The Influence. His latest book, with Ilse Thompson, is Recover!: An Empowering Program to Help You Stop Thinking Like an Addict and Reclaim Your Life. He has been at the cutting-edge of addiction theory and practice since writing, with Archie Brodsky, Love and Addiction in 1975. He has since written numerous other books and developed the online Life Process Program. His website is Peele.net. Dr. Peele has won career achievement awards from the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies and the Drug Policy Alliance. He is currently working on his memoir. You can follow him on Twitter: @speele5.