Rich Lowry

It began to seem there was no way to pull the patient back from spiraling ever downward into her private world when a news video directly contradicting her Tuzla account provided a rude shock to her aberrant memories. The patient reacted defensively. She said she had merely "misspoken," that she was "human," and that she was going to be fine, fine, fine. This is the moment of the patient's greatest vulnerability, but also holds the greatest potential for a breakthrough of self-understanding.

Has the patient experienced some recent trauma or other participating event that could have disturbed her memory? There is an unhealthy obsession with a young African-American man, but that has been steadily building over the course of a year. The onset of her impairment corresponds almost exactly with the airing of a "3 a.m." ad about how the patient would be best suited to answer a red phone in a crisis. The ad appears to have created unbearable psychological pressures.

The patient believes she is acting rationally, but subliminally her mind is working to provide all the national security and crisis experience that, deep down, the patient knows she lacks. She is suffering from "Impaired Memory Self-Inflating Syndrome," a rare disorder to which vaultingly ambitious formerly front-running presidential candidates are prone. Her husband has long exhibited acute symptoms. There is no cure, only understanding and a course of treatment to limit the outbreaks.

Recommendation: A toning down of the so-called experience argument that has created such internal stress. Careful observation of the patient will be necessary, pending the results of the Pennsylvania primary.

Rich Lowry

Rich Lowry is author of Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years .
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