“Political” Medicine vs. Real Medicine

From Russell Baker’s review of Joseph Lelyveld’s new book His Final Battle: The Last Months of Franklin Roosevelt in the current issue of the New York Review of Books:

Everybody seemed aware that the president had a medical problem of some sort, but nobody knew precisely what it was. Political medicine differs from medical science because news of a physical sickness may quickly produce a terminal political ailment. The usual treatment in FDR’s day was to lie about it, and if that was impractical, to pretend it was merely a trifling seasonal ailment, a touch of bronchial discomfort perhaps, left over from last winter’s touch of flu. “Good as new in a day or two” was a common prognosis from doctors too scared to speak truth to ailing politicians.

Gosh, why does that sound familiar just now…

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