NOTE: BagNewsNotes is now located at Please update your bookmarks.

You will be automatically redirected in a few seconds...

« Update On The (Unnamed) Civil War | Main | Racist Rally Strategy Rolls On »

Oct 13, 2008

Has McCain Been Suffering From What The DSM-IV Classifies As Caffeine Intoxication?

Mccain Starbucks

“(F)or someone with a busy, stressful job, little stresses elicit big responses on caffeine, and big stresses elicit huge responses.” Lane once did a study in which he compared caffeine’s effects on type-A versus type-B personalities. “Caffeine tended to make type Bs into type As,” he says. “Their blood pressure went up. They rose to challenges.” The type As didn’t get any more ambitious; they just became more excitable.

from: The Coffee Junkie’s Guide to Caffeine Addiction (NY Mag)

Is it just coincidence John McCain is often depicted with a jumbo-sized Starbucks in or at hand?

People I've mentioned it to tend to write it off to the fact Mac is always being photographed.  That said, however, I don't see other people in McCain's entourage clinging to the java, and I don't see those Ventis littering the Obama pics.  (And then, I don't remember when another candidate telegraphed this kind of obsession with such attention-grabbing motorcade trips to Starbucks, either.)

In terms of just the recent visual data,  take a look at this shot from two weeks ago, of Cindy boarding the flight to the first presidential debate.  (Maybe something to note, as well, given Cindy's history of substance abuse -- despite the media's hesitancy to bring it up.)  And then, there was this photo-op of McCain in his Arlington office just a few days later.  The pic above, by the way, was taken yesterday, at McCain's campaign HQ.

As I've been writing throughout the campaign, I think McCain's touchiness and erratic behavior is part of his nature.  However, the penchant for caffeine certainly can't be doing anything to contribute greater balance of stability to an already hyperactive and jittery personality like McCain, who can hardly stand or sit still.  In fact, in a post from the Concord Monitor blog back in June, McCain himself cites his caffeine intake as a problem, disclosing how its been a factor -- at least, during the Republican primaries --  in his debate performance.  (In the recent presidential debates, in particular, there has been speculation about McCain's curious habits and disinhibition.)  As the Concord Monitor quotes McCain:

"I have really learned that one of my biggest problems is I was having two or three cups just before I start," he said on his campaign bus this morning. "(I was) trying to talk too fast, to get too much out, and you can see that I did that in the first few debates consistently, so I was cut off of caffeine," he said.

Giving additional fuel to the concern is the fact that McCain, rather than toning down the intake, instead indicated he had to be cut off.

I recently read in a throw away line -- I believe, in a recent NYT article -- that McCain, besides downing coffee all day, hardly eats.  That led me to this passage by Chris Jones written last February.  Jones was traveling with the McCain campaign during the presidential primaries and published his trip diary, "John McCain’s Last War," in Esquire.  (The Buchanan referred to is McCain's press secretary Brooke Buchanan.)

McCain stirs. Buchanan worries aloud that he hasn’t been eating enough. Apart from this morning’s fritter and coffee, he’s had a handful of potato chips and a can of Red Bull. (The barbecued chicken that came on board the bus in Des Moines was a shade of salmonella pink that could have derailed the candidate for days.) There are trays of chilled Chinese food stashed up front, fallout-shelter eats that are now dug out and served in plastic boxes on plastic trays. McCain picks at a bit of fruit, chokes back a cold egg roll. “I really don’t eat well,” he says. “I eat junk. I kinda get pumped up at these things and don’t have much of an appetite.”

Coffee and Red Bull?  (Not to mention the sugar chaser.)  Again, by McCain's own words, he has a habit of "getting pumped up" (although it's not clear how much, or to what extent, he's getting pumped up for or from public appearances).  Either way, however, this account suggests that McCain has been regularly using not just coffee but stimulant drinks.

I understand Americans have a love affair with coffee.  At the same time, this country -- in tandem with massive direct-to-consumer advertising by the pharmaceutical industry -- is consistently in denial about its reliance on drugs and alcohol (ranging from recreational drugs, sleeping drugs, sex performance drugs, athletic performance drugs and, yes, caffeine).  When it comes right down to it though, substance abuse is substance abuse, whether the dependency involves caffeine -- caffeine intoxication being a clearly designated mental disorder in the The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) --  or some other substance.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying John McCain is an addict, but it is interesting to consider the effects of the disease as compared to McCain's observable behavior on the campaign trail, with intoxication characterized by restlessness, nervousness, excitement, insomnia, muscle twitching, a rambling flow of thought and speech, irritability and psychomotor agitation, and actual overdose exhibited by mania, depression, lapses in judgment and disinhibition.  (And then, this is besides the issue of the pathological effects of caffeine abuse on both the gastrointestinal and cardiovascular system -- especially in a man of McCain's age.)

Over all, it's one thing for American's to consider whether to elect a man as hot-headed and erratic as McCain.  It's even more worrisome, though -- especially as we're reminded through these regular, visual telegraphs -- that the man, through his penchant for this readily available drug, is consistently pouring oil on the fire.

Update 5:42 pm PST:  Hmm.  This just came across the wire showing the McCains departing this afternoon from Reagan Airport.

(click for full size)

(image: Carlos Barria/Reuters. Arlington, Virginia, October 12, 2008.  image 2: Carlos Barria/Reuters.  Arlington, Virginia October 13, 2008.  linked image: Brian Snyder/ Reuters. Arlington, Virginia September 27, 2008)


Apparently, McCain has more in common with Britney Spears than Obama.

Is McCain Suffering From Caffeine Addiction And Intoxication?

BAGman does j'accuse! in the rhetorical (apparently, too chicken-sh*t, himself to just state it to his face in the declarative, active tense-‘?’ ) imho, Not quite your most petty, cheap-shot post, ever, BAGman... but close. Move along, folks... Michael's apparently had a little too much Amontillado during his lunch-hour, and has had a little accident..., you grab his legs, and i'll get his arms... now lift... ooof! OMG!!!

peeee yeeeewwww! Where's the trash can? Somebody click on the trash can!

Remember Palin's (mis)reading Madeline Albright's quote off a cup of coffee? Willingness to consume large quantities of coffee might be a prerequisite for joining this campaign.

During the Des Moines Register Editorial Board interview he was fondling a coffee cup. He looked like he might crush it with his bare hands. With his many injuries I am wondering what kind of pain relief he uses.

I find it kinda fascinating that Obama is trashed for being a latte-sipping liberal... meanwhile Palin and McCain show up drinking Starbucks all the time, and Obama once got attacked for being an "elitist" because he was offered coffee and asked for orange juice instead.

Drinking Coffee: IOKIYAR

Or maybe it's different because Palin and McCain go to starbucks, but they order something other than lattes, something patritoic?

Obama's a tea drinker. But if he's getting a caffeine high from black tea, how much more mellow could he possibly be without, fercrissakes? The guy's already so calm that the other day there was something on Huffpo about him being calm like valium.

McCain's problem is probably 2-fold. He's never gotten or accepted any help for his PTSD and he's choleric by nature.

Just the PTSD alone should disqualify him for a job like the Presidency.

Over the past four years, I've been proud of the way BNN has afforded wide latitude for reasoned dissent and critique of my views, the visual and written views of my contributors, and the thoughts and opinions of everyone who takes part in this community. I'm just as proud, however, of the short leash maintained as regards personal, or mostly personal put-down. This space is too important to and for all of us for any one of us to diminish it.

How about the tie hanging all the way down to the ground? Oh, maybe it's a clip-on...

hasn't it be reported mccain takes ambien too?

judging from the food list, msg isn't good for him either.

This, to me, also a coffee drinker, was an unforgettable story: Sarah's regular order is a skinny white chocolate mocha from the Mocha Moose in Wasilla.

Not being much of a coffee drinker, I'm wondering: is this story somehow a non-starter due to the ambiguity between use and abuse? I'm partly curious because I was planning to post this at Huffington tomorrow, but am wondering now if coffee drinkers -- which includes most everybody -- wouldn't respond much to McCain wiring himself up in a diagnostic way because, well, everybody drinks coffee and gets buzzed off it.

I'm with ya all the way on the evils of caffeine addiction, Mr. Bagster. I once had a college job as an office assistant, which basically consisted of running back and forth to the local coffee shop all day for everyone in the office. Now that I'm older I'm the only person at work who doesn't drink it, and it's amazing how my coworkers act like crackheads dying for a fix. We have a restaurant next door that makes an excellent cappucino but doesn't open until 10 a.m. They are doing nothing but watching the clock until then; it's all they can think about or talk about.

On another note, your description of his eating and drinking habits makes me think it's a wonder McCain hasn't had a stroke yet.

I'm struck by how poorly his wardrobe was managed in the top photo, specifically the tie. The end of the tie is supposed to fall at the beltline: no higher, no lower.

What this tie suggests is a red arrow plunging beneath the baseline, suggestive of both McCain's (red/republican) poll numbers and the national economy (in the red).

yeah 14, re: food. I think that's where this interest with McCain and the coffee started, actually. For months, I'd been noticing all the junk food around McCain and his entourage. I wanted to blog about it, but it seemed so superficial -- at least outwardly (like the coffee issue, but even more trivial). Thing is, I kept thinking about the symbolic nature of it -- you are what you eat, and all that. (You might have picked up the same thread the other day when I threw in the line, or maybe it was a link, about McCain's preoccupation with pop culture and junky TV. ...Again, hope I'm not offending anybody.)

Anyway, all this stuff, including the way he dresses, like JW just mentioned, has a point -- a significant one. I think there is a real poverty to the man in terms of how he relates to, touches, takes in, and and cares about life and what is sustaining in life. (My feeling on this score is not that dissimilar to Bush, but at least Bush learned to hide it a little better, especially in the realm of visibility and personal habits.) To quote a phrase that was popular when I was a whole lot younger: I think McCain's gross.

The tie is ridiculous. It looks like part of a a clown costume. But I have noticed McCain has lots of clothing problems. Ill fitting suits that magnify his stooped shoulders, pants too long, collars too tight. He looks so uncomfortable sometimes it hurts to watch him. A short guy with all that dough should have a better tailor.

About the caffeine--I've got a dad in his 70s and that kind of coffee intake would have him in the bathroom 15 times a day. That would be a logistical nightmare for a candidate. I did wonder if that's why he rushed off the stage after the last debate. Not to mention McCain's reported Ambien use to try to sleep at night.

I once bought a tie labeled "tall". That is not what disqualifies me from being president. Move along, nothing to see here.

P.S. I find the Gonzo guy irritating but I never have any idea WTF he is talking about so I may actually agree with him. I also never make it to the end of his posts.

I like coffee, drink a good quantity in the morning. If I don't have a pint of water shortly thereafter I turn into a complete touchhole. If it's consumed after noon, sleep patterns are messed up – making the next day more challenging.

You are what you eat.

Aren't Republicans against expensive coffee drinks? It's surprising how often the these leading Republicans are seen with Starbuck's cups ... even quoting copy off the cups from the stump.

What I wonder is whether those ubiquitous starbucks cups hold coffee or something else... and/or if they hold coffee, for what the coffee is a substitute. There is a Never leave home without it... flavor to all these pics.

Just product placement, gotta please the advertisers, that is contributors.

Just product placement, gotta please the advertisers, that is contributors.

I think John McCain has Tardive dyskinesia

check this out

This article is making me crave a shot of espresso....hmm...

Have you seen the new Palin/McCain campaign buttons? Awesome!

An ABC News article discussed McCain's use of Ambien:

McCain's Ambien Use: a Security Threat?
Sleep Drug Known for Memory-Linked Side Effects; Most Doctors Unconcerned
ABC News Medical Unit
May 23, 2008

In light of the caffeine problem, the increased need to use a sleeping pill could have serious repercussions if a crisis came up in the middle of the night. The article notes:


But while the overall risks of behavioral and judgment effects due to Ambien may be low, sleep experts agree that in a high-importance role such as the presidency, proper planning is needed when considering its use.

"Ambien should only be taken when you have a window of seven to eight hours for sleep," Greenblatt said. "Your staff should know that you've taken the medication, and that you should not be involved in any decision-making during that time."

Fotinakes added that sleeping pills and other sedatives have been proven to be more potent in the elderly. In light of this, he said, "It may not be the best idea for the commander-in-chief to be under the influence when he or she may have to make a snap decision regarding national security in the middle of the night; Hillary's so-called telephone call at 3:00 a.m.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

My Other Accounts

Blog powered by TypePad
Member since 07/2003