Kerry's medical secrecy

Some of the most important questions about Senator John F. Kerry remain unasked, even in the midst of a hard—fought Presidential race.

Senator John Kerry is enduring much critical commentary over the circumstances of his participation in Vietnam Veterans Against the War protests, more than thirty years ago, as well as questions raised over the appropriateness of his winning three Purple Heart medals, while apparently missing only one day of active duty in the process of recovery from his combat wounds.

Equally troubling, but virtually unnoted, is the Senator's failure to release his medical records. Keep in mind, that Senator Kerry is a cancer survivor, having emerged from surgery to remove a cancerous prostate early last year. His surgeon has spoken publicly about the case, assuring the public that the operation went well, that the cancer had not spread, and that there is nothing to worry about.

But is this level of information good enough? Senator Kerry is fond of comparing himself with another Massachusetts Senator who ran for President, John F. Kennedy. President Kennedy didn't release his medical records either, and we now know that he suffered from Addison's Disease, a debilitating condition which may well have affected his performance in office, and that he received injections which may have affected his emotional and mental equilibrium.

There is another Massachusetts Senator who ran for President, whose case may be an even closer parallel to Senator Kerry.

Paul Tsongas held the United States Senate seat now occupied by John Kerry. Tsongas also underwent surgery for cancer, emerged successfully, and even publicly swam laps in a pool, to show his physical vigor and Speedo—wearing physique. The late Senator Tsongas became the first cancer survivor in history to launch a major Presidential campaign. Regrettably, Tsongas later died from a resurgence of his cancer, which we had been assured had been successfully eliminated. Had his Presidential campaign succeeded, his Vice President would have taken office.

The Presidency is an extraordinarily demanding job. The American public has the right to know the physical condition of those who seek the office. President Bush's medical records are open. We should have the expectation that we know all available medical facts about those who wish to be entrusted with the extraordinary powers of that office. A complete medical history of John F. Kerry might also help to resolve questions about the appropriateness of his multiple decorations for war injuries.

We all wish Senator Kerry the best of health. Prostate cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer, thank goodness for him. But the stakes are simply too high to tolerate a candidacy cloaked in secrecy about the health of the candidate.

As candidate Kerry continues his search for a running mate, note should be taken that his medical secrecy and status as a cancer survivor raise the stakes beyond the normal concerns. John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, or any other person considered for veep must be realistically appraised as a possible President.

As with his wife's tax records, Senator Kerry is opting for secrecy and non—disclosure as a general approach to the public. Don't say that you haven't been warned.

Some of the most important questions about Senator John F. Kerry remain unasked, even in the midst of a hard—fought Presidential race.

Senator John Kerry is enduring much critical commentary over the circumstances of his participation in Vietnam Veterans Against the War protests, more than thirty years ago, as well as questions raised over the appropriateness of his winning three Purple Heart medals, while apparently missing only one day of active duty in the process of recovery from his combat wounds.

Equally troubling, but virtually unnoted, is the Senator's failure to release his medical records. Keep in mind, that Senator Kerry is a cancer survivor, having emerged from surgery to remove a cancerous prostate early last year. His surgeon has spoken publicly about the case, assuring the public that the operation went well, that the cancer had not spread, and that there is nothing to worry about.

But is this level of information good enough? Senator Kerry is fond of comparing himself with another Massachusetts Senator who ran for President, John F. Kennedy. President Kennedy didn't release his medical records either, and we now know that he suffered from Addison's Disease, a debilitating condition which may well have affected his performance in office, and that he received injections which may have affected his emotional and mental equilibrium.

There is another Massachusetts Senator who ran for President, whose case may be an even closer parallel to Senator Kerry.

Paul Tsongas held the United States Senate seat now occupied by John Kerry. Tsongas also underwent surgery for cancer, emerged successfully, and even publicly swam laps in a pool, to show his physical vigor and Speedo—wearing physique. The late Senator Tsongas became the first cancer survivor in history to launch a major Presidential campaign. Regrettably, Tsongas later died from a resurgence of his cancer, which we had been assured had been successfully eliminated. Had his Presidential campaign succeeded, his Vice President would have taken office.

The Presidency is an extraordinarily demanding job. The American public has the right to know the physical condition of those who seek the office. President Bush's medical records are open. We should have the expectation that we know all available medical facts about those who wish to be entrusted with the extraordinary powers of that office. A complete medical history of John F. Kerry might also help to resolve questions about the appropriateness of his multiple decorations for war injuries.

We all wish Senator Kerry the best of health. Prostate cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer, thank goodness for him. But the stakes are simply too high to tolerate a candidacy cloaked in secrecy about the health of the candidate.

As candidate Kerry continues his search for a running mate, note should be taken that his medical secrecy and status as a cancer survivor raise the stakes beyond the normal concerns. John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, or any other person considered for veep must be realistically appraised as a possible President.

As with his wife's tax records, Senator Kerry is opting for secrecy and non—disclosure as a general approach to the public. Don't say that you haven't been warned.