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Minnesota GOP Thinks Depression Is Hilarious

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“Unstable, Paranoid, and Irrational”

It was far from the first time a Republican in the state had attacked Dayton’s mental health. Those attacks started among right-wing bloggers during the 2010 campaign. In September of 2010, Look True North’s Ism called Dayton “unstable, paranoid, and irrational.” Powerline’s Scott Johnson demanded that Dayton release all of his medical records, because “one would have to be a fool to take his word that depression is the only mental health issue Dayton struggles with.”

Though the attacks were aimed at Dayton, they hit a broader target. 14.8 million adult Americans suffer from major depression, and 20.9 million suffer from some form of mood disorder. Diagnosis has increased as antidepressants with relatively minor side effects have become more readily available. More people have been more open about dealing with their mental health issues. (Author’s disclosure: I suffer from major depression, which is kept well in check by medication.)

Nevertheless, while understanding of depression is increasing, a stigma still remains. Mental health issues, even very treatable ones, are simply not viewed in the same way as physical health issues. If Mark Dayton was diabetic, nobody would have insinuated that he was hiding some far worse secret diagnosis.

If the attacks had stayed confined to the blogosphere, it would have been despicable, but relatively unimportant. Unfortunately, the attacks were soon mainstreamed by major figures in the Minnesota Republican Party.

“Crazy Dayton Eyes”

Tom Emmer, Dayton’s opponent in the 2010 election, landed on his feet. Today, he co-anchors the morning show on KTLK-AM, a right-wing station that carries Rush Limbaugh.

It would be nice to think that Emmer would still comport himself like a former state representative and gubernatorial candidate. Instead, Emmer has attacked Dayton, and not just on policy. Perhaps the nadir was “Crazy Dayton Eyes,” a parody of “Bette Davis Eyes” that ostensibly hit Dayton on spending. The parody included lines like “He’s always been a bit off/Oh, he’s going to cry.”

The attacks continued to circulate among Republicans, until bursting forth during the primary for the party’s nomination for U.S. Representative in the 1st Congressional District. State Sen. Mike Parry, R-Waseca, one of the two challengers, was dead serious as he told Republicans in Brown County that Dayton was a “scary man.”

“When you sit across from him and you watch him pop 15 to 16 pills while you’re having a meeting, it’s scary,” Parry said. “We all know how scary Obama is. [Dayton] is at the same level.”

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Image Credit: Office of Gov. Mark Dayton

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135 comments

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3:42PM PDT on Apr 22, 2013

Jeff Fecke's article did a fine job of making these politicians accountable for their hateful attitudes toward people with mental illness.

3:38AM PDT on Apr 18, 2013

Ignorance feeds this particular breed of monster.

8:40AM PDT on Oct 19, 2012

pretty sad. damn elephants

10:32AM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

Whoa, "we all know how scary Obama is"????? We do? What exactly is it that makes him scary?

Seems the GOP crowd is totally in denial about their own delusional paranoia that's teetering on the brink of psychosis.

1:53PM PDT on Sep 30, 2012

What kind of a person votes for these people??????. think about it, they have to know what they are voting for, do they not"??????. as I have said these are not the republicians we used to vote for, and voters are so wrapped up in hate they can not see it!!!!, so republician voters you need to "save" your party, not BY voting for THEM, but by not VOTING FOR THEM!!!!!!. in four years maybe this ayn rand disease will be out of ther systems and maybe yours as well, what do you know about the AYN RAND PARTY, well we know republicians and teaparty is infected!!!!. look up the republician party history go back to when the party started, research...it MAY be...........FUN!!!!!!. and it may change your vote!!!!!, for now only". just reseach, read. go online see how gop was years ago up til now, and look up AYN RAND, Then vote not for a corrupt sick party but for our country RUINED by this party. Diana.

12:31PM PDT on Sep 30, 2012

I assure these idiots that Depression is no laughing matter.

10:50PM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

Not surprising coning from a repub. Until iy happens to then, it is merely malingering for evertonre rlse, Dame with avortion, they oppose it yntil a mistress needs to be quiwtly flown to a private clinic. The party of 'do as I say, not as i do;.

2:07PM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

It is amazing at the number of people who still think of mental illness as something to laugh about. How can we fight such ignorance when the majority of these people can't claim ignorance, only stupidity!

1:41PM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

Aren't all Republicans ,uncaring and cruel!

1:17PM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

In response to this paragraph: Powerline’s Scott Johnson demanded that Dayton release all of his medical records, because “one would have to be a fool to take his word that depression is the only mental health issue Dayton struggles with.”

I must suggest that Dayton does struggle with another mental issue, as do many of us. That so-called mental issue is consternation over how and why the GOP is running Mitch Romney (with apologies to David Letterman) and Paul, Lyin' Ryan, for President and Vice President.

It is no wonder that people are leaving the Republican Party in droves. Those new Democrats will more than make up for the illegally disenfranchised Democrat Voters. And, were those afore-mentioned DEMs to regain their right to vote, the Obama-Biden win will be even more lopsided.

So long as Romney keeps opening his mouth and inserting both feet, as does Ryan (remember, even Fox news said they had never heard so many lies in one speech, as in Ryan's speech to the GOP Convention).

No, it's not a done deal, or a 'gimme,' but the Republicans are making it increasingly easier to win, by not reining in their Big Lie machine.

The American People are now better equipped to know the difference between how Republican Politicians see the world, and how the world really is.

Lest I forget to acknowledge the elephant in this virtual room, I hope those GOP hacks, who lurk in the comments' sections, have picked up their paychecks for their name-calling

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