Kari Chisholm of the BlueOregon blog says there’s been speculation about whether Bill Bradbury’s multiple sclerosis will make people question whether he’s capable of handling the demands of the governorship.
“Over the last year, many people have wondered aloud - here on BlueOregon, and in hushed tones in person - whether Bill Bradbury's health will be an insurmountable obstacle to his gubernatorial ambitions,” Chisholm writes. “In response, I've always said, ‘His health problems are hips down, not neck up. He's perfectly capable of being governor.’
“I'm working with his opponent's campaign [John Kitzhaber’s], but I still think that's true. And after seeing him negotiate the Oregon Summit two weekends ago, more Oregon Democrats feel the same way, I'm sure.”
The former Oregon Secretary of State has had MS for more than 30 years, and first announced it publicly in 1983 when he was a state legislator.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, MS “is a potentially debilitating disease in which your body's immune system eats away at the protective sheath that covers your nerves. This interferes with the communication between your brain and the rest of your body. … Symptoms vary widely, depending on the amount of damage and which particular nerves are affected. People with severe cases of multiple sclerosis may lose the ability to walk or speak.”
“Mentally, Bradbury is sharp, but physically, the MS has taken a toll,” The Associated Press wrote recently. “He has a noticeable limp and unsteady gait, and he tires after standing or walking for too long. Over the years, he's taken to using a sit-down scooter and cane.”
Lately Bradbury has adopted a new mode of transportation: a Segway. The AP shot some photos of him tooling around on it at the Portland State University Campus a few days ago.
Personally, I can’t understand why anybody would even think of making Bradbury’s MS an issue. Franklin D. Roosevelt couldn’t walk at all and couldn’t even stand up without help, yet the historical consensus is he was one of the nation’s greatest and most effective presidents.
Bet he would have loved to have a Segway, though.