Chris Graham: Bolling under fire for ‘mental hospital’ comment
Bill Bolling’s strength as a potential gubernatorial candidate lies in his crossover appeal. Telling a newspaper that supporters of President Barack Obama should “check themselves into a mental hospital” probably isn’t the best approach to maintaining that reputation.
“Remarks like these are extreme and are out of character for Lt. Gov. Bolling,” said State Del. Patrick Hope, D-Arlington. “We understand the rigors of the campaign can take their toll, but this is not something to joke about. It is offensive to those men and women struggling everyday with these diseases and he owes them an apology.”
The comment from Bolling was made in an interview with the Daily Press during Obama’s two-day campaign swing through Virginia last week. Bolling spokesperson Ibbie Hedrick told the Washington Post that the comment was “not intended to offend anyone.”
“He was obviously using hyperbole to illustrate the old saying that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, and he is amazed that anyone would think that President Obama is doing a good job and deserves a second term,” Hedrick said.
The explanation only digs the hole that Bolling started for himself a bit deeper. The definition of insanity line is used often without making light of mental-health issues and the stigma that those who seek treatment feel about themselves.
“These comments are highly insensitive and have no place in politics. Mental illness is nonpartisan and strikes millions of Americans – Republican and Democrat. To make a joke that links the two is callous, and the lieutenant governor ought to know better,” State Del. Jeoin Ward, D-Hampton, said.