The Preznitdential Debates have spawned some good conspiracy theories and rumors lately. In fact it brought to mind the infamous Ibogaine rumor started by Hunter S. Thompson, in Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail.
Not much has been written about The Ibogaine Effect as a serious factor in the Presidential Campaign, but toward the end of the Wisconsin primary race - about a week before the vote - word leaked out that some of Muskie's top advisors had called in a Brazilian doctor who was said to be treating the candidate with "some kind of strange drug" that nobody in the press corps had ever heard of.This little video is quite illustrative of the change in George W. Bush's speaking style over the last 10 years. Whether it is presenile dementia as purported or Dubya's attempt at faux bubba populism, I'll leave it to you.
It had ... long been whispered that Muskie was into something very heavy, but it was hard to take the talk seriously until I heard about the appearance of a mysterious Brazilian doctor. That was the key. I immediately recognized The Ibogaine Effect - from Muskie's tearful breakdown on the flatbed truck in New Hampshire, to the delusions and altered thinking that characterized his campaign in Florida, and finally the condition of "total rage" that gripped him in Wisconsin.
There was no doubt about it: The Man from Maine had turned to massive doses of Ibogaine as a last resort ... It was noted, among other things that he had developed a tendency to roll his eyes wildly during TV interviews, that his thought patterns had become strangely fragmented and that not even his closest advisors could predict when he might suddenly spiral off into babbling rages, or neo-comatose funks.
In restrospect, however, it is easy to see why Muskie fell apart on that caboose platform in the Miami train station. There he was - far gone in a bad Ibogaine frenzy - suddenly shoved out in a rainstorm to face a sullen crowd and some kind of snarling lunatic going for his legs while he tried to explain why he was the only Democrat who can beat Nixon.
It is entirely conceivable - given the known effects of Ibogaine - that Muskie's brain was almost paralyzed by hallucinations at the time; that he looked out at that crowd and saw gila monsters instead of people, and that his mind snapped completely when he felt something large and apparently vicious clawing at his legs.
We can only speculate on this, because those in a position to know have flatly refused to comment on rumors concerning the Senator's disastrous experiments with Ibogaine. I tried to find the Brazilian doctor on election night in Milwaukee, but by the time the polls closed he was long gone. One of the hired bimbos in Milwaukee's Holiday Inn headquarters said a man with fresh welts on his head had been dragged out the side door and put on a bus to Chicago, but we were never able to confirm this.
And Salon has been on top of the mysterious bulge on Bush's back (subscription or daypass required).
[Update: Tom Tomorrow has an idea what that might be on Bush's back.]