I’m not trying to think about that debate last week. I just can’t stop thinking about it.

And the more I think about Barack Obama’s performance, or lack thereof, the more I think Rush Limbaugh’s analysis is right on target.

“Al Gore said the problem with Obama is he was too high. Others said nope, he was too mellow. (Well, the attitude, too high.) I had people telling me he was on Valium. I had people telling me Obama was on Valium because he’s suffering anxiety and they rolled the dice; they gave him some Valium. A headline by a guy in the New York Times, Charles Blow, called him “President Xanax.” Xanax is in the same family as Valium, I guess. It’s a sedative or whatever. There are actually people who believe Obama was on Valium because he’s so, so wired and so anxious. They had to tamp that down, and they just gave him too much.”

I admit it. I was thinking about that as I watched that so-called debate.

It seemed to me Obama was on something – or maybe off something he is usually on.

Which raises a very old, lingering question: Why has Obama refused to release – among many other things like a non-fraudulent birth certificate, student transcripts, college and university records, law school writings, passport and travel records, a legit Social Security number, etc., etc., etc. – his health records?

What is he hiding there?

What deep, dark secrets could one of America’s youngest and most physically active occupants of the White House in history be so concerned about?

We know about his admissions to being a major cocaine user back in his wild days. He told us all about that – or his ghostwriter did – in “Dreams From My Father.” (You should read it if you haven’t already. Also, be sure to see Joel Gilbert’s amazing and bestselling documentary “Dreams From My Real Father.”) While I have my doubts about the veracity of much of what was written in that book, it’s hard to imagine he or Bill Ayers would make up something like that knowing Obama had political ambitions.

However, maybe making such an admission was an acutely astute move – if you wanted to immunize a future politician against concerns about drug use: “There, it’s all out as a matter of public record. I did it. I smoked pot and I snorted cocaine.” For most people, that would be the end of it.

But what if his drug use continued?

That would be one obvious reason for withholding medical records.

Or maybe Obama is on some prescription drugs for a condition we don’t know about.

That would be another obvious reason for withholding medical records.

But, if you are a healthy young presidential pretender, what other justifications would there be for hiding medical records from the public?

Does he just like to withhold any and all information about his past and present?

Normally, people who want to be president are not privacy freaks.

Why does he take so much time off? Why so many vacations? Why so many golf outings? Is he as healthy as he appears – or, at least as he appeared before last Wednesday night?

Because I’ve seen high school debaters – bad ones, in fact – give better performances than what I saw last week from Obama.

So, once again, Obama himself has raised the ugly specter of personal health issues – a matter he has steadfastly kept guarded from the American taxpayers he supposedly serves.

This is why full disclosure is important. This is why transparency by public officials is important. This is why the issue of constitutional eligibility is important. This is why we say that “the public’s right to know” is important. This is why a free, vigilant watchdog press is important. This is why opposition parties that actually challenge leaders are important.

And this is what we don’t have, for the most part, in America today.

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