October 18, 2012 11:22AM

Romney Derangement Syndrome Begins

Back in 2003 psychiatrist-turned-columnist Charles Krauthammer "discovered" a new psychiatric syndrome:

Bush Derangement Syndrome: the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush.

I myself identified -- but sadly, never in print -- Bush Derangement Syndrome-II, the onset of unfounded enthusiasm for George W. Bush in people who otherwise supported smaller government. BDS-II manifested itself most publicly on February 8, 2008, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, when after seven disastrous years of overspending, federal intrusion, entitlement expansion, civil liberties abuses, and foundering wars -- and indeed the day after Bush's Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 passed Congress -- President Bush spoke at CPAC, and the assembled conservatives greeted him with chants of "Four More Years!" Really? Four more years of that?

And of course I hardly have to mention Obama Derangement Syndrome, which found many people convinced that Barack Obama was a Kenyan, a Muslim, the son of Malcolm X, or some other wild fantasy.

Now, even before the current election, while Mitt Romney remains a 64-36 underdog on Intrade, I'm seeing the first signs of Romney Derangement Syndrome. Take this item on NPR this morning:

A woman in the audience named Mary Ann ... says she's not impressed by Governor Romney's claim that he recruited women to serve in his Cabinet in Massachusetts.

"Yes, he hired women, and I'm thinking to myself yeah, because he could get them at a lower rate. That's the only reason Mitt Romney hired women."

He hired women to serve in the state Cabinet, where I'm sure the salaries are set by law. And he wasn't all that frugal with taxpayers' dollars anyway. And yet Mary Ann just can't imagine that Romney would hire women for top positions -- positions that would play an important role in his success as governor -- unless "he could get them at a lower rate."

Romney Derangement Syndrome. You read it here first.