So some excitement this weekend:
Hillary Clinton has pneumonia, her doctor said Sunday, hours after the Democratic nominee stumbled and exited a 9/11 commemoration ceremony early.
“Stumbled”. Fainted would be a more apt description.
The incident seems certain to prompt further scrutiny of Clinton’s health and her campaign’s transparency — though Republican rival Donald Trump was uncharacteristically silent throughout a solemn day marking the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
I can only assume this is because Kellyanne Conway seized his phone and locked herself in a vault.
Clinton, 68, was diagnosed on Friday with pneumonia, and “was put on antibiotics, and advised to rest and modify her schedule,” Dr. Lisa Bardack said in a statement.
“While at this morning’s event, she became overheated and dehydrated. I have just examined her and she is now re-hydrated and recovering nicely,” said Bardack, chairman of internal medicine at the Mount Kisco Medical Group.
Pneumonia can vary from “walking pneumonia” to a deathly illness. This explanation from the Clinton camp comports with what we saw yesterday as well as her coughing fit from a week earlier. Despite my distaste for Clinton, I hope she recovers well. Pneumonia, even a “minor” case, is scary business
A few thoughts on the wider issue of candidates’ health:
First, the health of the candidates is a perfectly legitimate concern. Clinton is 68, soon to turn 69. Trump is 70. Either would be the oldest President in American history and both are at an age where health can decline very rapidly, especially under the massive pressure of the Presidency.
The conspiracy theories about Clinton have been silly, but the “how dare you!” response of the press to those questions has been even more ridiculous. And it blew up in the media’s face this weekend. There was a hilarious period of time where the Clinton supporters were insisting that the mild temperatures and low humidity in New York were inferno conditions that would make even the most rugged human pass out. This was before the pneumonia was revealed and they decided that Clinton continuing to campaign while sick showed superhuman strength and vigor.
The health of a Presidential candidate is always a legitimate issue. It was an issue when Tsongas was concealing lymphoma back in ’92. It was an issue with Dole. It was an issue with McCain, specially given his tin dingbat of a running mate. It’s an issue this year. Let’s not pretend it isn’t.
(There’s a part of me that thinks that, in both cases, poor health would almost be a reason to vote for them since Pence and Kaine would make much better Presidents than Clinton or Trump. But the larger concern is a President incapacitated or making poor decisions due to health.)
Second, the paranoia and secrecy of the Clinton camp came home to roost. The Clintons tend to be secretive and untruthful, even when honesty and openness would suit them better. Revealing Clinton’s pneumonia diagnosis on Friday or Saturday would have made Trump’s followers crow, but it would have quickly abated as everyone else just wished her a full recovery. Having it crop up this way was the worst possible combination of circumstances.
Third, as much as the Trumpaloos are preening, they are in a glass house on this one. Trump has been completely opaque about his medical history, releasing a crazy note from a California quack and claiming to be in perfect health. Clinton, for all her concealment, release a more detailed note addressing the hematoma from her fall of a few years ago and revealing her hypothyroidism.
The gripping hand here is that it would be really hard for either of these candidates to conceal a major health issue. The schedule demanded of a Presidential candidate is absolutely brutal. During the campaign, they never get a day off and they meet with donors, media or voters all day long (and thus are constantly exposed to pathogens). The idea that Hillary Clinton is being carried to the finish line by the Secret Service or that Trump is concealing cancer is ridiculous.
However … I do think healthcare disclosure remains important. Both candidates should have their medical records reviewed by an independent physician (or three of them). But neither will do it of course since Clinton is paranoid and Trump is consumed with his own vanity and won’t reveal anything. So maybe this is something, like the release of tax returns, we’re going to have to mandate.