Monday, September 12, 2016

Overheated and Overblown

Okay, can we have a little perspective please? Hillary Clinton has pneumonia; walking pneumonia, according to her doctor. She doesn’t have cancer or dementia. In fact her condition apparently was so grave that after being diagnosed on Friday, she ran a two-hour national security meeting, held a press conference, hosted a campaign event, and still managed to stand up for 90 minutes on a very muggy morning at the 9/11 memorial in lower Manhattan before nature finally took its course. Shit, I get a runny nose and I'm in bed with the sheets over my head for a week.

And the kind of pneumonia she has isn’t all that uncommon, nor is it considered particularly dangerous. If treated properly, most people recover very quickly. That’s why her campaign canceled its planned trip to California and Clinton has decided to take a couple of days off. Better safe than sorry.

But of course the press is throwing a hissy fit because they feel that once again they were kept in the dark about something that was going on with her and this only fuels the distrust people already have of her. I'll stipulate to this: The campaign should’ve released a statement Friday, not Sunday. Waiting until she collapsed while getting into a limo is not only wrong, it’s terrible optics. It just gives the wingnuts on the Right more ammunition to keep up with their conspiracy theories regarding her health. Can you imagine what would happen if it was discovered she took some Bayer aspirin for a mild headache? They’d probably say she had a brain tumor. Once more team Clinton will have to dig itself out of a hole of their own making.

But here’s the thing, and it brings me back to this double standard I’ve been talking about. Her bar is so much higher than Trump’s and this incident just proves it. Her health has become such an issue primarily because the media and press in this country have been led around like a seeing eye dog over these bogus stories from Alex Jones and Breitbart, not because there was any credence to them. To a certain extent I can understand why she didn't disclose she had pneumonia. To tell you the truth, given the circumstances, I wouldn't have either.

Trump, meanwhile, had his “doctor” write a letter for him proclaiming him the fittest man ever to run for president in the history of the world. Seriously, did you read that letter? My sister wrote better excuses for me when we were in high school. Trump comes up with a lame excuse for why he can’t release his tax returns and instead of holding his feet to the fire, the press talks about audits. Hillary comes down with walking pneumonia and she's typhoid Mary. Jesus.

Even the flack she’s gotten over her basket of deplorables speech has been totally overblown. Maybe in hindsight she shouldn’t have said 50 percent – though I think that was being kind – the point is she was right and, far from qualifying it, she should stick to her guns. Meanwhile the press all but ignored the last part of her speech: the one about the other 50 percent of Trump supporters who have been left out in the cold. To be honest, they have mentioned it, but not nearly as much as the racist, xenophobic part. Fair and balanced, my ass.

It’s becoming painfully clear that the Clinton campaign is going to have to release her complete medical records. Like it or not, it has now become a major story in this race, which is yet another indictment of our political system. The sooner they do it, the better. It won’t make any difference on the other side of the aisle. Trump will still refuse to release his tax returns and his doctor will still claim he is Clark Kent incarnate. But in this upside down circus of a campaign where double standards rule the day and the Fourth Estate has abdicated its responsibility as journalists, you do what you have to do to survive.

The stakes are simply too high to do anything else.

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