Besides a cough, Clinton seems to be doing just fine. (Image Credit: Flickr/Gage Skidmore)
In the past twelve months, yours truly has slogged through no less than TWENTY presidential debates. That’s more than one per month, and with some dragging past three hours, I am now realizing the full magnitude of Jess-time invested here. (It’s a little… galling?)
At any rate, eight of those were Democratic debates. Unlike the Republican field of roughly 700 contenders (remember Jim Gilmore, anyone? Anyone? Buehler?), the Democrats whittled their nominees down to two pretty quick: Hillary Clinton v. Bernie Sanders.
Envision, if you will, being one of only two humans on a stage, bright lights in your face, cameras circling like so many voyeuristic vultures, your every word and grimace captured and projected to millions of screens + documented online forever, ad infinitum.
Now imagine that, under these conditions, you must hear a moderator’s question, mentally sprint through all your prep and planning, and grab an appropriate answer. But not just an appropriate answer, a factually correct answer. And one that is tailor-made to 1) hype up your base supporters, and 2) minimally offend any fence-sitters, or Independents, or special-interest groups and/or donors.
Bonus points for finding answers that make you seem witty, relatable, but also serious and intelligent. But still authentic. And also wise. Definitely no severe tonal modulations.
Right-leaning media is flipping itself out over Clinton's recent coughing spells. I'll admit, she doesn't sound great - she sounds like a person getting over a chest cold... Can we *at least* wait a few weeks before sending up cries of the black lung?
And remember: these questions can be about anything: the war in Syria, or the weekend football game, or a colleague’s recent sex scandal, or an environmental dilemma; the labyrinthine tax code, or your husband’s welfare reform; your opinion on Vladimir Putin, your take on Justin Trudeau.
Doing this debate thing sounds a wee bit challenging, doesn’t it? Like running a mental marathon under constant threat of worldwide public humiliation.
(Frankly, I don’t know what kind of lunatic signs up for this. But since I’ve heard all politicians resemble more alien species, I guess my mere human perspective really limits me here.)
I bring up the debates to demonstrate the nonsense of recent whirlwind speculation surrounding Hillary Clinton’s health. Or rather, “fitness” for office. Let’s talk.
For starters, I have reservations about the age of both Clinton and Trump. Politico ran an article recently showing that today’s neuroscience suggests 70 is the age at which mental ability takes a big ‘ol nose dive.
Clinton is 68; Trump is 70. Not ideal, friends.
But had you talked to my Grams at the zesty age of 83, you would know that cognitive decline is a really relative thing. Grams could out-fact, out-argue, out-remember, outsmart most people half her age.
And if you watched the debates, you know that, at least for Clinton, knowledge and access to it is not a problem.
Moving on to broader physical health, now. Right-leaning media is flipping itself out over Clinton’s recent coughing spells. And I’ll admit, she doesn’t sound good. She sounds a lot like a person getting over a serious chest cold.
Can we give her a few weeks before sending up cries of the black lung?
There have been more legitimate concerns raised over Clinton’s 2012 concussion and subsequent treatment for blood clot. Clinton should release more thorough health records. But again, the pandemonium seems wildly premature.
This is a woman getting on planes, traveling the country, speaking to crowds, prepping for debates with Donald Trump.
Let’s talk about him for a moment. If you haven’t witnessed the absolute delight of his doctor, please check it out. You can get a fun feel for Dr. Bornstein in this sentence, from a letter the doc released about Trump’s health: “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest person ever elected to the presidency.”
In the parlance of our times: LMAO. Trump is a guy who blabs often of his love for fast food, does not seem particularly fond of exercise, and regularly douses in self-tanning chemicals. He’s also 70.
So before we disqualify Clinton on conspiracy theories, let’s take a deep breath and get real.
If a 68-year old is flying all over the country, campaigning away, her health is likely just fine.