I have repeatedly set aside my reservations about Hillary Clinton to point out that the exaggerated distrust and even hatred with which much of the public views her is mostly irrational, a product of the demonization of her and her husband by the extreme right that began over a quarter century ago. Unfortunately, a key word in this last sentence is “mostly,” because Clinton too often gives her enemies just enough to lend their claims some plausibility. And so it is with the issue of Clinton’s health, lately the subject of dark but flimsy insinuations by the Trump campaign and its minions.
Anybody can get pneumonia, and it is likely that Clinton’s current affliction can be attributed to the exhausting campaign schedule she has imposed on herself. But we learned only today that her pneumonia was diagnosed on Friday, two days before it marred her participation in the 9/11 memorial ceremonies, two days before she told reporters “I feel great.” What was she thinking? Did she really believe that she would be able to keep her illness a secret? Despite her understandable reluctance to lend credence to the health rumors, the Clinton camp needed immediately to make the diagnosis public. Instead, Clinton has reinforced the meme that she is secretive, unreliable. The Trump campaign naturally pounced, with Donald justifiably tweeting about Hillary’s lack of transparency.
Aside from sighing heavily, what more is there to say? We can only hope that Clinton recovers quickly enough to minimize the damage to her candidacy. The alternative is too awful to contemplate.