Pneumonia-gate’s true insight
It didn’t take long for presidential politics to overshadow the commemorations of the 15th anniversary of 9/11 on Sunday — in fact, Hillary Clinton couldn’t even finish the remembrance event at ground zero in New York City before making the news.
Of course most probably know now of the story that will likely become Pneumonia-gate: Clinton was at the 9/11 remembrance ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum when she was forced to leave early, stumbling on her way to her car and having to be supported by Secret Service agents. After several hours of playing cat-andmouse, hiding from her press corps, Clinton’s camp was forced to disclose that she had been diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday but decided to hold her regular schedule. That decision of course would later be regretted as the Democratic nominee grew weaker and was forced to take a few days off to rest.
Clinton’s health has been a hot topic for months for conservative conspiracy theorists, who analyze photos for claimed symptoms of differing diseases. Her Republican opponent, Donald Trump, has only played upon those theories by questioning Clinton’s “stamina” and drawing attention to her coughing bouts. Her failure to disclose this latest bout only inflamed those theories while drawing more unwanted attention to her transparency — Clinton’s bigger problem.
Most voters have not been moved by questions about her health: 74 percent of registered voters said they were unconcerned about her being healthy enough to carry out the job of president, a Fox News poll last month found.
However, trustworthiness continues to be Clinton’s greatest weakness. About six in 10 voters said they did not trust her, nearly the same percentage who said they distrusted Trump, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released last week.
“Antibiotics can take care of pneumonia. What’s the cure for an unhealthy penchant for privacy that repeatedly creates unnecessary problems?” David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Obama, wrote on Twitter, echoing the thoughts of many of Clinton’s supporters and critics alike.
Clinton has been notorious for her lack of transparency, which some say is a result of distrust of the media bred from intense scrutiny during her husband’s presidency and her time at Secretary of State. During the current campaign, she has not held press conferences where the media could ask her questions and only this month allowed media to fly with her to campaign stops. She has given very few one-on-one, on-camera interviews over the course of the campaign, preferring instead to give stump speeches to supporters and appearing on late night TV shows.
In contrast, although he has also failed to disclose many facts about his campaign or detail his policy proposals, Trump has frequently answered questions from reporters and sat for on-camera interviews.
Those who are close to the chic former first lady rave about her humor and compassion, but most of us in the electorate only get to see the cold and distant version of Clinton. Her veil of secrecy only inflames the concerns that she is hiding more than she claims and pushes her farther away from the common citizen.
Pneumonia-gate is just the latest example of how Clinton will have to open up to the public, and in turn the media, if she wants to win in November.