The Clin­ton cam­paign’s plea for Repub­li­can mercy

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - BY WES­LEY PRU­DEN

Nancy Pelosi, try­ing to choke back panic as the pres­i­den­tial race tight­ens and con­cern grows over Hil­lary Clin­ton’s ob­vi­ously frag­ile health, has ap­pealed to Paul Ryan’s sense of gal­lantry. The lit­tle lady needs a lit­tle help. She begs him not to “let” his party use any­thing dam­ag­ing to the Democrats that turns up in emails hacked from Demo­cratic email servers. And no talk about Hil­lary’s health ei­ther.

“De­fend­ing our democ­racy,” she said in a let­ter to the speaker this week, “is more im­por­tant than any ad­van­tage or dis­ad­van­tage in this elec­tion.” The only thing more im­por­tant than “the sanc­tity of our demo­cratic process” are the elec­tion prospects of her party.

Mzz Pelosi waxes elo­quent in her ap­peal to Mr. Ryan, who sounds unim­pressed by an ap­peal to be nice to please the elites. “Democrats and Repub­li­cans,” she says, “must present a united front in the face of Rus­sia’s at­tempts to tam­per with the will of the Amer­i­can peo­ple.”

All good and true, of course, but Repub­li­cans faith­ful to their coun­try can nev­er­the­less de­plore Vladimir Putin’s hack­ery — if, in­deed, the man who calls him­self Guc­cifer 2.0 is a guilty Rus­sian hacker — while still mea­sur­ing Demo­cratic be­hav­ior by their words, stolen or not. It’s hard to ar­gue with the logic of Mr. Putin, bad guy as he may be, when he tells Bloomberg News: “Lis­ten, does it even mat­ter who hacked this data?

“The im­por­tant thing is the con­tent that was given to the pub­lic.” The big­ger ques­tion is how did we come to this pass, when an old KGB goon like Vladimir Putin can of­fer right­eous com­men­tary on an Amer­i­can elec­tion? Par­ti­san mem­o­ries are short on the Po­tomac. Nei­ther Mzz Pelosi nor her col­leagues sounded par­tic­u­larly out­raged by the at­tempt by Democrats to use the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice to in­tim­i­date con­ser­va­tives try­ing to join the debate lead­ing to Amer­i­can elec­tions. With a tele­phone call to his at­tor­ney gen­eral, Pres­i­dent Obama could have put the heat on the di­rec­tor of the IRS to find the guilty party and get him on his way to prison. In­stead, the IRS gave the guilty party a bonus.

Speaker Ryan’s of­fice re­ferred Mzz Pelosi’s re­quest to sus­pend the First Amend­ment in the name of com­pas­sion and par­ti­san pity to the Na­tional Repub­li­can Con­gres­sional Com­mit­tee, the party’s cam­paign arm. “Nei­ther [the con­gres­sional com­mit­tee] chair­man, Greg Walden, nor the speaker have con­trol over what our in­de­pen­dent ex­pen­di­ture unit does, which [Demo­cratic coun­ter­parts] as well as Leader Pelosi are well aware of,” a Repub­li­can com­mit­tee spokesman said.

It’s hardly co­in­ci­dence that Mzz Pelosi’s plea for char­ity and mercy par­al­lels the at­tempt by the Clin­ton cam­paign to sti­fle ques­tions about Hil­lary’s health, and in par­tic­u­lar her cough­ing episodes. One of the fits early this week lasted more than four min­utes, in­ter­rupt­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with re­porters on her cam­paign plane. When An­drew Raf­fery of NBC News re­ported that “the frog in [Mrs.] Clin­ton’s throat on Mon­day was one of the most ag­gres­sive she’s had dur­ing her 2016 run,” a Clin­ton spokesman, Nick Mer­rill, went semi-bal­lis­tic, and told him to “get a life.”

But the story, which will not go away short of a mirac­u­lous re­cov­ery from whatever ails the lady, con­tin­ues to spread from what the Clin­ton cam­paign calls “the fringes” of the me­dia to “the main­stream,” i.e., the big news­pa­pers and the tele­vi­sion net­works ea­ger to carry wa­ter for the Clin­tons.

The Clin­ton cam­paign, and par­tic­u­larly the af­flicted can­di­date her­self, is surely aware that their pain (in the throat as well as in the seat of a pants suit) is sim­i­lar to the pain of an ear­lier Clin­ton scan­dal and how it spread from the “fringes” to the “main­stream” and be­came the story of the year and fi­nally to the im­peach­ment of ol’ Bubba his own self. The vast, right-wing me­dia con­spir­acy, in­deed.

Interest in Hil­lary’s cough­ing fits has al­ready spread to doc­tors who are bet­ter qual­i­fied than re­porters and cam­paign flacks to know what to make of it. One prom­i­nent neu­ro­sur­geon in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal, speak­ing with the usual anonymity ac­corded as pro­fes­sional priv­i­lege, writes to tell me that he is “pretty sure that she suf­fers from pseudo bul­bar palsy. These symp­toms are due to a le­sion in the brain stem. Gener­i­cally, the causes are multiple trauma, neo­plasm, stroke, au­toim­mune is­sues, in­fec­tion. In her case the cause is most likely a ve­nous in­farct (stroke) se­condary to her trans­verse si­nus oc­clu­sion. She now takes coumadin, an anti-co­ag­u­lant. She also has la­bile af­fect, in­ap­pro­pri­ate head bob­bing and dou­ble vi­sion as other symp­toms.”

That’s doc­tor talk above a pun­dit’s pay grade, but it’s hard to ar­gue with the doc­tor when he says “we should de­mand an MRI, with and with­out con­trast, and re­peat this de­mand ev­ery day un­til this sub­ject can­not be ig­nored.” And why not? The lady is only ask­ing us to make her the pres­i­dent of the United States. Wes­ley Pru­den is ed­i­tor in chief emer­i­tus of The Times.

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