Democratic presidential candidate #Hillary Clinton, as everyone knows, fell ill on Sunday, leaving early from an event at Ground Zero commemorating the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Clinton was later filmed appearing to wobble as she got into a car; later in the day the campaign acknowledged that the candidate had been diagnosed with pneumonia two days earlier.
The episode follows months of conspiracy theories that the candidate has been concealing some major illness, with amateur Internet physicians coming up with all sorts of comical diagnoses for the former secretary of state in the hope that one of them will stick and hurt her presidential chances.
Here, some answers to questions about the Hillary health episode:
Will the health scare affect Clinton’s presidential chances?
Assuming she recovers quickly from #pneumonia and has nothing else wrong with her, to the point where she appears healthy-looking at the three debates and other public appearances, probably minimally. It would probably hurt her more if she were running against Marco Rubio or another Republican who is relatively young and healthy, but Donald Trump is not only older than Clinton, but isn’t exactly the picture of health himself.
Could the Clinton campaign have handled Sunday’s events better?
Yes, and they admitted as much on television. It was probably a bad move to issue an initial statement about the candidate being “overheated,” and leaving the pneumonia part out of the announcement, and it plays up to charges of slipperiness by the Clintons.
So those who have been harping on Clinton’s health are vindicated, right?
No! In the past six months it’s been alleged that Clinton is suffering from cancer, seizures, Parkinson’s Disease, HIV/AIDS, MS and even CTE. The vast majority of these maladies have been diagnosed by couch-bound non-doctors, some of whom have even gone so far as to produce online videos claiming that someone making a silly facial expression counts as a “seizure.” There remains, of course, no evidence for any of the above.
If Hillary had pneumonia, why would she go to the Ground Zero event anyway?
There’s a concept in the world of sports, “playing hurt.” Athletes, when they’re in pain from an injury, are expected to go out on the field and perform anyway, perform well, not complain, and sometimes not even acknowledge that they’re in pain at all. When they do this, they’re praised by the same manly-man types who love Donald Trump’s “telling it like it is” and deeply fear a woman president.
That’s what Clinton was doing Sunday -- playing hurt. Because you can only imagine the reactions from those who hate her, had Clinton no-showed the 9/11 anniversary ceremony.
Does Hillary Clinton have a body double?
This was a popular theory after Clinton appeared outside her daughter’s apartment and waved. This is obviously not true, of course — and the most famous Hillary impersonator, accused of playing the part that day, was demonstrably in California at the time — but if it were true and it worked like the movie Dave, I would hope the Hillary double, after assuming the presidency, also has an accountant pal who can easily balance the federal budget.
Is it totally unprecedented for a politician to not disclose major health issues?
No! FDR, of course, concealed from the American public that he had polio. Dick Cheney underwent heart surgery while vice president, and it wasn’t public knowledge until after he’d left office. Pneumonia is minor enough that many, many politicians have had it and not said anything publicly.
Will Donald Trump open the first presidential debate by asking Clinton, in the most condescending way possible, how she’s feeling?
Oh, you know he will. #hillaryshealth