At This Point Do Health Records Really Matter?

day2New Orleans   Big news! TV and radio are full of 24 hour commentary on Hillary Clinton feeling the heat and now a doctor’s opinion that maybe her cough is pneumonia, rather than a reaction to allergies, as she has said earlier. Some pundits and editorialists are calling for more disclosures of the candidates’ health records, which in both cases have been somewhat sketchy.

As you recall, Clinton’s were somewhat perfunctory, though they were effusive in comparison to Donald Trump’s letter from one of his doctor’s that seemed like he might have gotten it from a doc-in-a-box with a one-hundred dollar bill in an envelope and essentially said, he was healthy as a horse. But, really, what do we expect. Neither of these candidates are youngsters like Obama. One is 68 and the other is 70. We’re not talking about folks ready for the Olympics. We’re more in the Reagan and Eisenhower demographic. These will be the last candidates to understand that Vietnam was more than a question on a geography quiz.

But, my question is, really, does it matter at this point? Either would have to suddenly have a stroke and then go into a coma to not be on the ballot in less than two months. Be serious. There’s not going to be a do-over at this point. If their hearts are beating and their tongues are wagging, one of these seniors is going to be President.

One reporter suggested that they each provide their health records to a few elite reporters in order to make a report to the public. That almost seems reasonable, but we’re not dealing with very transparent folks. We are already dealing with Trump and Republican forces fabricating ill-health voodoo spells on Clinton in recent months. Trump’s VP candidate, Mike Pence, released his income tax records, but Daddy Warbucks is still gripping his with a tight death grip. We all know about Hillary’s views on privacy versus publicity, and if not, read up on the email server mess. Who is prepared to believe that reporters would get the complete package on something so personal and private? This is a situation where no one is going to believe anything, so it’s likely just destined to be a hot mess.

And, what makes the public think that this is something that the press can handle. Remember the mess with Senator Eagleton as the presumptive running mate for George McGovern in the last century? He was eviscerated for some mental health issues that most now would see as certainly manageable, if not trivial. And, if anything that’s what most of us would like to know about a candidate for President. How stable are they with their fingers near the button? How firmly are their feet anchored to the solid ground? There has already been speculation on Trump and psycho drama, and with Hillary, as a woman, that’s just a common assumption for a whole group of voters. But, friends, no one is talking about sharing any info on mental health.

This is one issue we should let evaporate into back ground noise. There’s no good that can come of it. Our rights to this information are tenuous and our ability to handle healthcare information is nonexistent. We have a long record as a people proving that we don’t understand anything about health. The ongoing conflict about Obamacare is a good case in point.

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Two Campaigns: One Tight Ship and One Full of Leaks

Source: George Herbert AP

Source: George Herbert AP

Vlodrop, Netherlands   Trump and his family have to be walking around his namesake tower in New York City just hopping mad. Everywhere they turn they have to wonder at sieve of a drowning campaign who is leaking to the press.

The latest flood level leak from the top of the campaign to the New York Times detailed a split between the Republican party operatives and the campaign managers quoting the Trump folks right up to the son-in-law and right down to describing his tone in a meeting with a key RNC official as “impervious.” There just simply cannot be that many people in the room when meetings happen at that level. What do you reckon? Five or six, maybe ten, but even ten seems unlikely. Can you imagine the circular firing squad that is lining up to try and pull a confession – and resignation – out of the people spilling these stories to the press of more chaos and dissension? And, with or without confessions, trust has left this campaign.

Furthermore, reading between the lines, you just have to know the Republican National Committee folks who were assigned over to the Tower, had to be the leakers. And, for all of the denials from the Chair of the party, it’s hard not to see him nodding an ascent to the leaks in order to send one last message to the Trump campaign that they have reached their limit after his fiasco around immigration in the short hours between his visit to Mexico City and his speech in Arizona. There’s nothing subtle about any of this. It’s hardball and a pitch to the head.

Meanwhile, not a peep from the Clinton campaign. Testimony from the FBI is released. Thud. Not a sound from the campaign. No lone voices or squeaks of concern. Nothing but the authorized spokesperson rolling out the script for the occasion. One report noted that Clinton has not held an open press conference since December 2015. This is a new strategy. A candidate running for president that doesn’t want press. The Clinton campaign was quickly out with a count of 350 press contacts this year, but these were curated calls from random call-ins to radio DJs to carefully curried reporters in specific, often local outlets.

We have on offer two completely different strategies emanating from the same root source. Neither Trump nor Clinton trust nor care for the press, and they all fly separately this campaign, which is also unusual, but one can’t stop talking and one can’t start. One is leaking information right and left on a sinking ship, while the other is sealed tighter than a drum. From one side we know way, way too much, and from the other, we know way, way too little.

The percentage of undecided voters is at historic levels by some reports. One set of pollsters indicated,

“Undecided voters and professed non-voters are at 29 per cent, seven times higher than in 2012. If these people were to break one way or the other before election day, they could reverse Clinton’s lead and put Trump in the White House.”

When significant percentages of both candidates’ support is based on opposition to the opponent, rather than support of the candidate, how can either of these strategies, win, lose or draw, be persuasive to potential voters, much less good for the American people?

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