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.


Trump as the Great White Hope

2016electionNew Orleans   Welcome to the season of political pundit gymnastics as conservative observers try to see how in the world to plot a potential path to victory in the Electoral College for Donald Trump. Spoiler alert: it starts and ends with white people. Lots of them!

One of the Wall Street Journal columnists tried to see if there was a way based on their most recent poll. They compared how Mitt Romney had done against President Obama in 2012 among white voters to how Hillary Clinton shaped up among the same divisions of the electorate against Trump. Interestingly, if Trump’s best shot is as the “great white hope,” he’s actually one-point down from Romney’s performance, and, just a reminder, Romney lost pretty badly.

It stacked up as Romney over Obama with all whites at +17 and Trump over Clinton with all whites at +16. Romney did better than Trump in this kind of hypothetical contest in every area except among “white men with no college” where Trump doubled up, scoring +48 over Clinton where Romney had been +24 over Obama in that group, usually classified as the white working class. Clinton was only up over the Obama 2012 performance with white women with college where Clinton was up 7% and Romney had beaten Obama by +2.

Their view was that unless Trump got his act together among white college women he was a gone pecan, cher, because he could not carry the suburbs in places like Pennsylvania and Colorado without them. Wow! If that’s his Achilles heel, he’s been tripping all over it for months and months. He can fire his campaign manager now and do so over and over again, and that’s not going to help him here. Clinton has already eroded the margins among white women with no college and white men with college compared to the Romney-Trump race. That actually seems like an area where she may still be able to pick up support, unless there is a sea change in the way Trump messages his attack dog, motor mouth campaign style.

They also believe that for Trump to win, third parties have to suck significant votes way from Clinton by taking advantage of the alienation and dissatisfaction remaining from Sanders core supporters. When conservatives have to pin their hopes on the Green Party, we’re just about Disneyland now. Who is Jill Stein? But, a real, alternative party that would be a different thing or a Sanders breakaway new party effort, which he clearly is unwilling to lead, now that would be a different thing. Call me, maybe.

Finally, even the Wall Street Journal labels Trump’s boasting that he could win New York and California as a “fantasy,” just about views New Jersey the same way. They plot one path with him winning Florida and Ohio, but still needing to take a Pennsylvania or a Minnesota or Colorado. The other way they think is even harder.

Florida becomes a lynchpin in beating Trump. He’s just about dead with Latinos. He has already wrong footed the Orlando tragedy badly. It’s not hard to see why some polls are now giving Clinton a double-digit advantage with Trump’s unfavorable at 70%. Somehow Cleveland beat Golden State, so anything is possible, but Trump is stumbling badly out of the gate at this point. You have to say, sorry, to the conservatives. Trump is no LeBron.


Clintons’ Barking Up the Wrong Tree at Black Lives Matter

1604082135-Bill-Clinton-Takes-on-Black-Lives-Matter-ProtestersNew Orleans    How many decades have the Clintons been in public life? Four going on five, right? We’re talking about almost fifty years navigating the public forum. How many times do you imagine that the President, the Senator, the Secretary of State, and just plain Mr. and Mrs. Clinton have had to walk through, around, and among protestors of one stripe or another? It’s got to be hundreds, right? It’s the nature of public life in a democracy both here and abroad. It goes with the job.

But, what have we now?

Early in the campaign former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was crisp and dismissive to a small group of Black Lives Matter interlocutors, hard-handling them for not being as “realistic” and incremental as she believed appropriate. Subsequently, she has wised up a bit as the elections have cascaded one after another and the critical block of African-American voters has been the tipping point in her emergence as the leading contender in the Democratic presidential primaries. She now seeks to distance herself from President Bill Clinton’s 1994 Crime bill, though I have not seen her retreat from the devastation that President Clinton forced on low income families as he ended “welfare as we know it,” and substituted it with little or nothing allowing states to gut the program so that only 20% of eligible now received TANF benefits and do so with stiff work requirements and fixed end dates for support.

In Philadelphia though the “big dog” ripped the leash off at a rally when confronted by Black Lives Matter protestors, baring his teeth and engaging in intemperate back and forth. Facing the firestorm this mess has now injected into Hillary’s campaign he now says, and listen carefully to his quote, “I almost want to apologize.”

Just like the Souljah spat by Bill Clinton as he campaigned in his own race years ago, I’m worried about all of this. Bill Clinton has been a toe-the-line and restrained campaigner for months. The storyline has been that he was on a short leash, but come on, man, this is former President Bill Clinton, perhaps the best natural politician of our generation. This is a former multi-termed governor from Arkansas, two-term President, and world traveler. No one is going to convince me that Clinton is not the total professional and disciplined to the nth degree.

How are we to believe this was a slip, and not strategy? Is the big dog trying to send a dog whistle messenger to the ears of the white working class that is voting for Trump and Cruz and aligning disturbingly with what pollsters and political scientists are finding are deeply racism resentments? If he had just slipped over his tongue and lost his temper, in the aftermath the campaign would have never allowed him to use the word, “almost,” to cut the heart out of any potential apology to defuse this mess.

This is the troubling and ugly aspect of Clintonesque campaigning. The sense of entitlement that knows no bounds. The belief that they “own” the black vote and the right to steamroll anyone and everyone who is in the way.

Once again, they calculate that there is no place for all of us to go except home and away from the polls. Was President Clinton trying to soften up the Trump-Cruz base for the general election because we’re all sliced, diced, counted, and stored away for later?

I can’t be sure, but I “almost” believe this was all deliberate. And, I totally believe it’s wrong.