Even before we learned that Hillary is suffering from pneumonia, Scott Adams, cartoonist become soothsayer, pronounced her “unelectable.” By a strange logical twist Adams suggested that the perception of weakness was fatal to a presidential candidate because we, irrational creatures that he believes we are, tend to reject weak candidates.
Of course, there is nothing irrational about assessing a candidate’s health or stamina. On utterly rational grounds a candidate who seems weak and frail will have less energy than will a candidate who appears to be strong and vital.
You don’t have to be a cartoonist to figure that out.
Now that we know something about what was wrong with Hillary, we know that she was weaker than most people had imagined. We know that she has pneumonia and we ought to know that pneumonia in the elderly is not a simple or easy matter. But, we do not know what kind of pneumonia she has and do not understand why, if the illness was bad enough for her to collapse, she is not in a hospital.
As it happens, Hillary now has a face-saving way to get out of the race. If you and I and the mainstream media know that her campaign has just run aground and is headed for ignominious defeat, the powers running the Democratic Party know it too. And they are certainly looking for a replacement candidate—though the only realistic possibility is Joe Biden.
In the Hill, Kenneth Timmerman has this to say:
The media elites are in a panic. They witnessed the meltdown of their candidate in broad daylight and can feel that shiver up their spine — except that this time, it is not the delight of victory they are feeling, but the dread of defeat.
Surely, they do not want to go down with the good ship Clinton.
As for Hillary’s pneumonia, begin with a source that has been on her side, the New York Times.
While pneumonia is a common lung infection that most healthy people overcome, the illness can be more serious for people age 65 or older, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Mrs. Clinton is 68....
It can take as little as a week for a healthy young person to feel normal again, according to the lung association. But it can be weeks before a middle-age person fully regains strength. Older adults are also one group that is more likely to have complications in recovery.
If a middle aged person needs weeks to recover from some forms of pneumonia, the chances that Hillary will quickly recover and take up a grueling schedule seems very limited, indeed.
The Powerline blog quotes a physician who speculates that Hillary might have an aspiration pneumonia, caused when food particles, for example, bypass the digestive tract and make their way into the lungs:
Another more worrisome possibility comes to mind. I raise this second possibility because of Hillary’s history of neurological illnesses (blood clot in brain, concussion), hints raised on the internet in Wikileaks documents and by others that she may have a neurological disease like Parkinson’s, and her by now well documented history of recurrent coughing fits. This second possibility is that she has an aspiration pneumonia.
Aspiration pneumonia occurs when fluids and food particles that normally enter the esophagus instead enter the windpipe and lungs. It is commonly seen in neurological conditions like strokes and Parkinson’s disease or similar diseases where the nerves to the swallowing mechanism are not working properly. This is especially worrisome because it is likely to recur given the underlying, usually incurable disease process and because it can be a life-threatening event.
I consider aspiration pneumonia to be the more likely cause because it unifies all the pieces of disparate information that are available on Hillary’s medical condition. A diagnosis of aspiration pneumonia raises profoundly troubling implications for her possible election as president.
As of now we are being kept in the dark. But, the chances seem to point toward Hillary’s withdrawal from the presidential race. For a 68-year-old in less than great health, a quick comeback from pneumonia seems nigh unto impossible.