Is Hillary Clinton’s health an issue for 2016? You bet it is, and well it should be.
Ronald Reagan took office when he was 69. He was mocked, jeered and sneered at, with prominent Democrats leading the charge (and the compliant media following, as always).
If elected, Hillary would be — 69. But when a Republican brought up her age on a recent Sunday news show — some two years before Election Day 2016 — liberals were apoplectic (with, again, the milquetoast media taking their marching orders).
Reagan secretly wore a hearing aid, first in his right ear, then in both ears, from the beginning of his presidency. When he was 74, early in his second term, he had surgery to remove cancerous polyps from his colon, and later underwent a skin cancer operation.
But his real health issues were a closely guarded secret. In 1986, he didn’t seem to know a prominent reporter. Another time, he repeatedly referred to his vice president as “Prime Minister Bush.” His doctors dispute that he had Alzheimer’s while in office, and his wife, Nancy, said the neurological disease worsened only after he fell from a horse in 1989, suffering a brain injury, a subdural hematoma.
Hillary is even more secretive about her health. On Dec. 7, 2012, she disappeared from view — without a word. Three days passed before the State Department said the secretary of state was “under the weather” as it announced she would cancel a planned trip to the Middle East.
ABC News put out this mysterious entry in a timeline on what happened next: “Sometime early the week of Dec. 9: Clinton faints and falls while at home.” There’s never been any independent confirmation of that, nor did America’s crackerjack media do anything more than write down what State officials claimed.
Four days later, Hillary was diagnosed with a concussion. Then, on Dec. 15, State Department spokesman Philippe Reines said: “While suffering from a stomach virus, Secretary Clinton became dehydrated and fainted, sustaining a concussion.”
Of course, her sudden fall meant she had to skip her planned appearance before a House committee to testify about the death of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Libya, prompting Republican Rep. Allen West to accuse her of catching “Benghazi flu.”
More than three weeks after she disappeared, on Dec. 31, her doctors announced that an MRI scan “revealed that a right transverse sinus venous thrombosis had formed. This is a clot in the vein that is situated in the space between the brain and the skull behind the right ear. It did not result in a stroke, or neurological damage.”
But independent doctors dispute the account. Some say the cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) wasn’t caused by a concussion, but instead was itself the cause of her collapse at home — and even that she had suffered a mild stroke. The Johns Hopkins website says symptoms of CVST include blurred vision and “fainting or loss of consciousness.”
And this wasn’t her first episode. In 1998, she was treated for a blood clot in her leg. She fainted during a 2005 speech in Buffalo, N.Y., broke her elbow in an unexplained 2009 fall in the State Department garage, and collapsed while boarding a flight in Yemen in 2011.
Hillary returned to work on Jan. 7, 2013, and two weeks later, when she testified, wore extremely thick glasses. Just a week later, she left her Cabinet post and became a private citizen, ending questions about her health.
But like so many times before, out came the Clintonian lies. Hillary said she was just fine, no worries, just a little tumble at home, a little concussion, a little right transverse sinus venous thrombosis. Yet it turns out that it “required six months of very serious work to get over” a “terrible concussion,” husband Bill said last week.
That’s not what State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Jan. 7. “Judging by the woman we saw this morning and the workload that she’s got, she seems to be fully recovered,” she said. Other officials at State said the concussion was “not severe.”
Health concerns are always an issue for presidential candidates. Sen. Paul Tsongas had to provide proof that he had recovered from cancer during his 1992 presidential campaign. Sen. John Kerry was forced to talk at length about his prostate surgery. And most recently, Gov. Chris Christie, who has not even decided whether he will run for president, has been harangued in reports that question whether his rotundity rules him out altogether.
And Sen. John McCain, who would have been older than Reagan upon taking office, had to let reporters pore over 1,500 pages of medical and psychological records to shut them up.
So, Hillary, when you run, just know: We want your health records, all of them. And then we’ll decide if you’re fit for office.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @josephcurl.