Hillary and Pneumonia Up Close - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Hillary and Pneumonia Up Close
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Warning: this will be a little jumbled up because my thoughts on pneumonia are so powerful and have been jostling in my brain for so long.

First, let’s be honest: those “rumors” about Mrs. Hillary Clinton being ill had at least some truth to them all along. I know pneumonia extremely well. I have had it off and on for about 25 years. It is a cruel disease. It does not just suddenly come on like a stroke. It comes on and lingers and once you have it, you know it.

Pneumonia exhibits itself in many ways, but one way is a crushing, overwhelming fatigue accompanied by dizziness and confusion. Pneumonia is not a cold. It is a cold loaded with plutonium. It is a serious disease and it must have been apparent to Mrs. Clinton and the persons around her for a good long while that she was unwell. They simply lied about it, as they lie about everything that comes across their path.

Pneumonia is not cured easily, and often it is never cured at all. It killed my beloved father. It is a crafty disease and can hide in the most obscure bays and inlets in the lungs and then burst forth with shrieking fatigue, hoarseness, coughing, and dizziness. Not only have I experienced this, but I have been reading about it constantly ever since I first was diagnosed with it in about 1992 at Bonner General Hospital in Sandpoint.

The patient can bombard the germs with antibiotics and that sometimes, in fact usually, makes the symptoms go away for a time. But often, the pathogens can and do hide and then come out again. Eventually, they can defeat any antibiotic thrown at them and the patient is left with a low grade pneumonia waiting for Blitzkrieg any time the host is exhausted or stressed. That’s the definition of a typical modern President.

There is also viral pneumonia, which is even more difficult to cure than the one I just discussed, bacterial pneumonia. There are hardly any effective anti-virals for viral pneumonia and once you have it, you have it until the Grim Reaper comes for you. This is something for us all to contemplate seriously.

Pneumonia is one of the easiest serious diseases to diagnose. Even a small hospital like Bonner General diagnosed mine in about ten minutes with an X-Ray machine. It appears as a cloud over a photo of the lungs. Even a tiny fog covering, say, less than five percent of the lungs in a photo can result in agonizing fatigue. Fatigue that makes you want to curl up and die.

The idea that a woman of Mrs. Clinton’s means, surrounded by aides, did not know she had a powerful lung infection before her falls and collapse Sunday is farfetched at best, which calls into question her many denials on the subject.

Again, this means she has been lying to us — again.

There is some good news: while pneumonia is often resistant to meds, it is extremely receptive to bed rest and pharmaceuticals as simple as aspirin. In my own case, I have felt as if I were at death’s door and after a good night’s sleep, my delicious Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup, and aspirin, I have felt like a world beater for the next few days.

Pneumonia is not a disease that prevents a person from being an effective thinker and analyst and speaker if she were one before.

Mrs. Clinton is obviously a woman of iron self-discipline. I think she could be counted on to conserve her energy if she were President and to stay in bed a good part of the week. There is nothing wrong with that. Much of what a President has to do is to read and be briefed. She can do that after a prolonged nap and a long sleep. Mr. Obama cannot resist a trip. He should have and she can.

She’s not running for power forward on the OKC Thunder. She is running for a job that requires thought and analysis, and not physical strength. She can do it, with the usual caveat:

The problem is not that Mrs. Clinton is too ill to serve as President. The problem is — once again — her character. She lies way too much. And here again, even so, I am afraid I must speak also in her defense as well as criticize her. High officials very often lie about their health. That’s standard and I don’t blame her for it.

It’s just that there have been so very many lies about so very many subjects. It’s rare to find a big subject she has not lied about.

There is another subject worth noting: being ill affects one’s judgment. This is something everyone in the world knows. If you are ill, you tend to make poor judgments, to fly off the handle, to be intemperate. We saw this just days ago with Mrs. Clinton’s deeply disturbing “deplorables” comment, sliming 70 million Americans as racists and homophobes and fascists or something like fascists. Obviously, she was unwell when she said such a thing.

It’s not just Mrs. Clinton who has lacked judgment when ill among the ranks of power players. Robert E. Lee was ill on the day of Pickett’s Charge, possibly explaining such a disastrous move. Napoleon was ill at Waterloo. FDR was desperately ill in Yalta, leading many to believe that was why he caved in so readily to Stalin on Eastern European questions. It’s not a shame or a disgrace. Hitler said that the only real crime was to be sick. He was totally wrong, of course. It’s just part of life to be sick sometimes.

But when tossed into the balance of Mrs. Clinton’s other problems, her illness and her dishonesty about her health generally —headaches, concussions, dizzy spells, now, pneumonia — must give us reason to think carefully. Her judgment and fitness of character, not her stamina, are what are called into question.

I don’t blame Mrs. Clinton at all for being sick. She lives a hectic life and she is by no means young. She meets thousands of people. It’s natural for her to catch diseases, even ones as severe as pneumonia. I can tell her that with care and rest, she can function at a high level even with that pulmonary disorder.

Again, it’s just that she lies so much.

On two other subjects….at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender party, hosted by that ruling clique within the Democratic Party, when Mrs. Clinton spoke so viciously about her fellow Americans, the other honored guest was my neighbor from Malibu, Babs Streisand. She’s a fine singer and a woman of many talents. But her tirade against Mr. Trump was so dirty and foul-mouthed that it embarrasses me as a fellow Malibuite and a fellow Jew. It is what my grandmother (a Republican) might have called “…a shondah before the goyim…” A shame and an embarrassment in front of the Gentiles. I am sure that my pitiful comments won’t even remotely slow her down, and I am sure she, in her lavish manse near my tumble down mid-century modern shack, will never even see this. Still, for the record, it’s a disgrace.

Finally, do campaigns really have to be this strenuous? Do they really have to be life-threateningly grueling? Once the candidates have announced their plans and positions, do they really have to meet millions of people in person? Wouldn’t the back of a train be good enough? Wouldn’t a front porch be good enough? Campaigns are fun and exhilarating. But these people have been hard at it for about a year now. Maybe they could heed the advice of my famous student, Ferris Bueller. “Life goes by pretty quick. If you don’t stop and look around, you just might miss it.”

Slow down, Mrs. Clinton. I am not a big fan, but I don’t want you to kill yourself with fatigue.

Ben Stein
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Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes “Ben Stein’s Diary” for every issue of The American Spectator.
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