Putting the ill into Hillary

This appeared on Fabius Maximus the other day, in a guest essay about the anthropological context of the current presidential race:

Here I need to write bluntly and in very poor taste, to better match real, lived, individual experience and private thoughts (maybe not yours, but some, whether conscious or not). When immigrants came to the US in pursuit of the “American Dream,” who would they imagine as the better embodiment of that dream?

(A)  The small, spiteful, neckless old lady with the cruel face and the mysterious coats that appear to be hiding large urine bags (or a colostomy bag), someone with the kindness of a prison warden and a grating cackle that is a searing assault on every image of Cinderella and Snow White? Or,

(B)  The gleaming skyscraper, the golden luxury suite housing the square-faced, golden-haired mountain of Grade A Beef in a $10,000 suit standing under a chandelier that looks like glinting diamonds in sparkling champagne, who is otherwise soaring through the skies in his own massive jet?

If you are answering (a), then you do not understand the United States.

A couple of things about section A are striking.

First, accusing Hillary Clinton of having a catheter or a colostomy does not rival Clinton herself for generally poor taste. This accusation, if true or even if inaccurate but sincere, is pertinent to her fitness for the presidency in a way that the Hillary campaign manifestly is not. It doesn’t claim male chauvinist oppression on behalf of a former First Lady, US Senator, and Secretary of State whose, along with her ex-POTUS husband, has likely secreted over a hundred million dollars’ worth of effectively looted wealth in the form of corporate bribes. It doesn’t accuse men of generally oppressing women at a time when the average American man’s earnings and career prospects have fallen catastrophically while his female counterpart’s have held relatively steady, a time when increasing numbers of men have been shut out of the hookup, dating, and marriage markets by a combination of disingenuous female hypergamy and collapsing male prospects of success.

Third-wave feminist shit-stirring is just one of several major elements of Hillary’s campaign that are beyond all shame, but even on its own it would alienate a huge swath of men, especially under circumstances as bleak as those so many of us face today. “You shit straight from your ass into a medical bag” wouldn’t be a proportional response to the abuse that Hillary Clinton and her campaign have heaped on decent, already put-upon men by baselessly accusing us of oppressing all women, including some of the wealthiest on earth; it would be downright restrained. Speaking just for myself, I haven’t done a fucking thing to oppress that bitch by regularly sleeping in my car, although I suspect that hundreds of thousands of other warm homeless American men would agree with me. For that matter, it’s darkly entertaining to imagine what decent American women from the lower classes think of Hillary for so smarmily insulting their husbands, brothers, fathers, sons, and friends with these self-serving insinuations of structural sexism, especially since Hillary is almost an archetype of the feminist yuppie bitch who stabs her professed sisters in the back for the crudest sorts of personal gain.

The other striking thing about the you-go-in-a-bag-girl comment above is that it’s part of a chorus of speculation that Hillary is in some sort of poor health. No other candidate for the presidency this year has been the subject of so much critical speculation about disqualifying health problems. The most similar accusations against another candidate were probably the suggestions that Ben Carson’s sleepy demeanor was evidence of unacceptable sluggishness (“low energy” in Donald Trump’s assessment), a smear betraying great ignorance of medicine, especially of the temperaments suited to surgery. That is, Dr. Oz histrionics do not conserve energy during long operations, but Dr. Carson’s quietness and minimal excess motion may do exactly that. The claims of Clinton’s poor health are more widespread than just smack talk from a single rival (since turned ally), nor do they emanate overwhelmingly from the fever swamp of right-wing paranoia, as is the case with the bizarre claims that Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

It certainly doesn’t help her case that she is notorious for one of the phoniest bearings in American politics today, even among many Democrats. This contributes to the appearance that she’s hiding something. She wouldn’t be the first press favorite in high office to be shielded from the medical scrutiny applied to, say, an Eagleton: witness Wilson’s stroke, Kennedy’s Addison’s Disease and generally sickly health (recast as  football-with-the-kids vigor), and, most amazingly, the memory-holing of Reagan’s visible and audible befuddlement in his first reelection debate, on live national television, as a consequence of undisclosed Alzheimer’s dementia. Sometimes a leader has something to offer the mainstream press–some charisma, some influence-peddling on behalf of his courtiers–that reporters and publishers deliberately hush up warning signs of serious medical unfitness for office.

There’s a very strong appearance that the mainstream political press is doing something of the sort on Hillary Clinton’s behalf. It’s obvious, for one thing, that her very sordid history in Little Rock and at the White House has been scrubbed for popular consumption. We hear nothing from high-circulation outlets about Whitewater or the Travel Office firings, for example, let alone accusations from White House permanent staff that she told a passing Secret Service agent to get fucked when he said good morning to her, cursed out her chauffeur, was generally foultempered with the large swathes of nonpolitical staff she considered the help, and threw a lamp at her husband during a domestic argument. This is really heavy shit. If voters find any of it credible, they’re reasonable to consider it disqualifying. Why in hell should we want someone with such a rotten temper and character running the country, especially when her Democratic primary opponent, Bernie Sanders, has nothing of the sort hanging over him from his past?

Much of the public knows that this ugliness is being actively scrubbed from the official record by Hillary partisans in the nominally independent and impartial press. It isn’t unreasonable to suspect, based on this whitewashing, that the press is also sanitizing her health record. It is a matter of public record that she fainted from dehydration and sustained a concussion while serving as Secretary of State. More recently, she was widely suspected of having some sort of incapacitating illness, probably gastrointestinal, after taking a lengthy bathroom break during a Democratic primary debate.

None of this looks good, but again, it’s compounded by the appearance that she’s so calculating and insincere that she must be hiding something. There has been fairly little speculation about the effects of Chris Christie’s obesity on his health, even though anyone so obese can be expected to be at an elevated risk of illness and premature death. But Christie doesn’t pretend to be anything other than fat. He’s the kind of guy who serenely pours a small bag of M&M’s into a larger bag of M&M’s at a ballgame. He openly enjoys junk food because it’s one of the great epicurean pleasures of life (although he might as well try some different chocolates, because M&M’s suck). The health risks of Christie’s obesity are as plain to see as his obesity itself, and he isn’t cagey about his being fat.

The same thing is true of age for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Trump, an obsessive showman, goes to some length to act younger than his age, but mainly by being vigorous all around. Sanders doesn’t pretend to be anything but old. He’s grandpa, and grandpa has to come over here and fix some crap because mom and dad have been smacking each other around and blowing the kids’ college funds on trips to Cabo. Hey, how about you kids hang out here with Grandma Jane while Grandpa goes to Hannaford to get some hamburger meat and baked beans and stuff, because you shouldn’t be eating Top Ramen and Pop-Tarts for dinner every night like you do at your parents’ house. Sanders looks like he’d be able to step into the breach left by ne’er-do-well grown children with drug problems and matter-of-factly take custody of the grandkids while their parents try to get their shit together; Trump doesn’t so much, and Clinton looks like she’d throw a fit if she were faced with something so humbling. In any event, both of these guys are vigorous and limber enough to pass for reasonably fit fifty-year-olds.

Hillary looks more decrepit at first glance, and much more decrepit in the context of the troubling health problems she’s said, or even stipulated, to have faced. And all of this is merely the likely state of her health. It’s separate from the garbage heap of a platform that she advanced until she started backtracking on elements of it and talking a good leftist story because she was sustaining a third-degree Bern from the left. It’s separate from her lifetime of yuppie treachery, fraud, and public corruption. If she’s a policy wonk, she’s a policy wonk in the same way that Lucifer is a sharp salesman. It means mainly that she knows how to destroy her enemies effectively. Of course, our leaders would have us believe that consummate knowledge and experience detached from any core ethics or sense of responsibility to the commonweal are sufficient for good government. We’re man, and they’re out to serve us.

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