Roughly a million Americans a year are hospitalized for pneumonia. Untold others have (with or without a diagnosis) “walking pneumonia,” a variety with (typically) less severe symptoms. This may be what Hillary Clinton is suffering from, but it hardly matters: The treatment for pneumonia generally involves antibiotics (at least in the bacterial forms of the ailment) and, most of all, rest.
Clinton indeed canceled a two-day West Coast campaign swing and is said to be “resting.” That’s a good idea. But how long will a major-party presidential candidate be allowed to rest less than two months from Election Day?
Cokie Roberts, the longtime reporter thought to have impeccable insider Democratic contacts, is already reporting on NPR that influential donkeys are “very nervously beginning to whisper about her stepping aside and finding another candidate.” That is less than 24 hours after the story of Clinton’s illness first broke. The Clinton campaign is now saying it will have more information on the candidate’s condition “within a few days.” Is there any chance the woman might be left alone for “a few days” under any circumstances? I sure wouldn’t bet on it.
There is no question the Clinton campaign made this situation much worse by failing to disclose the original diagnosis and then getting “caught” by her subsequent collapse, or near collapse, or whatever you want to call it.
But the fact remains that this is someone suffering from a severe but very common illness, and that may mean we have to go “a few days” without Clinton undergoing the barbaric rigors of the campaign trail.
It would be refreshing if the news media and the hordes of excited conservatives exulting in her discomfort would accept it with the decency we usually extend to people who get sick.