Health always an issue for national candidates

Rich Lowry is a smart young man.

His essay, published on, states clearly an obvious truth about the upcoming presidential campaign. It is that Hillary Clinton’s health will be an issue.

I get that. Indeed, Americans always should have assurances that the commander in chief will be in tip-top shape when he or she takes the reins of government.

Lowry, smart conservative that he is, defends fellow Republican Karl Rove’s assertion that Clinton might have serious “brain injury” stemming from a fall she suffered in 2012. That’s where I part company with Lowry.

To his fundamental point about the health of candidates, let’s flash back a few election cycles.

Wasn’t Ronald Reagan’s health an issue when he ran for election the first time in 1980? He was nearly 70. When he ran for re-election in 1984, he stumbled badly in his first debate with Democratic nominee Walter Mondale, fueling open discussion that he had “lost it.” President Reagan quelled that talk immediately at the next debate when he said he “would not make my opponent’s age an issue by exploiting his youth and inexperience.”

Sen. John McCain faced similar questions about his health when he ran against Sen. Barack Obama in 2008. Let’s remember that there was some ghastly whispering going on about whether he suffered too much emotional trauma as a Vietnam War prisoner for more than five years. Plus, he had been treated for cancer. His health became an issue.

Hillary Clinton will be roughly the same age as Reagan and McCain when they ran for president. Let’s keep these health issues in their proper perspective. Igniting mean-spirited gossip about potential “brain injury” isn’t the way to examine an important issue.

Leave a Reply