An accusation of someone’s health failing without proof can be one of the most brazen acts in the world of politics. The fact that Karl Rove questioned Hillary Clinton’s health recently in capability of being President gives an indication of how likely it could be Hillary really could be President within three years of this article. But then, how do we really know for sure how her health is? There’s a long history of politicians covering up major health issues so they wouldn’t alarm their constituency.
Some evidence has come out in recent years about how Presidents of old covered up serious health problems in order to prevent panic. And much of this gets traced directly back to one Franklin Delano Roosevelt who may have been critically ill against the public’s knowledge.
The Cover-Up of World War II’s Most Popular President
When I once wrote here on the possibility of FDR being much more ill than the public was aware of during the height of World War II, a book came out a couple of years later called “FDR’s Deadly Secret” about the exact same thing. Already afflicted with polio, it turns out FDR apparently had malignant melanoma that would have killed him eventually anyway. While he died of a cerebral hemorrhage (due to reported high blood pressure), evidence now shows he wouldn’t have survived the remainder of his unprecedented fourth term.
These shocking truths may not seem so shocking now, though it shows how much of a cover-up there was on FDR’s health from the public. When placed in the context of the time, it had to be done in order to prevent the public from going into a panic. He was the only President an entire generation knew and would have lessened the war effort had everyone known how sick he was at the height of World War II.
This kind of extreme cover-up makes you wonder how many other health cover-ups have taken place with other Presidents. Rumors have always been around that John F. Kennedy’s Addison’s Disease was much worse than anyone knew just prior to his assassination. Now we’re learning that he perhaps wouldn’t have lived a very long life had someone been able to prevent him from being slain.
While speculation has always been rampant, Ronald Reagan might have had signs of Alzheimer’s Disease much earlier than when diagnosed. After reports of him zoning out during cabinet meetings, there seems to be evidence he was showing early signs of the disease by the mid to late 1980s.
Some of these things may not be definitively revealed until the same amount of time has passed between now and when FDR lived. Only then will we not be surprised considering most people realize that rumors of bad health in a politician are frequently much worse than the officials ever admit to. It’s especially that way now when downplayed health concerns of people we all admire frequently turn out to be much more dire.
While we have a few cases where the press has to eat their words about someone being deathly ill, the public still puts a lot of faith into certain people in higher offices. When Sen. John McCain ran for President, there was rumoring about whether his skin cancer was much worse than he was letting on. At the time, some thought it could conflict with his ability to be an effective President. And even if there was worry his skin cancer was at the level of a malignant melanoma, it turned out not to be true. You have to wonder how many people gave that a think, though, when voting on election day.
Would We Ever See a Cover-Up with Hillary?
Hillary Clinton seems to be building popular momentum in running for President that seems almost on a level of FDR 80 years ago. This groundswell of expectation would probably put American supporters into a deep depression if she ultimately didn’t run or everyone found out she was too ill to take on the Presidency challenges. With so much riding on the will of the country, it really isn’t out of the question to think that we don’t know everything about her health.
In that regard, we shouldn’t necessarily agree with Karl Rove without proper evidence. At the same time, we should always leave it open to the possibility of any Hillary Clinton health issues covered up for the good of the country. Based on past track record, the American public placing so much faith on one person is going to breed a lot of cover-up in order to present to the public exactly who they want to see. Whether that’s misguided thinking or not, we should accept what’s given to us.
No matter if a President dies in office like FDR, the will of the people placing the candidate they want in office is going to help the country than feel like bad health stripped away the glory.