Is Hillary psyching herself out for the debate?
If I were capable of feeling empathy for Hillary Clinton, I would be full of concern for her mental and physical state as she prepares for a 90-minute ordeal Monday night at Hofstra University. We are seeing very little of her lately, as unspecified debate prep supposedly takes up her time. One rather disturbing clue as to her mental state came Wednesday when she made a weird teleconference speech to a labor gathering in Las Vegas. Headlines resulted from her question, “Why aren’t I ahead 50 points?,” but the shouting tone of voice in which she delivered that fantasy-laden query was highly off-putting, to say the least.
Was she imagining herself on a podium in front of a vast audience and adopting a pre-microphone orator’s voice? Watch this less-than-one-minute excerpt and notice that she seems to get excited, and then raises her voice:
Then there are those eyes. I suppose she was coached to stare right into the camera. Undoubtedly, they were aware that conservatives noticed that her eyeballs went out of sync with each other in a small rally at Temple University Monday.
In a possible instance of psyching herself out, she overcompensated with a death stare.
Does this look like a healthy woman?
As far as her health goes, she obviously has some sort of undisclosed neurological disorder. Nick Chase’s excellent article today, "Hillary's Pneumonia Hokum: A Timeline," lays to rest any notion that the campaign is telling the whole truth about what ails her. She is subject to episodes that remain to be medically defined. And we also know that presidential campaigns lie about the candidate’s health, up to and including fatal illnesses. Jim Geraghty of NRO wrote:
Senator Paul Tsongas… and his doctors lied through their teeth:
When Tsongas ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination the 1992 presidential campaign, he made an issue of his survival from a form of cancer known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But Tsongas and his doctors at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Ronald W. Takvorian and George P. Canellos, repeatedly said he had been cancer-free when he had not. In so doing, they implied that the cancer was cured when indeed it was not curable.
So there are reasons to believe that as Chase suggests, Hillary is subject to seizures that can be triggered in various ways. If so, she and her staff must fear most of all such an episode in front of a vast television audience. What, then, are they doing about it? I am not qualified to know what sorts of medications, if any, might help her, and what side effects, if any, might cause other problems.
But I also suspect they would want to control the environment so as to eliminate stimuli that could trigger a seizure. Red lights in particular.
Would Hillary appear with her now-famous blue sunglasses?
Or with other famous specs, to keep those eyeballs in sync and avoid double vision?
The most obvious thing they have to do is deal with the stress. Aside from the setting, huge audience, and stakes, they face a man whom they regard as unpredictable, hostile, and scary. So they have to be drilling her with stress-inducing attacks from a Trump surrogate, and focusing as much on protocols to avoid a seizure or recover quickly from one (see Chase’s excellent account of an incident in which she temporarily froze in front of an audience and was attended to by a close aide, recovering. One of the first things to check out Monday night at the debate is the presence of the unnamed aide, whom Chase dubs the Big Black Dude and I call badge man, who seems always ready to intervene when health issues first show up.)
All this drilling over anticipated attacks from Trump has got to embed scripted responses in her brain. One danger she faces is reversion to her characteristic yelling, angry tone of voice because she is excited and focused on whatever protocol has been devised to avoid a seizure.
Too much to keep track of. You can't focus clearly on everything all at once. And her priority won't be defeating Donald Trump so much as avoiding a face plant.