Hubris Led to Stonewalling

Hubris Led to Stonewalling

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

Presidents like all public figures think they are invincible. Into that category, therefore, fall both of the Clintons. Hillary Clinton’s actions related to her apparent pneumonia suggest not only that she believed she was invincible but that she could beat the system that every other public figure including Donald Trump believes he too could beat; hubris.

Since the days of President Woodrow Wilson and his hidden illness to Richard Nixon and the White House tapes to presidents with many other personal dalliances, presidents—like so many public figures– believed they could fool the masses. All of them turned out to be wrong, although in some instances it took time to discover the facts.  In the 24/7 news world and the voracious and ever present social media era, there is virtually no time elapse before the actions of public figures go viral. Stonewalling no longer works. It is conceivable that even Donald Trump now knows that he cannot keep facts out of the public domain.

The management of Hillary’s campaign may be what she wants but it is not working. The continuing murmuring about her health is getting serious. She wants so desperately to win in November that she may well be losing track of the goal as she continues to build up a security cordon around her campaign. Hillary wants to win as she has always she was entitled to the 2008 election and it was stolen from her. If she does not dramatically change her approach to her campaign very fast—assuming her current medical issues are quickly resolved—then she may well end up taking down her party in November.

Hillary has left herself vulnerable to being super-scrutinized and observed for her medical suitability to be president. In addition, she has now raised another set of issues about her suitability to be President; not to assume for a moment that this suggests that Trump is more capable.

Hillary has exactly two weeks before she will need to be prepared to face-off against Trump in their first debate. Undoubtedly, she will be asked by the moderator and then pounded by Trump about this episode, how she handled it, and what it says about her ability to govern. As her poll numbers likely will take a serious hit over the next few days or weeks, the possible dangers if she mishandles her responses in the debate could well send her entire campaign into a tailspin.  Fessing up has not been her style, but will need to be from now on.

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