Ed Morrissey wrote about the decision by the Sanders campaign to keep the rest of Bernie’s medical records under wraps a couple of weeks ago. At the time, I found myself wondering just how well that would fly with Democratic primary voters and if President Trump’s critics would hold Sanders to the same standard. Curiously, we haven’t heard much talk about that subject on cable news after the first few days. (Funny how that works, isn’t it?)
But the topic hasn’t disappeared entirely. This week, our friend Andrew Malcolm pries open that can of worms once again. He highlights an interview Sanders did with NBC News’ Chuck Todd in which he admits to breaking a campaign promise and then tries to back-peddle his way out of it.
Sanders just made a confession unintentionally. Under polite but firm questioning from NBC’s Chuck Todd, Sanders admitted he’s broken a promise to release his full medical records. But he claims on the basis of no authority whatsoever that’s OK.
Last fall, you may recall, Sanders was stricken with a heart attack that knocked him out of campaigning. Taking the oath of office at 79, if successful, Sanders would be older than any other U.S. president, entering or leaving the White House. Today, he’s already 13 years past the average lifespan of a man born before Pearl Harbor in 1941…
Today, you may well have not even heard of Sanders’ admission to Todd. Just as we’ve never been given an adequate explanation for President Donald Trump’s unscheduled autumn visit to Walter Reed Medical Center, which you don’t hear about anymore.
Andrew goes on to cite a number of other memorable events in the history of our federal government and national elections, citing the way that some subjects which used to be major stories have slowly descended into the No Big Deal category. He describes how there are now too often no consequences for such obfuscation or even shady or corrupt behavior. And part of that is due to the nation’s distrust in the media, which they have largely brought on themselves.
Getting back to the specifics of Sanders’ medical records, there really does seem to have been a cone of silence lowered over the topic. That’s something of a change from the pushback that then-candidate Donald Trump received during the 2016 campaign and he actually did release a full medical profile. Of course, some of that criticism was warranted at the time (at least in my opinion) because the future President’s claims would have appeared much stronger if his doctor didn’t look and sound like somebody who just walked off the set of a Cheech and Chong movie. Since then, President Trump has been examined by more official medical experts and we haven’t learned of anything serious being amiss. (Though that unscheduled autumn visit to Walter Reed Medical Center raised a few eyebrows.)
Does all of this mean that Bernie just gets a pass and the subject is off the table? If he wins the election he’ll be 79 years old when he’s sworn in, the oldest person ever to sit in the Oval Office. And, not to keep beating the same drum here, but the guy did just have a heart attack. Now, many people survive such cardiac events and go on to live healthy productive lives for years to come. Hopefully, that will be the case for Bernie Sanders as well.
But what if it’s not? People vote for the top of the ticket in most cases, not the veep. Whoever Bernie Sanders’ running mate is will wind up taking office if (God forbid) something happens that doesn’t allow him to continue to serve. And we won’t know as much about that person’s platform and agenda as the original candidate himself. Is it all that unfair to say that Bernie should be held to a higher standard because of his age and recent medical issues?
Of course, nobody can force any candidate to release their medical records, just as they can’t demand to see their tax records. The only people who can make that call are the voters if they feel that the health issue is too important to take a chance on. But the voters won’t even be rallied to consider such a question if those in the media don’t do their jobs.