Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett hasn’t gotten where he is today by making rash investments, and the prolific investor claims that he is ready to put his money where his mouth is with regards to his support for Hillary Clinton’s likely presidential bid.
Buffett, who allowed his name to be used by President Barack Obama as part of a cynical ploy to gin up interclass resentment during the 2012 reelection campaign, claims that all the smart money is on Clinton. In an interview with CNBC on Monday, Buffett said that he would bet on a second Clinton administration, and there are only a few factors that led him to hedge slightly; the most important of these being the 67-year-old’s health. (Hat tip to The Weekly Standard):
“Yeah, I’d bet money on both of those,” Buffett said when asked by CNBC anchor Rebecca Quick if he stood by a prediction he made late last year that Clinton would be both the Democratic Party’s nominee and the 45th President of the United States.
“And I don’t know whether Intrade has started their calculations yet, but maybe as time goes along you’ll be able to actually bet money. The odds may be up on that. But sure she’s a — things could always happen in politics, including illnesses or something of the sort. But she’s extremely likely to be the Democratic nominee, and I think she’s very likely to be the president of the United States.”
Buffett’s decision to cite the defunct predictions marketplace Intrade, a service that has been out of business since 2013 after being accused of facilitating financial irregularities, might not say much about his ability to keep up with current events. Buffett’s prediction is, however, qualified in an interesting manner. Surely, Hillary Clinton’s health – like so many issues of relevance to Americans who would like to see their prospective presidents thoroughly vetted – is going to be dubbed off limits by a protective press corps. For someone vying to serve as America’s grandma-in-chief, the subject of Clinton’s vivacity will be a persistent one throughout the 2016 cycle.
Don’t think that the press will attempt to make the issue of Clinton’s health just another matter that cannot be mentioned without the questioner’s character being impugned? Much like her husband’s tenure in the White House, her foreign fundraising, and her penchant to commune with the dead, Clinton’s allies in the press will judge the subject of the former secretary of state’s health a crass issue of concern only to Republican boors.
MSNBC host Krystal Ball pioneered the tactic as early as May of last year. “Is that going to be the 2016 equivalent of calling for Obama’s birth certificate?” she asked after Clinton received treatment for a blood clot in her head following a fall.
“The whole Republican strategy is to make this all so distasteful to Hillary that she’s going to look at it and say, ‘I don’t want to run, it’s too dirty, it’s too nasty.’” Huffington Post Editorial Director Howard Fineman replied. “I think that’s vaguely sexist because I don’t think you would say that about any man that you are going to scare him out of the race because he is not tough enough.”
That’s right. Inquiring about Clinton’s physical faculties is exposes the questioner’s sexism and birtherism.
Of course, the hosts and guests of MSNBC’s The Cycle failed to note that both Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Barack Obama saw their health become a campaign issue. In 2008, The New York Times published a full-page ad demanding the then 71-year-old cancer surviving McCain release all of his medical records. When Obama merely released a one-page note from his Chicago-based physician showing that he had an above average cholesterol level, Republicans were not shy about making the president’s health an issue. In 2012, both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan preemptively released their full medical records. Perhaps they did so in anticipation of a media-generated firestorm if they had withheld them.
In short, Clinton’s health is not only fair game but it will be a significant issue in the 2016 race. If even her loyal supporters have in the back of their minds the fact that Clinton may yet endure another debilitating health scare like the one she suffered in the winter of last year, it is safe to expect her opponents will not shy away from raising the issue.