Nicholas Wapshott

The healthy route for Hillary Clinton: Release your medical records

Nicholas Wapshott
May 20, 2014 22:10 UTC


So Karl Rove has cast doubt on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s health. He may have been off when he claimed that the presumed 2016 Democratic presidential candidate spent 30 days in the hospital — she was only kept in for three — but he has clearly drawn political blood.

The Clintons went into full defense mode. Though every presidential candidate in modern times has provided a full account of their health, and if Hillary Clinton decides to run, she too will have to hand over her full medical file — including an explanation of the blood clot between her skull and her brain caused by a fall, a full account of why she fell, what treatment she received, how well she recovered and whether there are any lasting effects. It’s par for the course.

The Clintons being Clintons, however, are keeping mum about the substance of Rove’s accusation. As if it were somehow bad manners to raise health as an issue. Health is, should and will be an issue, just as the health of whoever emerges as the champion from the GOP presidential primaries will be pounced on, prodded and pored over.

Republican political consultant Rove speaks with the National Journal's Brownstein during the fifth annual Washington Ideas Forum at the Newseum in WashingtonClinton’s age will also be an issue in the 2016 election, just as it was for Ronald Reagan — who was 69 years old when elected, compared to her 68, if she runs — and for Senator Bob Dole — who was 73 years old when he made his last White House bid in 1996.

Clinton’s strength in her party is such that until she makes up her mind whether she will run, no other Democrat can raise a cent to explore a campaign of their own. That is why, a full two and a half years away from November 2016, we are in the midst of a phony election.

Fighting for the future of conservativism

Nicholas Wapshott
May 13, 2014 03:15 UTC

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron delivers a speech to placard waving Conservatives during an European election campaign rally at a science park in Bristol

Establishment Republicans have been delighted by the victory of Thom Tillis, their favored candidate in last week’s North Carolina primary. After expensive advertising campaigns by establishment bagmen like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, mainstream conservatives believe they have a candidate who can beat Democrat Kay Hagan to win a valuable Senate seat in November.

Some commentators see Tillis’s triumph as a sign that other impending GOP primary races will also deliver electable candidates. Having watched the Senate slip from Republican grasp in 2012, as Tea Party candidates such as Todd Akin in Missouri, Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Richard Mourdock in Indiana depicted the party as too extreme, they say the Tea Party is in retreat.

Not so fast. The experience of conservative parties elsewhere suggests that when pragmatists triumph over dogmatists, the dogmatists either regroup and go on to overwhelm the moderates, eventually making the party their own. Or they set up their own party — and trounce the moderates at the ballot box.

Sterling: Defying a century of progress

Nicholas Wapshott
May 6, 2014 06:00 UTC

A supporter holds a photo cutout of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling while standing in line for the NBA Playoff game 5 between Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center in Los Angeles

The punishment of Clippers owner Donald Sterling for being caught expressing his racist beliefs — “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” — was swift and severe. The National Basketball Association, the players and a large majority of the team owners were quick to come together to condemn Sterling’s primitive remarks.

The same was true when the TV chef Paula Deen was revealed to have previously used a racial epithet — the “n” word — while being deposed for a workplace discrimination lawsuit. Notwithstanding the fact that Deen was a big cheese on the Food Network, she was abruptly fired.

Radio talk-show host Don Imus speaks with Rev. Al Sharpton during Sharpton's radio show, in New YorkThe same happened when Don Imus ridiculed black women college basketball players on his Imus in the Morning program on MSNBC. Though he appeared on Al Sharpton’s radio show to address the issue, it was too late. Before he could mount his full defense and apologize, he was out of a job.