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  1. Opinion

Ruth: An unhealthy fight over medical records

For starters, we could all agree that based on our medical histories, most of us would be disqualified from becoming president. There's that old saying: We're all dying of something. It's only a matter of time.

Judging from all the hand-wringing over Hillary Clinton's apparent semi-collapse over the weekend, one would think the poor woman is at death's door.

If irrefutable robust health was demanded of those seeking the White House, one of the few people who would be up to the job would be Olympic gymnast Simone Biles. You have to admit, watching her entry to deliver the State of the Union would be incredible.

Hillary has a cough. Hillary has a case of pneumonia. Hillary needs a few days of rest off the campaign trail. She does not need last rites. Or does she?

Once again, what ought to have been a fairly routine and transparent exercise in releasing her medical records, a long-standing tradition for presidential candidates, has been turned into political theater of intrigue, misdirection and certainly idiocy. Once again, Clinton has been the architect of her own controversy.

Clinton's penchant for secrecy is so paranoid that if you asked her what time it was, she would retreat into a bunker for a week surrounded by consultants, gofers and enablers to game out the political ramifications of her response. And even then it probably wouldn't be true.

What time is it, Hillary?

It's time to grow up.

Donald Trump also has treated the release of his medical history as if he was protecting the Coke formula, the Da Vinci Code and the contents of Queen Elizabeth's purse.

A few weeks ago, Trump's doctor, who looked like he just stepped out of The Big Lebowski, issued a hastily written, typo-filled, one-page letter that claimed a bronzed Adonis-like Trump would be the healthiest person to ever enter the Oval Office. This was hardly reassuring, especially once people tried to envision the Juan Peron of Mar-a-Lago going one-on-one with President Barack Obama on the basketball court.

More recently, Trump has announced he would reveal his medical records on The Dr. Oz Show. Leave it to the Sammy Glick of the Electoral College to use his colonoscopy for a reality television episode. But even Mehmet Oz said he has no plans to push Trump to provide more details — even if the good doctor spots the beast from Alien growing in the candidate's stomach.

First, do no harm to the polls.

Both candidates have engaged in a juvenile Na-na-na-na hissy fit, with Clinton refusing to release more medical records unless Trump releases his tax returns. Trump refuses to release his tax returns unless Clinton hands over her Wall Street speeches, as if any of this gibberish is remotely related.

Forget the diagnosis. At this point voters would be grateful to have an adult running for president.

The issue is simple. The Republicans have nominated a 70-year-old traffic cone as their presidential standard-bearer, who would be the oldest individual ever elected to the presidency. The Democrats have settled on a 68-year-old pantsuit. Clinton would be only a year younger than Ronald Reagan when he won in 1980.

Does the public have a right to know the health status of a 70-year-old and a 68-year-old vying for the most stressful job in the world? This is even a question?

The gold standard for transparency belongs to Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain, who released 1,500 pages of his medical records during his 2000 run for the GOP presidential nomination and another 1,200 pages in his 2008 campaign. The records not only covered McCain's combat injuries and damage inflicted during years of torture as a Vietnamese prisoner of war, but also several bouts of skin cancer and psychiatric evaluations.

And Clinton frets perhaps we'll learn she has bunions? Or that maybe the Big Mac/KFC fried chicken-addicted Trump has a LDL cholesterol level of "Ohmygawd!!!!!!"

Given their ages, the Bickersons of the Beltway must contend with one sort of affliction or another. But that's not their biggest problem.

The longer this hectoring campaign goes on, the more allergic the electorate becomes to two contagiously boorish candidates.

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