Do you hear that faint sound? It's the grumbling of conservative pundits who are now churning out a theory that Hillary Clinton is lying about her concussion to avoid having to testify about Benghazi. Clinton had a concussion recently, her team said Saturday. And The Daily Caller's Jim Treacher isn't sending the Secretary of State a get-well card until she proves she was really hurt. He writes:
If she has a concussion, let’s see the medical report. Let’s see some proof that she’s not just stonewalling. If it’s true, then we can all wish her a speedy recovery. But it’s ridiculous to expect us to take her word for it.
And there's more:
P.S. If you demanded Romney’s tax returns but you think it’s paranoid to ask for Hillary Clinton’s medical report, #YouMightBeALiberal
Of course Romney didn't release his full tax returns, but that's not neither here nor there. Back to Concussiongate: the State Department released a statement saying that "while suffering from a stomach virus, Secretary Clinton became dehydrated and fainted, sustaining a concussion," and Treacher is not alone in not buying that. Former United Nations Ambassador and Fox News commentator John Bolton insinuated Monday night on Fox News's On the Record with Greta Van Susteren that Clinton's concussion was dubious, because he knows how to play sick. He said:
You know, every foreign service officer in every foreign ministry in the world knows the phrase I am about to use. When you don't want to go to a meeting or conference, or an event, you have a 'diplomatic illness,' ... And this is a diplomatic illness to beat the band.
And conservative blogger Lucianne Goldberg (the same woman who convinced Linda Tripp to tape Monica Lewinsky), echoed that statement with a tweet this morning:
Hillary has given us a great new excuse. Don't call in with a cold or a bad tooth. Just say you have a concussion. It can last for days.— Lucianne Goldberg (@LucianneLinks) December 18, 2012
The calls for Clinton to "come clean" about her health aren't unlike when conservative commentators thought David Petraeus coming clean about the affair that ruined his political and personal life was an attempt to wag the dog, even though he did end up testifying about the attacks on the American consulate September 11 in the Libyan city. The ongoing narrative from these critics seems to be a step beyond on Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham's successful prodding of Ambassador Susan Rice on the attacks — these are pundit-class seeds of "cover-up" that go beyond fact, or even perceived fact, even though a CNN poll late last month found the majority of Americans do not believe there was one. With Petraeus and Rice out of the picture and their reputations sullied, Clinton is the latest scapegoat for ongoing frustrations over Benghazi. Mr. Kerry, you sure you want her job?
Update 4:21 p.m. Clinton's team is responding to the attacks that the Secretary of State faked her concussion to get out of the hearing. "She's been on the phone and in e-mail contact with senior staff. She's been working on other issues - Syria, the DPRK [North Korea] today. These are people that don't know what they are talking about," spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.