The Curious Case of the Candidate’s Body Double

Lately we’ve been spending some time at Netflix binge-watching episodes of a British documentary series about conspiracy theories, partly because we need some diversion from that awful presidential race but mostly because we enjoy a good conspiracy theory the way some readers revel in a good mystery novel. It’s just our luck in this crazy election year, though, that the most diverting conspiracy theory we’ve lately encountered comes from that awful presidential race.
Unless you’re much better than us at avoiding the news, you already know that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was videotaped collapsing into the arms of her aides as she took an early exit from a memorial service for the victims of the 2001 terror attacks in New York on Sunday, and that it has brought all the lingering questions about her health from the comments sections of the more conspiratorial-minded web sites to the front pages of the even the most polite press. By you also know that she was whisked to her daughter’s nearby apartment rather than to a hospital, and that she emerged from the apartment just a few hours later looking quite hale and happy as she waved to photographers and greeted a cute young girl who who happened to be on the sidewalk. If you’re attuned to the proper “Twitter” feeds and internet sites, or the more mainstream portions of the press that report their speculations, you might even be aware of the theory that the Clinton who emerged from that apartment building looking suspiciously healthy with a suspicious lack of secret services agents around a suspiciously cute young girl to greet her was actually a body double.
More careful observers than ourselves noticed a slight difference in the nose and a change of earrings, as well as more general youthful appearance, and along with those other suspicious circumstances that was enough to lead some to a conclusion that a body double had been substituted. The theory doesn’t explain how the body double happened to be on hand in Clinton’s daughter’s apartment, or what became of the actual Clinton, or why a campaign so diabolically brilliant as to have such a convincing doppelgänger around in case of a collapse has lately been slipping in the polls against the likes of Republican nominee Donald Trump, but in this crazy year we suppose that anything is possible.
As far-fetched as it might seem, the theory gained enough currency that it was briefly the second-most “trending” topic on “Twitter,” which also spurred conspiracies theories. A Reditt site devoted to Trump supporters alleged “#HillarysBodyDouble is NOT truly trending on Twitter, But They Stuck It on the Trends to Make Us Look Nuts,” which might also strike some non-Trump supporters as randomly capitalized and completely nuts. A writer for the InfoWars site, which has alleged that the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were an inside job and that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya and countless other conspiracy theories, and has lately been insisting that Clinton has Parkinson’s Disease or syphilis or a brain tumor, “tweeted” that “The #Hillary’sBodyDouble narrative was probably started by the Clinton campaign to discredit genuine questions about her health.”
Some of the rumors specified that the body double is a woman named Teresa Bonwell, who resembles Clinton closely enough that she’s made living as a look-alike for the past several years, and she seems to have fueled that speculation by sending out an old photograph of herself outside the same building with the taunting message “Maybe I was in New York.” She now insists it was a joke, and has the ironclad alibi of being at a video shoot with a Bill Clinton look-alike and, just to make things perfect, the guy who played President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho in “Idiocracy.”
Despite the Hollywood-like ingenuity of the body double switch, that crafty Clinton campaign hasn’t seemed to discredit any truly genuine questions about her health, which are being raised in even the most polite press, and by now even her supporters are conceding that she should have been more forthcoming about condition. Some supporters are even admitting that Clinton’s longstanding tendency toward secrecy has made even the most outlandish speculations seem plausible, and if that body double finishes out the campaign for Clinton she’s bound to endure some interrogations about it. That guy who’s been filling in for the late Paul McCartney the past 50 years has done pretty well, though, so maybe she’ll pull it off.
Thus far Trump has been uncharacteristically quiet about Clinton’s condition, but he’s also the guy who championed that Obama-was-born-in-Kenya theory and parrots the Code Pink line about George W. Bush lying America into the Iraq War and urged everyone to read The National Inquirer’s big story about Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’ dad being in on the John F. Kennedy assassination, and he frequently finds that things are rigged, so he probably won’t have anything bad to say about what his friends at InfoWars are saying. He should urge his supporters to stick to the facts, though, because those are bad enough.

— Bud Norman

One response

  1. Bud’s use of euphemism is interesting. Just as we have been taught that references to “adult content” means that we are about to view on-screen sex scenes, and “adult beverages” refers to drinking alcohol, we find Bud’s reference the “polite” press as the Democrat worshiping media. Hillary’s Pretorian Guard. The Democrat Operatives with Bylines.

    Which brings me to a rhetorical device used extensively by Bud to slander Donald Trump. I refer you to Bud’s article and all his previous articles. In it he uses the same rhetorical tactics used by Democrats to label Republicans racist. I resent it when it’s used by Democrat operatives, by Hillary as she labels millions of Trump supporters “deplorables” (racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic) and I resent it when #NeverTrumpers use those terms to smear Donald Trump and his supporters. If it did not make me angry, there would be something wrong with me, asd is illustrted by an anecdote about William F. Buckley, Mr. Conservative.

    If our host will indulge me I will quote from a recent PJ Media article at length. (the entire article can be found at this link)

    The Sordid History of Liberals Calling Republicans Racists

    Hillary Clinton’s recent attack on Trump voters — calling them “deplorables” and accusing the GOP nominee of building “his campaign largely on prejudice and paranoia and giving a national platform to hateful views and voices” — isn’t rooted in reality. It’s just another instance of liberals labeling Republicans as racists.

    Something they’ve been doing effectively for decades.…

    This chilling effect has been exacerbated during the Obama presidency, as people have been afraid to criticize a black president because they don’t want to be called a racist.

    In 1968, a debate occurred at the Republican National Convention between conservative William Buckley and liberal Gore Vidal. The environment surrounding the convention and the debate was fraught with racial strife. Conflicts between police and blacks had Democrats accusing Republicans of racism, fascism, and neo-Nazism. Slanderous, malicious rhetoric was heavy in public dialogue.
    Sound familiar? While the degree of conflict changes, the essence of it doesn’t. Neither do the alarmist and exaggerated depictions of racism on the Right. This was evident to Buckley when, just before the debate began, ABC put on the screen images of “police brutality,” creating the impression that there was a “police state” in Chicago run by racist Republicans.

    Buckley challenged this assumption:

    There was no evidence of such a thing … It was all imagery.

    Any actual violations by police should be dealt with, Buckley said, and they should be held to account. However, he added:
    “Don’t do what’s happening in Chicago tonight, which is to infer from individual and despicable acts of violence a case for implicit totalitarianism in the American system.”

    This was the acrimonious environment in which the debate occurred, and Vidal used it to his advantage.

    Instead of delivering sound arguments, he resorted to personal attacks and threw a long list of accusations at his opponent, making it, as Buckley later complained, nearly impossible to counter with reasonable rebuttals. The debate then devolved into, as one reviewer wrote, “personal opprobrium” in which “nothing really was decided other than Buckley’s clear debating superiority.”

    The debate hit its lowest and most infamous point when Vidal called Buckley a “crypto-Nazi.”

    Buckley retorted with visible fury, unleashing a response that stunned everyone but Vidal himself:

    “Now listen, you queer. Stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in your goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered.”

    Vidal was pleased by the encounter. … Vidal, like all Leftists then and all Leftists now, had one goal, and it wasn’t debating fine points of policy. It was to portray Buckley — a prominent and influential conservative — as a hateful racist and a bigot.

    Buckley, of course, agonized over his ill-tempered reaction, and, in an effort to explain what happened, wrote a lengthy piece in Esquire called “On Experiencing Gore Vidal: Can there be any justification in calling a man a queer before ten million people on television?” … In that article, Buckley responded to a critique in Commentary magazine of his behavior in which the author said Vidal’s slur wasn’t personal but political:

    “One wonders how the editor of Commentary would have reacted if he had been called a crypto Nazi in the presence of a dozen million people. Would he take the position that that was merely a political charge, in a response to which one has no reason to lose one’s cool? If, in non-academic circumstances, you call a man a Nazi, are you evoking ethnocentric nationalism — or Buchenwald?”

    Buckley recognized at the time the seriousness of being labeled a Nazi.

    He saw how liberals were casting conservatism in that racist frame, and how it would be deadly to the conservative movement to let that label stick. His response was emotional because he knew being labeled in that way without responding or countering it had long-term consequences — and not just for himself but for conservatism, and for truth.

    To have been unmoved by what Vidal said, Buckley wrote, was a dangerous oversight:

    “[To] not perceive it at all — not even to be tempted to resentment — to accept it as the most ordinary thing in the world — argues a terrifying sensibility.”…“[The] absence of anger, especially that sort of anger which we call indignation, can in my opinion, be a most alarming symptom. “Even when that indignation passes into bitter personal vindictiveness, it may still be a good symptom, though bad in itself. It is a sin; but it at least shows that those who commit it have not sunk below the level at which the temptation to that sin exists — just as the sins (often quite appalling) of the great patriot or the great reformer point to something in him above mere self….

    Buckley was worried that slanderous, malignant rhetoric so easily expressed — something he called “rhetorical totalism” — made every slur, “every epithet” benign and acceptable:

    “It was commonplace at Chicago to call the police and the mayor Fascists and Nazis, and the country yawned. Everybody gets away with everything.”

    Not only do they get away with it, but they are unmoved by the labels:

    “I do not believe that anyone thought me a Nazi because Vidal called me one, but I do believe that everyone who heard him call me one without a sense of shock, without experiencing anger, thinks more tolerantly about Nazism than once he did, then even now he should. The more groups are labeled racist, the more people become accustomed to the language until true racism and Nazism are no longer understood or perceived. Real racists become indistinguishable from those who are only labeled as such.”

    Fast forward to just four years ago when squeaky clean Mitt Romney was running. Look at some of these headlines from 2012:

    “Nine most racist moments of the 2012 election”
    “As the Romney Campaign unskews, will the GOP’s Racist ID Take Over?”
    “Romney and the Deceptive Use of Racist Language”
    “Republicans are Racists…And they’re not shy about it”
    “White Racist Supporters Crushed When Mitt Romney Lost to Barack Obama”
    “The 10 Most Racist Moments of the GOP Primary (So Far)” …
    “The Republican Party is digging deep into the old bucket of white racism, using the politics of fear, hostility and anxiety to win over white voters.”

    And this is what is so despicable about the #NeverTrumpers, giving cover to Democrats they are employing the tactics of Gore Vidal, smearing, leaving just enough mud so that the next smear will leave a darker stain, and darker, and darker until there is an implicit assumption that people who think

    • That borders mean something and should be enforced,
    • That there is a culture war being waged and average Americans are losing it and their culture,
    • That your desire to be true to your Christian beliefs is illegal if it conflicts with the latest edicts by government officials,
    • That jobs are one of the things that give a man dignity and worth and we should re-think policies that ship jobs overseas,
    • That Islam is not a “Religion of Peace” and millions of good Muslims have no use for democracy and will kill infidels,
    • That mass migration is not something that should be encouraged by government policy,
    • That Making America Great Again is a good idea.

    … are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic and consigned to the basket of “deplorables” by some government functionary, perhaps by the weaponized IRS or the well armed Department of Homeland security so that if the time comes the trains can roll. Who says it can’t happen here? Germans were the must cultured people in the early 20th century. They just had a problem with of the people in their country. People like Hillary and the #NeverTrump contingent have a common enemy. No one gets up in the morning thinking “let’s do evil.”

    Like all good monsters, they believe they are doing God’s work. They exhibit a superior morality because you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

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