September 6, 2017
She still doesn’t get it.
In her forthcoming memoir ‘What Happened” (out Tuesday), Hillary Clinton takes perfunctory responsibility for losing the election before spending nearly 500 pages blaming: Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, “rash FBI director” James Comey, Barack Obama, the Russians, sexism and, finally, the American people for not liking her enough.
Sanders, she writes, had the gall to run against her even though he’s not a Democrat.
“That’s not a smear, that’s what he says,” she writes. “He didn’t get into the race to make sure a Democrat won the White House, he got in to disrupt the Democratic Party.”
Clinton bemoans the sexism among “Bernie bros” and claims a causal link between Sanders’ campaign and Trump’s win. “Some of his supporters . . . took to harassing my supporters online,” she writes. “It got ugly and more than a little sexist.” Such attacks, she claims, “caused lasting damage, making it harder to unify progressives in the general election and paving the way for Trump’s ‘Crooked Hillary’ campaign.”
Obama, she says, was no help, telling her “to grit my teeth and lay off Bernie as much as I could. I felt like I was in a straitjacket.”
Sanders, like so many leading Dems, has no sympathy.
“My response is that right now it’s appropriate to look forward and not backward,” he told The Hill. Left unmentioned was collusion between Clinton’s team and the DNC to oust Sanders from the primary and depict his campaign as “a mess” to reporters. These revelations, contained in a 2016 WikiLeaks dump, led to the immediate resignation of DNC chair and Clinton supporter Debbie Wasserman Schulz.
Yet to read leaked excerpts from Clinton’s book, you’d never know her campaign was secretly manipulating party apparatus, or that she had a $150 million war chest (twice Trump’s), or that she had the backing of mega-stars from Bruce Springsteen to Beyoncé to Oprah, or that the media largely depicted her rival as a complete buffoon with zero chance of winning, or that the Justice Department laid off even though her husband privately met with then-US Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the midst of the FBI email investigation.
No, Hillary Clinton had no such advantages. The subtext here — and the reason she was such an epically bad two-time candidate — is that we should feel sorry for her, not the other way around. It’s the problem with her campaign writ large: At a time when millions of Americans were economically hurting and afraid of being left behind, she thought “I’m With Her” was a galvanizing slogan. If anything, it should have been “She’s With Us.”
But such is her narcissism, blinding Clinton to what most Americans saw: not a campaign but the would-be coronation of someone thoroughly convinced it was her turn.
The Democratic Party has made it clear they want Hillary to stop whining and go away. “When you lose to somebody who has 40% popularity, you don’t blame other things,” Chuck Schumer told the Washington Post in July. “What did we do wrong? People didn’t know what we stood for, just that we were against Trump.” Elizabeth Warren told USA Today that Clinton lost because “our side hadn’t closed the deal” when it came to reaching struggling Americans. Joe Biden, at a SALT conference in Vegas last May: “I never thought she was a great candidate.”
As is her way, Hillary will not brook criticism or search within to course-correct. Long a multimillionaire, Clinton — who writes that it was “bad optics” to accept huge speaking fees from Wall Street — is charging $3,000 for a “platinum VIP ticket” on her book tour. As for other blunders: She says she couldn’t confront Trump as he lurked behind her at a debate because she’d look weak, not because when most people think “Hillary Clinton” and “sexual predator,” Bill comes to mind. Nor is she as stiff and fake as people think, even though she writes that shetook a nap on Election Night as the electoral map and her place in world history cratered around her. Even the famously cool Obama would never make such a claim.
Toward the end of her memoir, Hillary concludes that the problem is ultimately not her but us. Mull that as you shell out $30 for a book and $89 — minimum — for a tour ticket.
“What makes me such a lightning rod for fury?” she writes. “I’m really asking. I’m at a loss.”
As are the Dems and an exhausted electorate — yet here, too, Hillary won’t listen, writing that she’ll stay in public life and refusing to rule out a 2020 run.
“There were plenty of people hoping that I, too, would just disappear,” she writes. “But here I am.”