Barack Obama, who some of you might remember was president of the United States, has written two memoirs. Hillary Clinton, who was not president, will have her third memoir hit bookstores this week. In this latest volume, titled “What Happened,” the former Secretary of State explains what happened to her plans to become the first female president of the United States. Without having read it I will hazard the prediction that sales, especially of audiobooks, will be flat.
As with any author hoping to rank high on the New York Times’ bestseller’s list, Clinton is giving press interviews now to generate interest in the book. Her first TV interview was with CBS’ Jane Pauley. In it, the former Secretary of State says she “accepts responsibility” for her loss, but emphasizes her victimhood and is quick to blame former FBI Director James Comey for keeping the email story alive, Bernie Sanders for fueling unrealistic expectations among young Democrats, the Russians for meddling in the campaign on behalf of Trump, sexism for keeping men from supporting her, and Trump himself for running his campaign like a reality show.
In an interview with USA Today, Clinton said she’s “convinced of it,” when asked if there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.
She doesn’t accuse Trump of that collusion personally, putting the responsibility on unnamed staffers. She grudgingly acknowledges “the ‘bad optics’ of delivering high-priced Wall Street speeches, the inartful rhetoric coal miners saw as an attack on their livelihood, and the ‘boneheaded mistake’ when she decided to use a private email server as Secretary of State.” But USA Today also heard her criticism of James Comey: “He shivved me,” she says.
Writing about “What Happened” in the NY Times this week, Jennifer Senior calls the book “a candid and blackly funny account of her mood in the direct aftermath of losing to Donald J. Trump.” Senior writes it’s “wearying, canned and disingenuous, spinning events like a top,” and noting it doesn’t offer any “new hypotheses about what doomed Clinton’s campaign.” Senior, too, notes Clinton’s repeated emphasis on the damage done by former FBI Director Comey.
The Democratic presidential candidate acknowledges shortcomings in her campaign, like not spending time campaigning in Michigan, and accepts blame for those decisions. What she never seems to acknowledge, however, is she wasn’t an attractive candidate, coming across to voters as regal, entitled and grasping.
Clinton also blames the “godforsaken electoral college” for her loss, pointing to her 3 million vote popular advantage and saying “maybe we need to reconsider the electoral college.” That has to be the height of disingenuousness on her part: The electoral college is two centuries old and she has been involved in presidential politics for more than 50 years as a campaign worker, wife of a candidate, and candidate. The Presidential Oath of Office includes the words “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution,” which in Article II describes and defines the electoral college. The truth is, she took for granted the electoral votes of New England states, California, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Even her husband cautioned against that assumption.
And she continues to blame misogyny and sexism for her loss, though Senior notes, “It’s hard to buy the idea that she suffered disproportionately from charges of untrustworthiness or inauthenticity simply because she was a woman.” Senior concludes with the observation both Mitt Romney and John Kerry “were regarded as catastrophically insincere.”
Clinton told Jane Pauley she would remain “politically active” but never again be a candidate.
Many Democrats and Republicans alike will be glad to hear that.
Fred LaSor, who lives in the Carson Valley, was as surprised as Hillary Clinton by her loss. He does not, however, accept her victimhood.