Hillary Clinton’s campaign retrospective, What Happened, provides an in-depth look into a selfish, self-serving, hypocritical, and morally clueless person.
Believe it or not, I have been reading Hillary Clinton’s What Happened, in which she presents her take on why she lost her campaign to become president of the United States. I didn’t spend money on it, mind you. My library had it available for download, so I downloaded it.
Having now read some 12%, I can say that the book is vintage Hillary, a toxic combination of ambition, distraction, uglification, and derision, all told with a cutesy venom that is simultaneously nauseating and boring. It’s like watching the job interview from Hell, the one in the interviewer asks the interviewee to explain some peculiarities in the resume and to answer that hated question: “What are your greatest weaknesses?”
After lying about the resume, the interviewee from Hell gets to that dreaded question. As you know, because all of you have prepped for that question, the expected answer is something along the lines of, “My greatest weakness is that I simply don’t know when to stop working. I need to remember that it’s just not fair to do the work of 12 people better and more cheaply than they could do put together.” That type of answer is Hillary all over — boastful, smarmy, and manifestly dishonest.
Oh, and there’s the hypocrisy. On the one hand, Hillary keeps attacking Trump for being divisive and presenting herself as a partisan healer. On the other hand, for Hillary, the vast right-wing conspiracy lives on. Republicans are evil, duplicitous, mean-spirited and, really, the world isn’t meant for one as beautiful as Hillary. She’s the Van Gogh of the American political scene, a visionary who inspires not only love from her enlightened (but too lazy to vote) acolytes, but the hateful derision of the deplorably evil and uninformed.
Much of the book also reads like a political speech from a 1940s Hollywood movie. You know those speeches. That was the time when Hollywood genuinely tried to appear bipartisan in order to bring in the widest paying audience possible — and in order to cement a core American identity. Hollywood writers were adept, in movies about politicians, at writing meaningless speeches with feel-good statements about American greatness, better economies, strong national security, and cute little boys and girls in their beds at night. Hillary does the same.
The book is also saggy because the reader is in the head of a women who self-consciously believes her every move and thought has relevance for the betterment of the world. She cycles endlessly between several different personas: vapid political philosopher, saccharine grandmother, poison spitting partisan and, always, a woman who’s Pollyanna optimism leads to her being used and abused by a variety of (mostly right-wing) people blind to the purity of her motives and actions.
That’s the general tone of the first 12% and I seriously doubt that the remaining 88% will offer anything different. However, since I’d just started this tome, as a read, I highlighted several passages that I thought were illuminating or amusing, so I’ll share them with you here.
Hillary says, nicely enough, that George H. W. Bush and Barbara were incredibly gracious as they transferred the White House to her and Bill. Hillary then boasts: “We did our best to show the same graciousness to George W. and Laura eight years later.”
I had to laugh at that because I vividly remember (a) that the Clintons’ staff trashed the West Wing in advance of Dubya’s advent (including taking “W” keys off the computer keyboards), a type of venom within a two-party democracy that reflects miserably failed leadership from within the White House itself; and (b) that the Clinton’s were a little too generous in packing, and managed to take significant amounts of White House property with them when they left, something even the Clinton-friendly Snopes site can’t quite gloss over. Gracious indeed.
Moving on from that self-serving comment, Hillary launches the first of her regular attacks against the evil Trump. Attack one is to repeat the canard that Trump called all Mexican immigrants racists and drug dealers:
I thought it was important to call him out for his bigotry, which I did early and often, starting when he called Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers the day he announced his candidacy. (What Happened (Kindle Locations 152-153).)
In fact, Trump was very careful about what he said. He most certainly did not call all Mexicans rapists and drug dealers. He did note accurately enough that, because illegal aliens deny the American government the sovereign’s right to vet people who enter the country, the Mexican government has taken advantage of that fact to rid itself of dead weight and criminals (who impliedly inhabit all places and cultures):
It’s true, and these are the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.
But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people.
Not racism, but common sense about what happens when one country abandons its border and the other country senses an opportunity.
Hillary also expresses shock that women would vote for a man who boasted about multiple sexual assaults. I guess her husband gets a pass because he committed the assaults but was smart enough not to boast about them later. As it is, people like me who have actually watched and listened to the audiotape will quickly realize that Trump never admitted anything. Playing along with Bill Bush’s locker-room chatter, he simply notes, accurately enough, that with some women, very rich or powerful men can get away with anything. Bill Clinton would agree.
I can’t decide if Hillary is a hypocrite or an idiot when she describes her take on Trump’s inaugural speech. Remember as you read it that the person making this observation is the same person who called half of Americans “deplorable”:
The new President’s speech was dark and dystopian. I heard it as a howl straight from the white nationalist gut. Its most memorable line was about “American carnage,” a startling phrase more suited to a slasher film than an inaugural address. Trump painted a picture of a bitter, broken country I didn’t recognize. (What Happened (Kindle Locations 160-163).)
A few pages later, Hillary doubles down on her charitable view of the country, by insisting that, when Trump went low, she went high. She assures the reader that would never stoke rage or resentment — or insult American voters:
But I couldn’t—and wouldn’t—compete to stoke people’s rage and resentment. I think that’s dangerous. It helps leaders who want to take advantage of that rage to hurt people rather than help them. Besides, it’s just not how I’m wired. (What Happened (Kindle Locations 200-202).)
You know, I’m pretty sure that calling half of Americans irredeemably evil ranks right up there with the best when it comes to “paint[ing] a picture of a bitter, broken country.” I’m also pretty sure that her savage attacks against coal miners, white people, conservatives, etc., all evil people trying to profit at the expenses of the various Leftist victim classes, went a long way to stoke rage and resentment. Again, was Hillary being a hypocrite when she wrote those words or is she so lacking in insight that she is incapable of being honest about her own conduct?
And then there’s . . . . Well, honestly, I laughed aloud when I read this sentence: “Listening to Trump, it almost felt like there was no such thing as truth anymore.” What Happened (Kindle Locations 173-174). Projection much, Hillary?
Hillary often speaks about Bill’s practical and moral support. That doesn’t stop her from a little vicious back-stabbing. Bill, she says, doesn’t handle defeat half as well as she does — a funny thing for her to say after one has read pages and pages and pages of her practically orgiastic wallow in depression and defeat:
I remember when Bill lost his reelection as Governor of Arkansas in 1980. He was so distraught at the outcome that I had to go to the hotel where the election night party was held to speak to his supporters on his behalf. For a good while afterward, he was so depressed that he practically couldn’t get off the floor. That’s not me. I keep going. I also stew and ruminate. I run through the tape over and over, identifying every mistake—especially those made by me. When I feel wronged, I get mad, and then I think about how to fight back. (What Happened (Kindle Locations 321-325).)
Speaking of Democrat defeats, Hillary does her usual historic revisionism. She tries to buoy her disheartened team up by reminding them of other historic Democrat defeats before the great Clinton Democrat revival in 1992:
I reminded them about the losing campaigns I’d worked on in my twenties, including Gene McCarthy in the 1968 Democratic primaries and George McGovern in 1972—and the beatings Democrats took until everything changed in ’92. (What Happened (Kindle Locations 365-366).)
President Carter, the one-termer who presided over four years of economic despair and serial humiliation at our enemies’ hands, could not be reached for comment about his exclusion from this list of political failures.
Moving on, when expressing her horror that Steve Bannon sullied the White House with his presence, Hillary self-righteously proclaims that “The White House is sacred ground.” What Happened (Kindle Location 369).
Maybe I’m doing some revisionism of my own, but I pretty sure Hillary and Bill didn’t seem to think the White House was so sacred when they were receiving favors and money in exchange for letting people spend nights in the Lincoln bedroom. I also find it difficult to reconcile this reverence for a sacred White House when Bill used the Oval Office as a place for trysts with a 21-year-old intern. (I did a great Freudian typo there, that I quickly corrected, calling Bill’s rendezvous spot the “Oral Office.”)
It’s worth pointing out that Hillary quotes T.S. Eliot twice. Now that we’re tearing figures from history down because of their failure to meet modern values — and we’re tarring by association those who look to such historic figures — it behooves me to note that T.S. Eliot was a disgusting antisemite. Hillary also quotes George Bernard Shaw, a eugenicist who supported Hitler’s brutal efforts at racial purification.
Given Hillary’s hostility to Israel and reverence for Eliot, as well as her support for Planned Parenthood and her appreciation of Shaw, I think the Leftist guilt by association approach to things makes it clear that Hillary is an antisemite who supports eugenics. Reductio ad Hitlerum right here, folks. I rest my case.
Moving along to Hillary’s assurance that she was a spectacular Secretary of State (no details are necessary to support this obvious conclusion), Hillary throws in a perfect Fox Butterfield (emphasis mine):
Despite the administration’s best efforts, the economic recovery was still anemic, with wages and real incomes stagnating for most Americans. (What Happened (Kindle Locations 684-685).)
Oh, if you’re wondering what Hillary thinks of you, she spells it out. Hillary explains that Obama practically begged her to run so as to preserve his legacy (a legacy, she admits, included a stagnant economy and ISIS) in the face of absolute evil. That absolute evil bit, that’s you, the conservative:
We both saw ourselves as pragmatic progressives trying to move the country forward in the face of implacable opposition from a Republican Party that had been taken over by the radical-conservative Tea Party fringe and was in thrall to its billionaire backers. (What Happened (Kindle Locations 752-754).)
My dear, deplorable friends, you are the radical conservative Tea Party fringe, used by unsavory billionaires, to force onto America your despicable goal of smaller government and greater individual liberty. If that’s not fascism as Google defines it, I don’t know what is.
Oh, and just so you know, that’s not just Hillary describing you as awful. That’s science:
I knew that Republicans had moved much further from the vital center of American politics than Democrats had, as nonpartisan political scientists have documented. (What Happened (Kindle Locations 790-791).)
I don’t know about you, but that last clause, the one about “nonpartisan political scientists,” resonates with me just as strongly as if Hillary had said, “People Magazine has proven this to be true.”
By the time I got to the above quotation, I think I’d read the word “I” eight thousand billion times. Hillary has shared with us her every move, thought, virtue, decision, and victim moment, narrating herself from the inside out. Apparently, before running for president, she had problems with the word “I” (emphasis mine):
I’m a lot better than I’m usually given credit for, but it’s true that I’ve always been more comfortable talking about others rather than myself. That made me an effective political spouse, surrogate, and officeholder, but I had to adjust when I became a candidate myself. At the beginning, I had to actively try to use the word I more. (What Happened (Kindle Locations 764-766).)
Hillary, whatever else people say about you, they all admit that you study hard and practice a lot. And I’ve got to say, you’ve really mastered how to use the word “I.” Even Obama couldn’t do better.
The delusions that underpin this book continue when Hillary says it was really impossible to conceive of herself losing to a man as reprehensible as Trump:
Before 2016, we’d never elected a President who flagrantly refused to abide by the basic standards of democracy and decency. (What Happened (Kindle Locations 795-796).)
I laughed so hard when I read that sentence that I frightened my dogs. I mean, I was wheezing and snorting with laughter. I looked like Ed Wynn in the tea-party-on-the-ceiling scene in Mary Poppins. Coming from the woman married Bill Clinton, rapist, assaulter, perjurer, despoiler of young women; and Secretary of State to Barack “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone” Obama, reading Hillary’s defense of all presidencies before Trump’s was like being sucked down the rabbit hole and getting beaten about the head by both the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. Incidentally, I defy anyone to point to a moment when Donald Trump has acted unconstitutionally.
I don’t promise to have more posts like this. The fact is that Hillary’s What Happened is an exhausting read. It’s as if she opened up the top of her head and just let spill the self-involvement; the paranoia; the anger; the fascination with her own innumerable, swottish virtues and boring wonkishness; and the spectacular lack of insight into what political forces possibly have destroyed her candidacy and knee-capped Democrat candidates throughout America. As to this last point, hard Left policy positions are inviolable. The problem isn’t the ideas. It’s that she and her fellow Democrats (especially the others, rather than herself) just didn’t communicate well-enough, inspire hard enough, or fight back strongly enough.
This absence of serious self-reflection bodes well for Republicans in 2020, and that’s true despite the fact that our current crop of Republicans in Congress is, for the most part, absolutely pathetic. Paul Ryan et al will bark as long as there’s a fence protecting them and, when it’s gone, they run away with their tails between the legs (probably going back home to pee on their owners’ legs):
I’ll wrap up here by printing in full size the photo that appears at the top of the post. You need to see a large version to appreciate Mark Simone’s comment: