The "authentic" Hillary Clinton

 Caricature by DonkeyHotey

Caricature by DonkeyHotey


Unlike Patterico, I will link Politico:

The Strange Authenticity of Hillary Clinton

Read her book, and you realize she might have been the most authentic candidate out there—and maybe that was the problem.

By Jeff Greenfield | September 20, 2017

By now, you know the news nuggets from Hillary Clinton’s new campaign memoir, What Happened. You know that she blames herself for the most shocking upset in American political history, while indicting (in varying degrees of anger and exasperation) Bernie Sanders, James Comey, the New York Times, racism, cable news, sexism and Russia as co-conspirators.


No, I’m afraid that I don’t know that “she blames herself for the most shocking upset in American political history,” don’t know that in the slightest. This clip from NBC’s Today show, a live interview on September 13, 2017, shows that denial:

In case you missed it, the relevant passage was:

Matt Lauer: Did you make enough mistakes yourself to lose the election without any of the other things you talk about?

Hillary Clinton: Well, I will say no Matt.

It’s a bit difficult to take Mr Greenfield’s commentary seriously when he tells us, in his very first paragraph, something we all know is false.

You know that she was shellshocked for weeks after Election Day, turning to friends, yoga, inspirational homilies, her family and chardonnay, to ease herself back into the world.

Shell-shocked? The woman who claimed that she was ready for the 3:00 AM phone call, the one to told us that told us she was the one leader who had what it takes to get every part of the job done, was “shell-shocked for weeks?”¹

But the real headline to come out of this book — a far more engaging read than the pablum-rich account of her years as secretary of state, Hard Choices — is that she has definitively answered the question that has been asked about her for more than a quarter-century: Who is she?

All through her public life, Clinton has been hobbled by the label “inauthentic.” Her changing hairstyles, her choice of baseball teams, her circle-the-wagons approach to the press — they’ve all felt, to the public, like symptoms of the lack of a core. It’s almost as if Winston Churchill was anticipating her public persona when he proclaimed at a dinner table, “this pudding has no theme.” Her own loyal army of campaign aides seem to have been wrestling with this dilemma; the best-seller Shattered, the post-mortem of her presidential campaign, is filled with accounts of desperate attempts to find a slogan, a stump speech, a campaign ad, that could communicate the essential Hillary. And her primal fear of being distorted — a fear with some rational basis — has led her to approach every public utterance as if she was at the edge of a cliff. Longtime aide Patti Solis Doyle said last year, “You can see her think about the words coming out of her mouth, knowing she knows, ‘I have to be careful about what I say.’”

Her book suggests, though, that the person we’ve seen over the past quarter-century, and the person we watched seek the presidency twice, is the authentic Hillary. In fact, to judge by her book, she may have been the most authentic person in the race. The lengthy analysis of why voters behaved as they did, the detailed accounts of the programs she intended to pursue as president, the ways in which racism and misogyny played out in blatant and subtle forms, all paint the picture of a very smart, deeply engaged self-described “policy wonk,” who is consumed by the need to conquer problems with an army of data-driven policies, and whose instinctive resistance to visionary politics proved to be one of her biggest handicaps in her (presumably) last run.


Huh? Mr Greenfield tells us, in one paragraph, that Mrs Clinton has to be extremely careful in what she says, to provide no grist for the mill of criticism, yet in the next tells us that “she may have been the most authentic person in the race.” If she was “the most authentic person in the race,” why would “(h)er own loyal army of campaign aides” have been so perplexed in finding and communicating the “authentic Hillary?” If her loyal campaign aides, who have known her for years, if her own husband, couldn’t figure out who she was, and how to present, “the most authentic person in the race,” how are we to ever believe that she was?

Well, thanks to her book tour, we have seen the authentic Hillary Clinton. The Hillary Clinton who, for years, has been derided as never taking responsibility for failure, has spent the last several weeks blaming everyone but herself. Oh, sure, she has made the obligatory ‘I made mistakes’ statement, right before launching into blaming everyone else.

But the temperature of the book really rises on two fronts: when she recounts, with specificity unlike any political memoir I’ve read, precisely how and why she believes she was wronged, and when she revisits the ideas she had intended to offer as president.

“How and why she believes she was wronged.” Now that is the authentic Hillary Clinton, the one we see in the innumerable video clips from her book tour, where she is blaming everybody else for her loss. We were told, over and over and over again, that it was her race to lose, that Donald Trump had no path to victory, yet she still lost it.


And that is the key to understanding the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee: deeply down, she truly believed that the White House was hers, that she was owed the election victory, it was her f(ornicating) turn, damn it, and in losing the election she was not just beaten by a political neophyte, but wronged, wronged by James Comey and Matt Lauer and The New York Times and the white women who were supposed to vote with their genitals rather than their brainsthey “disrespected themselves,” don’t you know — the “basket of deplorables, and husbands and boyfriends telling their wives and girlfriends that there’s no sense wasting their votes on her, she’s going to be in jail.

Mr Greenfield was wrong. As much as Mrs Clinton and her campaign tried to hide it, Americans did know the “authentic” Hillary Clinton, and that is why she lost.
Cross-posted on The First Street Journal.
¹ – With some irony, the next Youtube that came on my computer while getting the link for the second add was Richard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries. That was picked due to my playlist.


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