April 18, 2017

I've been avoiding talking about "Shattered" — the new book about Hillary Clinton's failed campaign — because...

... the excerpts I saw were written in such a pulpy, trashy style.
"She had let him down. She had let herself down. She had let her party down. And she had let her country down. Obama’s legacy and her dreams of the Presidency lay shattered at Donald Trump’s feet. This was on her. Reluctantly she rose from her seat and took the phone. ‘Mr President,’ she said softly. ‘I’m sorry.’"
Yeesh. It's like a bad young-adult book.

But the NYT has given “Shattered,” by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, the dignity of a Michiko Kakutani review, and I will read that. One significant thing I learn is that Allen and Parnes had some good sources:
Allen and Parnes are the authors of a 2014 book, “H R C,” a largely sympathetic portrait of Clinton’s years as secretary of state, and this book reflects their access to longtime residents of Clinton’s circle. They interviewed more than a hundred sources on background — with the promise that none of the material they gathered would appear before the election — and while it’s clear that some of these people are spinning blame retroactively, many are surprisingly candid about the frustrations they experienced during the campaign.
And there's a lot of blaming of Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook. He relied on "data analytics," he "underestimat[ed] Sanders," he "fail[ed] to put enough organizers on the ground," and — after the primary season ended — he "declined to use pollsters to track voter preferences in the final three weeks of the campaign." Okay. Is that really such a big deal?

Here's Kakutani's last paragraph:
In chronicling these missteps, “Shattered” creates a picture of a shockingly inept campaign hobbled by hubris and unforced errors, and haunted by a sense of self-pity and doom, summed up in one Clinton aide’s mantra throughout the campaign: “We’re not allowed to have nice things.”
There's something bland about this review. It doesn't get at what I want to know which is why the book is taken seriously as something special, something other than a rehash of a lot of stuff we already know. The review seems to offer up exactly the language the authors can use to promote the book. What I want to know is: Why give this book a big lofting?

If I had to sketch out a theory, it would be that the Russians-stole-the-election meme is flagging and something else is needed to support the theory that Trump is not a legitimate President. But what is this collection of details from the story of the Clinton campaign? It strikes me as me as pretty normal — typical of campaigns (even winning ones) — and not the "Titanic-like disaster... epic fail" Kakutani says the book depicts.

I certainly think Clinton was bad, but Trump was also pretty bad in a lot of ways. Personally, I've digested the results. Trump won. I'm not buying the theory that Clinton was epically bad anymore than I think Trump is a monster.

86 comments:

tim in vermont said...

Gypsy Rose Lee's mom said at the end of the movie, "Why does everybody leave me?" She honestly had no clue that everybody left her because she was an overbearing control freak who turned her own beautiful daughter into a stripper. Well, these guys just can't admit that America saw Hillary for exactly what she is, and rejected her.

ddh said...

"What I want to know is: Why give this book a big lofting?"

It's part of the Kubler-Ross process. Having gone through denial, anger, and bargaining, progressives are moving into depression, the last step before acceptance.

Rick Turley said...

Customer review summary just now at Amazon. Sort of says it all.

5 star
38%
4 star
8%
3 star
12%
2 star
0%
1 star
42%

n.n said...

"fail[ed] to put enough organizers on the ground,"

CAIR and a nonviable presidential campaign have the same first-order causes. Poetic.

fivewheels said...

I don't know, Clinton might be pretty epically bad. I mean, she screwed up her shot at health care, she screwed up her 2008 campaign (remember the problem with proportional representation and not even knowing the primary rules?) and she screwed up this campaign (by ignoring important states and running on personality instead of issues, when her personality is terrible). Other than partisan blindness, there is no argument for her competence. She's absolutely a horror, a walking disaster when speaking extemporaneously (baking cookies, Gandhi in a Qwik-E-Mart, sniper fire). Her one win ever was a Senate campaign against a literal second-stringer after Giuliani dropped out.

She's really, really dreadful, buoyed only by the liberal identity politics that sees the name Clinton and the gender Not-Male and thereby assumes worthiness in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

Mark said...

"She had let him down. She had let herself down. She had let her party down. And she had let her country down. Obama’s legacy and her dreams of the Presidency lay shattered at Donald Trump’s feet. This was on her. Reluctantly she rose from her seat and took the phone. ‘Mr President,’ she said softly. ‘I’m sorry.’"

Not buying any of this. They did not so much as write this, as they simply took the page and wiped with it.

gadfly said...

Whatever the book says, it is fiction. So just as the Trump Trolls should not depend on "Art of the Deal" to really identify any managerial skills or talents present in Trump's juvenile mind, Democrats looking to find a scapegoat just need a mirror, since opposition was limited to Burning Bernie.

AllenS said...

After Hillary "wiped her server clean like with a cloth" where did the authors get their information for the book?

Owen said...

Thank you, Professor A, for doing the dirty work here. I cannot imagine reading a review of the book, let alone the book itself. Here, at what I hope is a safe distance (the Geiger counter is ticking over, not going wild), I can only suggest that the book's purpose is not to vindicate, not to rehabilitate, but simply to help squeeze as much cash as possible out of this beached hulk. The scavengers will be stripping it for years --like the Kennedy Legend but even tackier-- and this was just the first load of goodies; the least-rotten and the shiniest chunks.

buwaya said...

"Why give this book a big lofting?"

Not read it (yet), but to be fair, the authors seem to have had a great deal of inside access.
So you would be getting, presumably, a dose of the water-cooler commentary of that enterprise.
Thats worth something as a primary historical source.

"the book's purpose is not to vindicate, not to rehabilitate, but simply to help squeeze as much cash as possible out of this beached hulk."

Yes, of course. The authors seem to be Clinton scribes and they must look to making a living now that there is a lesser prospect for related sources of income.

Saint Croix said...

"She had let him down. She had let herself down. She had let her party down. And she had let her country down. Obama’s legacy and her dreams of the Presidency lay shattered at Donald Trump’s feet. This was on her. Reluctantly she rose from her seat and took the phone. ‘Mr President,’ she said softly. ‘I’m sorry.’"

It's so out of character for Hillary Clinton to speak softly, or apologize, or accept the blame for anything. It's hard to believe any of this happened in real time.

I would need to have multiple witnesses (including some Republicans!) before I would even think for a minute that this conversation actually happened. The whole thing sounds like a complete fantasy construct.

My working theory is that the Clintons are spinning the election results, trying to set up a "comeback kid" scenario. They probably ran all sorts of data-driven analysis on why so many white women voted against Hillary Clinton.

"Too bitchy."

"Too mean."

"Too angry."

"Too harsh."

"She's not very nice."

"She's not authentic."

"It's all a game to achieve power."

Etc. Etc.

Then after they got the results of what happened, they are now trying to reboot the program. She's soft! She cries in private! She feels bad! She blames herself!

I don't know about the book, haven't read it. But that "excerpt" provided to the NYT is intentional spin by the Clintons to make Hillary seem more likable. She takes all the blame! What a sacrifice! What a wounded warrior!

And, yes, Bill Clinton's fingerprints are all over this.

buwaya said...

" where did the authors get their information for the book?"

Apparently interviews with many of the participants.

The Godfather said...

It wasn't Hillary's fault. She's a great candidate and will make a great president. She needs to start her 2020 run NOW. Huma can run the pre-campaign and be the real boss of the main campaign. Slogan: Really Really Really Ready For Her! I'm praying really hard for this.

buwaya said...

There are categories of books of this nature, the first person accounts of famous persons courtiers collaborators and acquaintances.

This one just seems to aggregate the memoirs of several persons into one.

For more famous people you can get whole libraries of these things.

https://tinyurl.com/n8xbh8c

AprilApple said...

Lifted from ACE

Moving blow-by-blow from the campaign's difficult birth through the bewildering terror of election night, Shattered tells an unforgettable story with urgent lessons both political and personal, filled with revelations that will change the way readers understand just what happened to America on November 8, 2016."


Reality:
"I would point out to whoever wrote this Amazon blurb that one man's "bewildering terror" is another's "exhilirating joy." The kind of joy you experience when the doctor tells you that your spouse's stage-4 cancer has suddenly gone into remission. That's what the night of Nov. 8, 2016 felt like to normal Americans."

Saint Croix said...

Of course the Clintons can't control the book or what it ultimately says.

But the parts they can control are so-called "private" conversations between Hillary and Bill or Hillary and Obama, one-on-one conversations.

If Obama denies it, Hillary can deny it too, and then the whole book is toast.

Or Obama can tacitly agrees that Hillary is this sweet wonderful person in private who feels so deeply and tries so hard and is so respectful of him and his authority.

They spin it as best they can, and throw in a bunch of lies, and if enough lies get into the book, then whatever damaging truth is in the book can be disparaged. Or, if all the lies are taken as truth, at least the lies might improve her standing with white women. Which is an important part of the Democrat base and she lost that base. To Donald Trump! It's shocking, truly.

Gretchen said...

I hope the Democrats keep on believing she was a fabulous candidate, although she had the adoration of the media and Hollywood, collusion from the DNC to kneecap Bernie, it was the Russians, the media, her advisors, etc. that were the problem,.

The problem is that is is unlikeable, and she ran on :I'm with HER" and Trump ran on making the country great.

Saint Croix said...

Also it's entirely possible Bill did this without Hillary's knowledge or consent. He does a lot of things without her knowledge or consent.

From the NYT review...

A passive-aggressive campaign that neglected to act on warning flares sent up by Democratic operatives on the ground in crucial swing states, and that ignored the advice of the candidate’s husband, former President Bill Clinton

Listen to Bill! Listen to Bill. Oh if only I had listened to Bill. I am a beautiful wounded warrior woman and next time I will listen to my wise spouse, Bill Clinton.

I can imagine Hillary throwing a vase or a lamp at Bill's head, while he's yelling, "It'll work, I swear!"

vanderleun said...

" I'm not buying the theory that Clinton was epically bad anymore than I think Trump is a monster."

So fair. So balanced. One hears such sounds, and what can one say but... Salieri!

David Begley said...

Mook will be the scapegoat.

But why didn't Bill make Hillary show up in WI and MI? Her campaign spent more time and money chasing a single Electoral College vote in Nebraska than in Wisconsin and Michigan. Idiots. And thank God for that.

Matthew Sablan said...

Reading the excerpts I can't tell if the authors are sympathetic or reveling.

AprilApple said...

Someone should write a book and call it "Clinton Fatigue. Haz Gotz its."

Mary Beth said...

She lost, why won't she go away? Doesn't she have any friends with superyachts?

D said...

Would, at this point, holding a symbolic inauguration help? Maybe there's a checkbox form for that, somewhere

wildswan said...

This book (as reviewed) doesn't cover what must have been tense discussions over whether Hillary should concede. Why was there a complete blackout from Hillary headquarters starting about 9 or 10 o'clock? Why did Hillary think differently from Bill on whether the election was lost? Why did she first decide to wait till the next day or then change her mind ten minutes later after Obama called.

That call from Obama is quite important. It seems to me that Obama called because after Podesta spoke Trump decided not to wait till the next day for Hillary or the media - both were simply stalling. Trump was elected by the American people and he didn't need to get Hillary's approval - or the media's acknowledgment of that fact. He simply set out to give his victory speech and then Hillary received a frantic call from Obama telling her to concede and she listened to him and got her concession in before Trump began speaking. But why did Obama call? Why did Hillary listen? Was it really Hillary? or was she drunk on the floor, as some say, unable to make decisions and so some one else spoke to Trump, ending an impasse? The book doesn't seem to answer the main questions about A Night To Remember.

Chuck said...

Martha MacCallum just had both authors on her FNC program. She pressed them, and later a panel including the talented pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, on the essential question of whether Clinton was really so bad, or whether Trump was a phenomenon that was just unstoppable.

That's an easy one. And Michigan is the perfect testing laboratory. Trump won Michigan by a little more than 10,000 votes. The closest presidential election in state history. And the Clinton strategy all over had ignored the idea of selling her to independents; the strategy was to rely on analytics to get the maximum turnout among reliable Democrat voters.

And they blew it. In overwhelmingly-Democratic Wayne County, Michigan, there were 130,000 fewer voters who turned out in 2016 compared to 2012.

Trump was not an unbeatable force. Hillary was a terrible candidate. As Chris Stirewalt noted, Hillary is guilty of not just one bad presidential campaign; she led twodisastrously bad campaigns.

Michael K said...

This book was rushed to print to be first. It has the advantage of interviews but later books will have better analysis.,

AReasonableMan said...

I am actually pretty comfortable with the idea that Clinton was epically bad. She was indefensible for a broad swathe of the left.

Henry said...

I agree completely with our Reasonable Man.

In defense of Mook, I suspect that behind his reliance of analytics was the knowledge that "this tedious old fraud doesn't campaign well."

Lucien said...

Sheesh, it's not like she got Mondale-ish results. A couple of close states going her way and she would have won. It was reasonably close.

Bob Boyd said...

Love and hope and sex and dreams
Are still surviving on the street

Drago said...

"lifelong republican" Chuck: "That's an easy one."

LOL

It's always easy....after the fact!

"lifelong republican" Chuck, the most accurate prognosticator of events AFTER the events have taken place!

Earnest Prole said...

It strikes me as me as pretty normal — typical of campaigns (even winning ones)

For the book to be published today, the vast majority of it would have been written before the election.

Drago said...

Mary Beth: "She lost, why won't she go away? Doesn't she have any friends with superyachts?"

Gotta keep the machine cranked up for Chelsea who will be the next Clinton "juggernaut" that will impress dems/left/"lifelong republicans".

Mattman26 said...

"a shockingly inept campaign hobbled by hubris and unforced errors, and haunted by a sense of self-pity and doom"

Sounds like the makings of a great President!

MayBee said...

Why should Hillary apologize to Obama??????

glenn said...

And worst of all she didn't have the "Next Time it Might be Meeee" mantra that carried BJ into the White House. Runs deep with the Boomer chicks.

Jack Wayne said...

" I'm not buying the theory that Clinton was epically bad anymore than I think Trump is a monster." This is the quintessential position of a moderate. And why they shouldn't be allowed to vote.

urbane legend said...

Bob Boyd said...
Love and hope and sex and dreams
Are still surviving on the street

Hillary and hope I get, but love and sex and dreams? Irony, right? :-)

Otto said...

Here is the reason why hillary failed - socialist platform . It had failed the last 3/4 of a century, has failed under obama and people are starting to catch on..

AReasonableMan said...

Andrew Sullivan said...
"Clinton herself duly emerged last week for a fawning, rapturous reception at the Women in the World conference in New York City. It simply amazes me the hold this family still has on the Democratic Party — and on liberals in general. The most popular question that came from interviewer Nick Kristof’s social-media outreach, for example, was: “Are you doing okay?” Here’s Michelle Goldberg: “I find myself wondering at odd times of the day and night: How is Hillary? Is she going to be all right?” Seriously, can you imagine anyone wondering the same after Walter Mondale or Michael Dukakis or John Kerry blew elections?

And everywhere you see not an excoriation of one of the worst campaigns in recent history, leading to the Trump nightmare, but an attempt to blame anyone or anything but Clinton herself for the epic fail. It wasn’t Clinton’s fault, we’re told. It never is. It was the voters’ — those ungrateful, deplorable know-nothings! Their sexism defeated her (despite a majority of white women voting for Trump). A wave of misogyny defeated her (ditto). James Comey is to blame. Bernie Sanders’s campaign — because it highlighted her enmeshment with Wall Street, her brain-dead interventionism and her rapacious money-grubbing since she left the State Department — was the problem. Millennial feminists were guilty as well, for not seeing what an amazing crusader for their cause this candidate was.

Clinton had the backing of the entire Democratic establishment, including the president (his biggest mistake in eight years by far). As in 2008, when she managed to lose to a neophyte whose middle name was Hussein, everything was stacked in her favor. In fact, the Clintons so intimidated other potential candidates and donors, she had the nomination all but wrapped up before she even started. And yet she was so bad a candidate, she still only managed to squeak through in the primaries against an elderly, stopped-clock socialist who wasn’t even in her party, and who spent his honeymoon in the Soviet Union."

Bob Boyd said...

"Hillary wasn't epically bad..."

True. Hers was a tedious, broad spectrum suckiness of the most ordinary kind.

And I don't think her dreams were exactly shattered.

More like she obstinately marched her dreams into deepening mud until they lost all forward momentum. There, hip deep, her dreams struggled, lost their shoes, wailed pitifully for a time, collapsed and lay grunting and wheezing, unable to rise.

But that's too long for a book title.

Kathryn51 said...

“We’re not allowed to have nice things.”

Bullshit. They were measuring the curtains and polishing/collecting resumes in August. They thought they were entitled to "nice things" and couldn't envision a country that might disagree.

I will probably purchase the book - sounds like conservatives are enjoying it and the Bernie Bro's are getting angrier (if twere possible).

MadisonMan said...

I reserved it from the library. I'm #20something on the list so I hope to have it in a week.

The interview I saw somewhere today with the authors was pretty good. The authors said Hillary's big problem was that she wasn't really for anything.

I'm happy she lost.

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

Hillary simply gave up after Trump hit her with so much Monster branding that she reached PTSD. She had expected a free ride based on 1990's media message control done on her and Bill's command by Clinton's corrupt team of insider DC Governing Thugs.

But she was smashed by a Master Persuader who also understood the ways of Jacksonian Americans.

James said...

It almost has the ring of an exorcism. An exorcism of the Clintons.

Sebastian said...

"a picture of a shockingly inept campaign hobbled by hubris and unforced errors" Now they tell us. After months of liberals and the MSM insisting that that this was a contest of competence against folly. To imagine that competence was her selling point: it is to laugh.

Of course, we cynical conservatives knew all along. (So did some actual lefties.) And of course most of us had our eyes wide open about Trump. Still, regardless of what happens with Trump, even if he ruins the GOP for another 8 O-like years, we will always have that delicious moment of realizing that enough of our fellow Americans had intuited the same thing about Hill and taken a chance on Trump.

cubanbob said...

Hillary is proof that God does have a sense of humor. She set up that the only other candidate on the Democrat side was an old Communist. She barely beat him. In the interim the house organs of the Democrat Party plugged to the best of their ability to pump up Donald Trump to be the Republican nominee on the gleeful premise no Democrat can lose to him and then she did.

James said...

Oh, I almost forgot. Will there be "Listening Campaigns" for Chelsea in the future?

Tyrone Workman said...

I'm not buying the theory that Clinton was epically bad...

Somehow you missed the part where anybody else would be doing 20 years to life.

Rae said...

I miss the days when failed Presidential candidates would fade from the spotlight and not be heard from for about ten years. Al Gore, I curse you!

Bay Area Guy said...

This book, this NYT book review, and this blog post fills me with so much joy, that I'm just gonna shut the hell up, and bask in the good vibe.

chickelit said...

She might have won had she not been so transparently money-grubbing. Conservatives weren't going to vote for her anyways (unless they had a stick up their ass like George Will did). She lost because she lost a significant part of the left. She will lose again for the same reason if she tries again. I hope she does try.

CWJ said...

ARM quoting Sullivan -

"Clinton had the backing of the entire Democratic establishment, including the president (his biggest mistake in eight years by far)."

I laughed out loud at that one. When has Obama ever successfully supported anyone other than Obama.

readering said...

Remember the book was written to be a story of triumph. The writers probably went into shock along with the candidate and campaign. Did they have an inkling from what they were observing as privileged flies on the wall?

FullMoon said...

And look at me, I'm in tatters, yeah
I've been battered, what does it matter
Does it matter, uh-huh
Does it matter, uh-huh, I'm a shattered

southcentralpa said...

I'm wracking my brains trying to think of when HRC ever baby-sat or was involved in a misunderstanding where someone in her inner circle thought she'd stolen their boyfriend (YA chick-lit).

I was amused by Kakutani's invocation of the RMS Titanic. The largest, most opulent ship ever built goes down at the hand of an unexpected iceberg. Yeah, that does kind of cover it.

(I've got two words for you, White Star Lines ... two words. Are you listening? Watertight bulkheads..." (On the other hand, the architect of the ship died of drowning rather than shame, so there's that))

FullMoon said...

Too bad Obama was ineligible for a third term, Trump might have also won popular vote

David said...

"Why give this book a big lofting?"

You have seen the answer in blog comments occasionally.

"First."

David said...

FullMoon said...
Too bad Obama was ineligible for a third term, Trump might have also won popular vote


Obama would have killed him. (Figuratively, of course.)

Big Mike said...

And there's a lot of blaming of Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook. He relied on "data analytics," he "underestimat[ed] Sanders," he "fail[ed] to put enough organizers on the ground," and — after the primary season ended — he "declined to use pollsters to track voter preferences in the final three weeks of the campaign." Okay. Is that really such a big deal?

The naive reliance of Dumbocrats on unvalidated mathematical models is sad to see, whether it's Mook's belief that Michigan was going their way by five points (it went to Trump by a razor thin margin) or Anthropogenic global warming. Big data started to come into its own in the final years of my career, and the field is awash in charlatans. There's value to be had in big data, but spurious correlations are also a hazard if you try to force the data into a mold.

So is it a big deal? Yes it is. I'm not the only person who noticed that Clinton was having a hard time getting up over 47% in all but the bluest states; it's one of the things that gave me hope for Trump. Mook should have asked why that was.

But in the end Hillary Clinton lost because she's a very poor politician. She touted Obama's war on coal in West Virginia. She relies on people based on their loyalty to her and not on their expertise, so in the end she has a crappy staff -- you should have sat bolt upright when, as Secretary of State, Hillary couldn't find someone to correctly translate "reset" to Russian. This is lack of trust in staff raised to the n-th power. Her political instincts, if only she had some, should have warned her what was coming; she probably was the only Democrat that party could have put up who would lose to Donald Trump, but they did and she did.

Michael K said...

When has Obama ever successfully supported anyone other than Obama.

I'm sticking to my resolution.

Mark Daniels said...

I read the review as well. As is true any time a campaign ends in defeat, staffers will say that they gave warnings about the very mistakes that caused the defeat.

But I do think that both Trump and Clinton were epically bad candidates. Clinton had the smaller margin of error though, because she was seen as smarmy while pretending to be noble. Trump, on the other hand, was seen as smarmy and not making any pretense of being otherwise.

YoungHegelian said...

Yeah, the book looks badly written, but I gotta buy it because it's friend-of-a-friend kinda stuff. Kindle, not paper.

Have we here forgotten our own little contretemps with the Hillary trolls over the summer? Remember how all they could do was slash Trump, & when we asked them over & over "Okay, Trump's an asshole, we get it. So, what are some positive reasons to vote for Hillary?", none were ever forthcoming. As in, never, forthcoming. Matter of fact, the only stirring panegyric in praise of HRC came from pm317, one of our own number.

It's clear that what we saw in our back-brush troll fight here chez Althouse was indeed a part of larger systemic issues within the Clinton campaign, i.e. they could never articulate a reason to vote for her, except she wasn't Donald Trump.

So there you have it -- the Althouse forum as part of history in the making.

Phil 3:14 said...

There is another.

jaydub said...

Wait! Are all the smart people now saying she didn't lose because the Russians hacked the election? Are they saying there wasn't collusion between the Trump campaign and the Ruskies? Are they saying that what all the talking heads on TV and what all the collumnists in the really smart newpapers have been asserting for the last five months was all bullshit? What kind of analysis is that? Next you're going to be telling me the antifata is a Soros creation, and not a spontaneous, organic citizens movement. I'm shocked I tell you! Shocked!

Anywho, I give credit to Hillary for not letting the most important constituency down, the citizens of the country. Losing was certainly the best gift she could have given all of us, and for that I say "you go girl!"

Etienne said...

While I would have never voted for her, even if she were declared a Saint, I believe the moment her campaign unraveled, was when she and Mrs. Weiner rented an RV.

Yancey Ward said...

Wildswan,

I think you have ably described what happened that morning of the 9th. I think I wrote here not long after the election that it was likely Obama that told her she had to concede before Trump spoke.

I don't know what Trump was going to say before her campaign did concede, but it wouldn't surprise if he was fully prepared to declare victory and mock the Democrats and the media for not accepting the result. If it was Obama, he, for once, gave her excellent advice.

AprilApple said...

Cubanbob - exactly.

One reason we have Trump is because the corrupt pro-D hack press promoted Trump.

tim in vermont said...

and her rapacious money-grubbing since she left the State Department

Since? SINCE? Andrew Sullivan still cannot see the awful truth about her abuse of her position and the Clinton Foundation. I threw up in my mouth a little when I voted for Trump. I would have stayed home had the Democrats run ANYBODY else, including Bernie. I might even have voted FOR Bernie.

They simply refuse to look at the huge pile of evidence of the corruption of the Clintons. The Democrat/Media complex is just too complicit.

Brando said...

A few points--it wasn't so much that her campaign was incompetent--sure, we can point to a few strategic errors and organizational failures but as Althouse notes, you can find those in both winning and losing campaigns (had Trump lost, we'd be going on incessantly about all the missteps, like holding rallies in Connecticut and California, or taking time to lash out at Ted Cruz after the nomination was already won, etc.). Everything is magnified a lot more when you lose (had Obama lost in 2012, we'd be going on about his "you didn't build it" remark, or his mishandling of the first few days after Benghazi). So I agree, it wasn't so much Hillary's campaign mistakes that made the difference.

Rather, the issue was the candidate herself--there just wasn't much even a good campaign could have done with her. We keep hearing she should have appealed more to the white working class--but what appeal from her would have worked? More speeches and more coopting of Sanders-ism would not have gotten more of them to vote for her. More visits to WI, MI and PA probably would not have gotten more voters to vote for her--remember she was pretty toxic. Keeping the focus off of her was not ideal, but it made for a better tactic than reminding people what they don't like about her. More ads wouldn't have done it--the airwaves were saturated.

In the end, she was just not a decent candidate--very stiff and practiced (and looked it), very tied in with the longtime establishment when the mood of the country was against it, and a long history of lying and corruption (topped off with the email scandal) made her a wounded candidate. The fact that she came that close is a testament to her campaign doing the best they could with what they had to work with, as well as Trump's toxicity to half the country. And her loss was no fluke--the Democratic electorate made the same rejection in 2008 when she similarly had all these advantages (though a more inept campaign) and lost to an upstart. If those two losses weren't enough to prove that whatever you do you just can't get her elected (outside of a corrupt blue state like NY), nothing else would prove it.

traditionalguy said...

I Actually listened to it on Audible, and found it to be well written for the genre.

She had no real answer to Sanders appeal. And her campaign newbies learned to lie to her about it. The only real rule in the Campaign was to ignore anything that Bill Clinton said about anything.

BillyTalley said...

What's significant is the self revelation that the candidate they backed was inept in epic dimensions. Whether this is the beginning of a realistic self diagnosis remains to be seen. The Democratic Party needs a reformation.

Mike said...

These new political "writers" have never read Elements of Style or Orwell. They string together as many trite figures of speech as possible. EB White wrote that "there is always an original way" to write something, and one does not have to rely on slang phrases. Formulaic phrasing just reveals the writer to be shallow, taking shortcuts to say something. It's bad enough to encounter such jejeune work in everyday "news" articles, but it is literally tiring to the reader to encounter such lazy writing in a book. Even if the subject of this book were interesting (we will never hear real stories of Hillary's thoughts and actions, which would justify a limited fascination with her) the writing repels me.

PackerBronco said...

Why didn't Hillary show her face in Michigan or Wisconsin?

Duh.

Because she was hoping to WIN those states!

Martin said...

I hate to use a Hitler comparison, but as a WW2 buff it comes naturally.

Blaming Mook is like blaming Keitel or Goering. The boss is responsible for the personnel choices and all the key decisions. Hillary Clinton was the boss and clearly had the power to hire and fire, and to take or reject advice. Mook never misled her about who he was or how he approached things. She chose him. Or, to quote a much, much greater Democrat, Harry Truman, "The buck stops here."

The Clinton campaign's flaws were almost perfect manifestations of the boss's flawed personality. Arrogant, thinking oneself to be superior with no track record to back that up, manipulative, self-entitled, bright but not exceptionally so, not creative in dealing with the unexpected, too much confidence in credentials as opposed to demonstrated talent, unwillingness to change when change is obviously needed... on and on.

Contrast all the above with Trump--despite his character flaws, he beats her on every one of the above points.

If a campaign was ever a creature of the candidate, it was this one, even to the point of rejecting Bill Clinton's good advice because of the source, and up bubbles four decades of resenting him catting around and swallowing it at the expense of her own self-respect. People think of Nixon as having been a psychological mess; he had nothing on Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Clinton was not just a bad candidate, in the sense of the front-person for a marketing campaign, she was and remains a deeply disturbed person who has no business running a large organization. She should take advantage of the opportunity to get professional help, after 40 years of eating Bill Clinton's s**t and losing her self-respect in the process. She may or may not be too old for a political future, but maybe she can come to peace with herself.

Brando said...

"Because she was hoping to WIN those states!"

For real--had she gone there more often, it's not likely she would have done better there. She might have done worse.

While we can reasonably blame her 2008 campaign for incompetence (e.g., not putting any resources into the small caucus states, thereby abandoning them to Obama), in 2012 there was nothing really about her campaign that they could have done differently considering the candidate. It wasn't the campaign that decided to dissemble about the servers, or kept the Clinton Foundation running its scams for so long. The campaign did aim for a "turn out the base" strategy, but that may have been the only strategy that would have worked with her (try picturing her firing up the working class crowd--it just doesn't work). They did what they could with their candidate, and she carried too many problems.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Clinton was epically bad, but only some 30% too 45% of the voters realized it. She wasn't epically bad in campaigning, but that was not the problem. The book, by the w\ay, is, of course full of lies and omissions, and the main sources are either uninformed or lying. You do getsomethings which sound like the truth, like nobody (on the outskirtsof the campaign) could get in touch with her, but everything went through Huma Abedin, whose role was never clearly explained.

She lost because of the emails, which she never couuld explain. But it is a sad commentary on the electorate that it took that to do that. She should never have been a contender.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Big Mike said...4/18/17, 10:08 PM

This is lack of trust in staff raised to the n-th power.

Of course there was lack of trust. She couldn't just trust anybody to cover up for her.

Brando said...

"She lost because of the emails, which she never couuld explain. "

I think it was the "inability to explain" even more than the emails. The fact that she simply could not give a good reason for setting up the private server (in fact, she gave a number of lame, changing reasons, but not one plausible one) meant voters had to assume there was something shady going on that she was trying to hide.

Dems are caught up in this web of trying to figure out how she lost, and they try to blame an "inept" campaign, or Comey, or the economy, or the third term itch, or sexism, or the Russians, but they glide over the fact that she was simply disqualified in the minds of about (or more than) half the voters for being corrupt. Trump may have turned off many of those voters too, but Clinton was simply a non-starter for them. And Dems simply didn't want to believe she was unelectable.

gregq said...

I certainly think Clinton was bad, but Trump was also pretty bad in a lot of ways. Personally, I've digested the results. Trump won. I'm not buying the theory that Clinton was epically bad anymore than I think Trump is a monster.


The you need to read the excerpts about the day after the Michigan loss.

Hillary Clinton is fundamentally incapable of taking advice she doesn't like.

You can not be a good, or even acceptable, leader or manager when you have that personality defect.

Hillary lost because Hillary was a hideously bad candidate.

America won because Hillary would have been a hideously bad President.

Donald Trump is a buffoon, who opinions often seem to be determined by whoever he talked to last.

Hillary Clinton is a power hungry psychotic who cares only about having her ego stroked. That's worse.

I didn't vote for Trump. But if that post Michigan primary loss scene had been made public before the election, I would have voted for Trump (and then puke afterwards).

Wilbur said...

Martin at 11:58 nails it.

William Chadwick said...

A guy I know who knows a guy who dates a girl who's an assistant editor saw the galleys, and originally it contained a passage wherein Hillary says, "You know who cost me the election? Those f*ck*ing Jew b*stards! If I were running again I'd have the Arkansas Mob send all their cats to sleep with the fishes!"

Swear to God.

John Taylor said...

Trump: M-A-G-A
Clinton: M-T

ballyfager said...

This book is a transparent attempt to present this ridiculous woman in the most favorable light they think they can get away with. But anyone with two brain cells to rub together will see through it.

Example: when Clinton realized she had lost she reacted stoically. Yeah right, because she has a history of reacting stoically when things don't go her way.

Absolute rubbish.