"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.