HRC: Making History – Amanda S. Green
No matter what you think about Hillary Rodham Clinton, she did make history in 2016 by being the first woman to be a major political party’s nominee for president. It is also something she isn’t about to let us forget. It is a major theme in What Happened. A theme she repeats over and over and over again.
I’ll admit, when I saw she had a chapter entitled “Making History”, my first thought was to sneer at her ego. Then I had to actually admit she had a point. With that reminder of my own feelings about her in mind, I took another look at the chapter and the one that followed. Now, before you start worrying, it didn’t change much.
For a change, she actually begins by talking about the campaign. In this case, the Democratic Convention and the weeks leading up to it. “The delegate count hadn’t been in question since March, but Bernie had hung on to the bitter end, drawing blood wherever he could along the way. I somewhat understood why he did it, after all, I stayed in the race for as long as I could in 2008. But that race was much closer, and I endorsed Barack right after the last primary. On this day in New York, Bernie was still more than a month away from endorsing me.” (pg 244)
Of course, the delegate count hadn’t been in question, especially when you look at the super delegates. However, if what we’ve been told about the “fix” is true, Bernie didn’t know he’d been stabbed in the back by the party. He didn’t know HRC was going to be the candidate, no matter what. So why would he have conceded when there were still delegates out there to be had?
And HRC acknowledged the role these “super” delegates played in the nomination. In case you aren’t familiar with who these delegates are and how they impact the election process, HRC gives us an insight. They are “the party leaders who join delegates selected in primaries and caucuses in choosing the nominee at the convention.” (pg. 245) These delegates are unpledged. In other words, they can vote for whomever they want at the national convention. In 2016, they made up approximately 15% of the delegates casting votes at the Democratic Convention. So, yeah, the fix was in and I firmly believe Clinton knew well before the final primaries that she would be the nominee based on the fact super delegates exist and she would have that extra 15% margin of votes.
As she writes about finally realizing she would be the Democratic nominee, HRC said, “I was now all that stood between Donald Trump and the White House. . . I was about to become the first woman ever nominated by a major party for President of the United States. That goal has been so elusive for so long. Now it was about to be real.” (pg. 246)
Wow. SHE was the only thing standing between Trump and the White House. Not the voters. Not Trump himself. Her. Ego much?
And there we have it again, she was making history. I’d happily give that to her if she hadn’t soon followed it by this:
I was torn. I wanted to be judged on what I did, not on what I represented or what people projected onto me. But I understood how much the breakthrough would mean to the country, especially to girls and boys who would see that there are no limits on what women can achieve. I wanted to honor that significance. I just didn’t know the best way to do it. (pg 247)
She didn’t want to be judged by what she represented? Then why did she keep telling us every time she could that she was the first woman to be nominated by a major party? For that matter, why does she continue, page after page and chapter after chapter, bringing up the fact? My objection to the above quote goes further. Why is she only worried about letting the “girls and boys” see “there are no limits on what women can achieve”? I’ll tell you why. Because, despite her protestations, she wanted the election to be one of male vs female and not one about who the best candidate was. Otherwise, why wasn’t she trying to show our children that there are no limits on what anyone can achieve, no matter what their sex, race, creed or anything else?
As you probably guessed by now, she spends time in this chapter painting then-candidate Donald Trump as divisive and, well, evil. “He wanted Americans to fear one another and the future.” (pg 249) I don’t know about you, but I remember Trump talking bluntly about what problems the country faced. I didn’t always agree with him. Hell, I often disagreed with him. But I also remember Clinton and her supporters being the ones talking about how we would have blood running in the streets if Trump was elected. They were the ones who tried to promote fear and distrust. So, at best, this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Except HRC won’t see it and certainly will never admit it.
There’s more of the same in the chapter but most of it all revolves around the same theme: I still believe that, as I’ve said many times, advancing the rights and opportunities of women and girls is the unfinished business of the twenty-first century. That includes one day succeeding where I failed and electing a woman as President of the United States. (pg 257) Wow, “the unfinished business”. Not fighting poverty. Not finding alternative energy sources. Not building better relations with our allies or ending the hostilities in the Middle East. Not even healing racial wounds that are still so prevalent in this country. But she didn’t want to be judged on what she represented – the first woman to be nominated by a major political party.
But it gets better. Or worse, depending on your point of view. The next section of the book bears the title “Frustration” and HRC doesn’t hold back. Not. One. Bit. Her frustration and anger – let’s be honest, her bitterness – at not being elected are plain to see. Any doubts I might have had about it were dispelled with the first couple of paragraphs of the new chapter, “Country Roads”.
“We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” Stripped of their context, my words sounded heartless.” (pg 265) Anyone following the election remembers that statement. HRC is right about one thing. That comment made the rounds and Trump’s camp used it to their advantage. HRC is right about something else, we weren’t always given the full context of the quote. Not that it matters nearly as much HRC wants us to believe.
First, she still refuses to admit she screwed up with the comment. Instead, she called it “unfortunate” (pg 265). She contends that, had we listened to her entire comment, “my meaning comes through reasonably well.” (pg 266) Reasonably well. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like she knows she screwed the pooch but is blaming us for taking her at her word and not reading her mind. But let’s look at the quote.
Instead of dividing people the way Donald Trump does, let’s reunite around policies that will bring jobs and opportunities to all these underserved poor communities. So, for example, I’m the only candidate who has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity using clean renewable energy as the key into Coal Country. Because we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business, right, Tim? And we’re going to make it clear that we don’t want to forget those people. Those people labored in those mines for generations, losing their health, often losing their lives to turn on our lights and power our factories. Now we’ve got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels, but I don’t want to move away from the people who did the best they could to produce the energy that we relied on. (pg 264)
So, did she say she’d put the coal miners out of work? Yep. She most certainly did. Oh, she says she doesn’t want to forget about them but she doesn’t say what she is going to do to help them when she closes down the mines and takes away their jobs. She doesn’t say what she will do about the towns that will be decimated by her actions or what will happen to those companies she planned on putting out of business. In fact, all she did was tell these proud people that they were no longer important in her plan. At best, she would put them on the dole. Is it any wonder they didn’t take well to her words?
She “felt absolutely sick” (page 265) because they didn’t understand what she meant. In other words, they understood what she said and that was a big oops!, not that she’d admit it. She blames Fox News for playing the quote. She blames the media for being hard on her for it and not for being hard on Trump each time he said something “offensive” or for “garbling a thought”. (pg 266) Poor HRC, to hear her say it, she got punished for “being too cautious and careful with her words”.
Except this time she was neither. In fact, to prove she still doesn’t understand what she did with that comment, she later calls it her “gaffe”. (pg 270) Yet again, she simply can’t admit she might have misread her audience and made a mistake.
Usually when I meet people who are frustrated and angry, my instinctive response is to talk about how we can fix things. That’s why I spent so much time and energy coming up with new policies to create jobs and raise wages. But in 2016 a lot of people didn’t really want to hear about plans and policies. They wanted a candidate to be as angry as they were and they wanted someone to blame. . . but I’ve always thought it’s better for leaders to offer solutions instead of just more
anger. . .
Unfortunately, when the resentment level is through the roof your answers may never get a hearing from the people you want to help most. (pg 272)
Oh my. I don’t know whether to say, “Bless her heart” or tell her to grow the fuck up. There are so many things wrong with her comment. Things that, if she possessed at least a little self-introspection or empathy would have given her answers. Not once does she consider that, before offering “solutions”, she needs to understand the anger and frustration. Instead, she basically blames the people for not wanting to hear what she had to say.
“Since the election, I’ve spend a lot of time thinking about why I failed to connect with more working class whites . . . The most prominent explanation, though an insufficient one on its own, is the so-called war on coal” (pg 273) Wait, what? Does she really believe this is one of the main reasons why she didn’t connect with “working class whites”? Is she delusional?
The answer to that is possibly. She blames the Obama Administration for not being more proactive in fighting the perception that the government was trying to kill the coal industry (pg 274). And then we get to the real heart of what she feels is wrong with those voters she couldn’t connect with.
After John Kerry lost to George W. Bush in 2004, the writer Thomas Frank popularized the theory that Republicans persuaded whites in places like West Virginia to vote against their economic interests by appealing to them on cultural issues – in other words, “gays, guns, and God.” There’s definitely merit in that explanation. . . Then there’s race. (pg 274)
She so conveniently forgets that man Bill talked to her about earlier in the book. The one from Arkansas who said he was going to vote Republican because he knew they’d screw him but he’d given up on the Democrats after years of waiting for them to do as they promised only to see them do the opposite. She ignores the fact that “gays, guns and God” is a vast oversimplification of the importance of religion and 2nd Amendment rights to much of America. And, just to be sure she covers everything, she has to throw in race.
Not once does she ask herself why these are important to the voters. Not once does she consider how what she said during the campaign, or before, would make voters uncomfortable. Nope, far from it. They weren’t enlightened enough to understand what she wanted to do, so they were the problem. She might not come right out and say it but it is clear that she blames these working class whites for not voting for her.
Here’s a telling quote on several levels. “There’s a tendency toward seeing every problem as someone else’s fault, whether it’s Obama, liberal elites in big cities, undocumented immigrants taking jobs, minorities soaking up government assistance – or me.” (pp 276-277). She is so quick to assign this anger and finger-pointing to conservatives and yet she fails to see that she is doing just that sort of assignment of blame to everyone who did not fall all over themselves to get her elected.
Trump brilliantly tapped into all these feelings, especially with his slogan: Make America Great Again. . .What he meant was: “You can have the old America back one I vanquish the immigrants, especially Mexicans and Muslims, send the Chinese products back, repeal Obamacare, demolish political correctness, ignore inconvenient facts, and pillory Hillary along with all the other liberal elites.” (pg 277)
OMG. Not 20 or so pages earlier, she bitched and moaned because people held her to her words. Now she wants us to condemn Trump based on what she tells us he said. She ignores the fact he didn’t want to deport every immigrant. No, he wanted our immigration laws followed and enforced. He wanted to make sure trade agreements were fair and not tilted against America’s best interests. You get what where I’m going with this. So now it is not only Trump’s fault for being unenlightened but ours for voting for him.
Not convinced? “How do we help give people in rural counties such as Mingo and McDowell a fighting chance? The most urgent need right now is to stop the Trump Administration from making things a whole lot worse.” (pg 281) How? How is he making it worse for them than the Obama Administration did? But, a more basic question is why is she writing about this in a book that is supposed to be about the 2016 presidential campaign?
The more I read of the book, the more I find myself wondering why HRC wrote it. This is not a book about the campaign. Not really. What it reads like is the opening salvo for another political campaign or, perhaps, for a bid to be named as an important political appointee. The one thing I am sure about is how glad I am that the American voters did not elect her. “But I wish I could have found the words or emotional connection to make them believe how passionately I wanted to help their communities and families.” (pg 287) She knew from her 2008 campaign that voters didn’t feel connected to her. She knew from the media she was seen as an ice princess, cold, etc. But she couldn’t figure out how to get her message across. How in the hell would she have been able to do so as president if she couldn’t do so as candidate?
We dodged the bullet, in my opinion.
Next up, we get to see what she has to say about her emails. Won’t that be fun?
(You can find the other installments in this series at the following links: What Happened or How I Suffered for this Blog and had to Share, Grit and Gratitude, HRC Gets Caught Trying, A New Deal, A Square Deal or How She Wanted to be the Next Roosevelt, It’s All His Fault, Turning Mourning into a Movement and HRC: Idealism and Realism.)
[I know this is hard to watch, imagine what it must be like to read the book. If you want to help finance Amanda’s liquor bill, use this address Send the woman a drink-SAH]