September 17, 2017

Clinton on What Happened

Hillary Clinton - What HappenedI caught the first part of Hillary Clinton's interview with Judy Woodruff on the PBS NewsHour this week, following the release of her new book. With one glaring exception, I thought she came across reasonably well. I even found myself able to empathize with how difficult the experience of losing an election everyone told her she couldn't lose must have been. The exception, not surprisingly, was that she still seems reluctant to accept the bulk of the responsibility for her loss.

She did acknowledge that she had something to do with her loss during the interview, and I must give her credit for that. On the other hand, she distributed blame to so many others factors (including sexism and misogyny) that her acceptance of responsibility seemed disingenuous at times. I thought that her worst moment came when she attempted to present herself as someone who unites people with diverse views and bridges divides. I could not reconcile this with her campaign rhetoric (e.g., "deplorables", pushing prayer, or taking unnecessary swipes at atheists) or with the implicit suggestion that she lost due to voter sexism and/or misogyny. Her self-perception as a uniter seems at odds with the reality.

It will be interesting to see what she does now that she's made it clear that she will not run for the presidency again. I think she could do some real good behind the scenes and maybe in an even more public manner at some point. But I think it would be a mistake for her to be too public just yet. The Democratic Party has to figure out some important things, including what kind of party it wants to be, how to bridge their own divide and move past the destructive infighting, and how to kill off identity politics (wishful thinking, I know). Clinton maintaining a high-profile presence in the national news media probably won't help them, but she may be able to help in other ways.