With the impending release of Hillary Clinton’s What Happened, Democrats have mixed reactions. Yes, she’s still well liked among the establishment elite. Yes, people think she has a right to pen a book about the 2016 election. They do not, however, think it’s the right time. Politico and The Hill reported about the reactions from Democrats as they prepare for Hurricane Hillary. The former first lady is reportedly mobbed by fans, with some of her first book tour events—all in states that she won—selling out. In short, people are tired of 2016 and exhausted of defending Clinton after she has consistently been unable to take responsibility for her actions. It’s always I take responsibility, but it’s really everyone else’s fault. In this case, it’s I accept that I had shortcomings in 2016, but Obama, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, the FBI, Russia, and sexism all colluded to torpedo my presidential hopes. Honestly, admitting that you sucked is half the battle; Clinton has yet to embrace that step in moving forward. While the book does toss some mud at Biden and especially Sanders, the latter, a self-described democratic socialist, says it’s time to move forward.
It seems except for a select few, not many on the Left are happy about this book, which Hillary’s inner circle says is an attempt to get the 2016 story right, whatever that means. You ran, you sucked, and you lost to Trump; that’s what happened. The time loop Hillary seems to be stuck in regarding the 2016 election, which traps everyone else when she opens her moth about it, has pushed some of her supporters to the limit. For one fundraiser, this person wishes Hillary would just “shut the f**k up and go away.” For one thing, it will surely stir up things with the Sanders wing of the progressive movement, which despises Clinton (via The Hill) [emphasis mine]:
Sanders brushed off Clinton’s criticism in a Wednesday interview with The Hill, saying it’s time for Democrats to “look forward, not backward.”
Not everyone was so charitable. Even some of Clinton’s allies have grown weary of her insistence on re-litigating the 2016 campaign at a time when the Democratic Party is looking to forge a new identity in the age of Trump.
“The best thing she could do is disappear,” said one former Clinton fundraiser and surrogate who played an active role at the convention. “She’s doing harm to all of us because of her own selfishness. Honestly, I wish she’d just shut the f--- up and go away.”
Since her loss, Clinton has taken fire from both sides of the aisle for what’s seen as her refusal to acknowledge her own role in her campaign’s defeat.
“None of this is good for the party,” said one former Obama aide. “It’s the Hillary Show, 100 percent. A lot of us are scratching our heads and wondering what she’s trying to do. It’s certainly not helpful.”
Sanders backers are apoplectic.
Still, Clinton enjoys widespread goodwill in Democratic circles.
“She still has matriarchal capability, because she was the first lady of Arkansas, the first lady of the country, a United States senator and secretary of State,” said Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.). “Hard to find any elected Democratic woman who has had her status and over such a long period of time.”
Most Democrats reached by The Hill did not want to speak ill of Clinton, feeling sympathy for her loss and believing that she’s still trying to come to grips with it.
Yet, by most accounts, “there is a collective groan” when this is back in the news cycle, according to one California Democrat. Even the media, which are anti-Trump to the hilt, are sick of this woman dredging up the 2016 campaign cycle. Even campaign staffers at her Brooklyn headquarters have had enough (via Politico) [emphasis mine]:
Democratic operatives can’t stand the thought of her picking the scabs of 2016, again — the Bernie Sanders divide, the Jim Comey complaints, the casting blame on Barack Obama for not speaking out more on Russia. Alums of her Brooklyn headquarters who were miserable even when they thought she was winning tend to greet the topic with, “Oh, God,” “I can’t handle it,” and “the final torture.”
Political reporters gripe privately (and on Twitter) about yet another return to the campaign that will never end. Campaign operatives don't want the distraction, just as they head into another election season. And members of Congress from both parties want the focus on an agenda that’s getting more complicated by the week.
“Maybe at the worst possible time, as we are fighting some of the most high-stakes policy and institutional battles we may ever see, at a time when we’re trying to bring the party together so we can all move the party forward — stronger, stronger together,” said Rep. Jared Huffman, a Democrat who represents a Northern California district. “She’s got every right to tell her story. Who am I to say she shouldn’t, or how she should tell it? But it is difficult for some of us, even like myself who’ve supported her, to play out all these media cycles about the blame game, and the excuses.”
“There is a collective groan,” he said, “whenever there’s another news cycle about this.”
Asked whether she was excited about Clinton’s book tour, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), one of Republicans’ top 2018 targets, responded first with, “Beg your pardon?”
Asked again, she started shaking her head, walking away.
“I’ve always been a looking forward kind of a guy,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), asked the same question on Wednesday. “I think I’ll leave it at that.”
It's not hard to imagine Trump belittling Clinton's book via his Twitter feed. But some Democrats have already beat him to it.
“A Sad, Petty ‘It's Everyone Else's Fault,’ Book,” read an email from Sanders die-hard (and Clinton’s 2006 Senate primary opponent) Jonathan Tasini.
“Pathetic. But it is a planned mass PR campaign in prep for the corporate #Dems next candidate. Reality: 75% did not vote 4 her. Denial,” tweeted RoseAnn DeMoro, the executive director of National Nurses United.
The two-time presidential loser may be mobbed by adoring fans, but it doesn’t negate the fact that she only has a 30 percent approval rating, she’s only meeting friendly voters from deep blue states, and she seems to be a divisive force within the Democratic Party, even among her supporters. Get away from me seems to be the prevailing theme with Democrats. They’re tired of her. They want to move on, and now we’re going to have weeks of unhealed wounds being agitated as salt is poured into them again.