Former Obama White House communications director Jen Psaki was rather blunt in her assessment of the impending book by Hillary Clinton: she shouldn’t be relitigating this. The book is chock full of the former first lady’s reasons for why she lost the 2016 election to Donald Trump. It will surely be a compressed version of all of her tantrums she threw post-Election Day for why she lost. The Democratic National Committee, the media, Russia, hackers, misogyny, the FBI, James Comey, Bernie Sanders, sexism, and racism. I'm also going to guess that one person will escape blame: Hillary Rodham Clinton. The former first lady has just been insufferable on that front, blaming other for mishaps, some of which were of her own creation.
Psaki made her thoughts known to CNN’s Jake Tapper, where she answered Tapper’s question about whether this is a good time to be rehashing the 2016 election.
Boy, I don’t feel like it is. You know, I feel Hillary Clinton is so much more than what happened in this campaign and so much more that what coulda, woulda, shoulda been. There are lots of people who are litigating that; I don’t think it needs to be her and frankly, I wish it wasn’t her,” she said.
Tapper then addressed that Barack Obama was from liberal academia and he was able to do pretty well in red rural counties. Well, good enough to prevent a run up like the one inflicted on Hillary Clinton. If you win the key counties of a state, let’s say in Ohio, and then lose by 25 in the rural regions instead of 50—victory rests on the margins. Obama was able to do this effectively, which is why he was elected and re-elected in 2008 and 2012 respectively. Most importantly, voters felt he would be a fighter for them. There were 200 counties that voted for Obama twice that flipped for Trump. Psaki noted that Clinton just couldn’t connect with voters in the way Trump could. She also said that her party probably hasn’t learned the right lessons from their 2016 defeat.
“Well, I think if you look at focus groups, but even just anecdotally, people felt that he was conveying he was fighting for them and that he had a very specific message to people who were struggling, people who felt hopeless, that he was going to be their guy fighting for them. And Hillary Clinton had plans and papers that were coming out of her ears. She talks about it, of course, in the book. But she never made that direct connection with people and Part of that, I think, is probably not listening to people and hearing what was happening in the country, that it’s not just her fault on that. It’s certainly many Democrats’ fault. I’m not sure we’ve learned the right lessons.
Granted, she adds that Obama delivered on the promises of being a more populist-like fighter while in the White House. I don’t know if passing an unpopular health care overhaul that’s too expensive for many families is a promise worth mentioning. Also, if people felt this way, Clinton would have done better with this demographic, she didn’t. Also, the people and places that Obama promised to fight for in Washington haven't fared better either. There are scores of stories of people in the Rust Belt not being shocked at all by Trump’s winsince Obama didn’t deliver in 2008 and 2012 and they were thirsty for change. I guess the silver lining with Clinton’s book is that it’s being released way ahead of the 2018 midterms.