Well, the release of What Happened is upon us. If you thought Hillary Clinton would take responsibility for the 2016 loss, you were right. If you thought she would also heavily pepper it with blaming others for that defeat—you would also be correct. There’s always a “but” with this lady. I take responsibility, but so-and-so screwed me out of the White House. Even CNN reporters, and the rest of the media, despite their vicious anti-Trump bias—know that Hillary Clinton was unlikable, vulnerable, and stepped on the campaign rake all on her own. She was one of the most flawed candidates to ever be nominated for the presidency. I mean Clinton lost to Barack Obama in 2008. This was the Clinton machine against a then-no-name senator from Illinois who was two-thirds of his way through his first term. She lost. She was a bad campaigner and she couldn’t carry a message other than she would be the first female president. American voters are not that dumb on the latter. I think deep down, we all know a woman will occupy the White House. It’s just that we didn’t want that one last year—and thank God for that. I also think that since GOP women care more about abortion and the morning after pill, one of these women will probably become our first female president, forever ending the culture war as a Republican victory. If you thought Trump’s victory would trigger progressives, a Republican woman occupying the White House before someone like Hillary, would be almost biblical. Yet, back to the book.
CNN did an analysis of the book and found that the tone of the book ranges from conciliatory to defiant to almost something like a term paper. The former first lady read what seems to be every graph, poll, news article, and study on how and why she lost. She does admit that her private email server was a mistake, that giving paid Wall Street speeches in the aftermath of a financial meltdown was a misstep, and that saying she would put coal miners out of work is the trip up she regrets the most. She also said that the concession call to Trump was “one of the strangest” moments in her life, likening it to telling someone they couldn’t make it to their barbecue. Yet, if you thought these admissions of falling short were genuine, think again. She also says sexism prevented her from appealing to the masses and getting an effective message through to voters. Was that before or after you told coal miners that you were working to put them and their families out on the street? For rural Americans, it was just another stump speech from a snobby woman, who didn’t care about them. She’s trashed Bernie Sanders, she throws some mud at Biden for saying her campaign forgot about middle class advocacy, and blames Democrats favorite punching bag: former FBI Director James Comey, who by the way—drafted an exoneration statement months before the conclusion of the FBI investigation into whether she mishandled classified information that was sent through her private server.
Well, What Happened is that Trump beat you, Mrs. Clinton. You were a terrible candidate. Voters didn’t feel like you were going to fight for them. You were inauthentic. You were untrustworthy. You were beaten fair and square. The country just doesn’t like you, ma’am. What happened is that Trump won, though Clinton’s foul-ups make the title of the book very fitting.
Via CNN [emphasis mine]:
"I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made. I take responsibility for all of them. You can blame the data, blame the message, blame anything you want -- but I was the candidate," she writes. "It was my campaign. Those were my decisions."
In a voice that swings from defiant to conciliatory to -- at rare moments -- deeply vulnerable, Clinton does assume ownership where the fault lines are obvious. And in overarching terms, she admits she badly misjudged the environment in which she was running and the candidate she was running against.
But Clinton still finds ample blame to go around. She writes bluntly that sexism hampered her ability to reach voters effectively. She offers unvarnished assessments of those who have cast doubts on her campaign, including Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, her former rival. And she singles out James Comey -- a "rash FBI director" -- for direct and lashing criticism.
"What makes me such a lightning rod for fury? I'm really asking. I'm at a loss," she asks her readers, before concluding: "I think it's partly because I'm a woman."
Clinton makes frank admissions about the places she fell short. She acknowledges it was bad "optics" to deliver paid speeches to Wall Street banks after the financial meltdown last decade. She says her comment during a CNN town hall about putting coal miners out of business was the misstep "I regret the most." And, as she has before, Clinton calls her decision to use a private email server during her time at the State Department as "dumb."
But while she claims that a host of factors -- including her own shortcomings -- led to headwinds against her, Clinton identifies the final week of the campaign, highlighted by Comey's revival of the email issue, as the moment that led to the bottom dropping out.
"Comey's letter turned that picture upside down," Clinton writes about her tarnished image, which she said had gone from a picture of a steady leader to one compromised by scandal.
In a lengthy middle section, Clinton unpacks Russia's meddling in the election, openly wondering whether a more forceful public response from then-President Barack Obama could have changed matters.
Clinton writes that her call with Trump was "without a doubt one of the strangest moments of my life."
"I congratulated Trump and offered to do anything I could to make sure the transition was smooth," she writes. "It was all perfectly nice and weirdly ordinary, like calling a neighbor to say you can't make it to his barbecue. It was mercifully brief ... I was numb. It was all so shocking."
While Clinton's book is full of praise for her Democratic colleagues, she also offers as blunt an assessment of their weaknesses as they offered of hers.
"Joe Biden said the Democratic Party in 2016 "did not talk about what it always stood for -- and that was how to maintain a burgeoning middle class,'" Clinton writes. "I find this fairly remarkable, considering that Joe himself campaigned for me all over the Midwest and talked plenty about the middle class."
This is going to reopen some rather raw wounds that haven’t fully healed, especially with the Bernie wing of America, who feel that Sanders could have easily beaten Trump if he had won the nomination. That Clinton wasn’t left wing enough to win, or something. The Democratic Party is leaderless. They’re struggling to fill the war chests. And they have no message other than we’re anti-Trump. That’s not enough to win and Clinton being the point of the lance in the ‘what the hell went wrong’ debate is certainly not going to help matters. So, grab some popcorn and beer because fireworks on the Left could erupt.