Ed Klein cooked this rumor up as a goof, right? She was the most charmless presidential candidate in decades, already hated by the right and now newly hated by the left for having blown an election she was supposed to win easily to Donald Trump, of all people. Who would watch? And what would the show even look like? Would it be a dumber “Firing Line” for the mushy center-left or would it be “Ellen” with 98 percent of the likability drained out?
I think this is just Klein testing his media reach. He came up with most outlandish, head-scratching bit of Hillary gossip he could find, put it in a bottle, and tossed it out into the big-news ocean to see where it would end up. Made it to Fox News and the Daily Mail!
“She’s been talking very seriously about the idea of having her own television show,” said the source. “As a TV host, she’d discuss the issues of the day from a progressive point of view, have top guests, interview world leaders and progressive thinkers.
“It would have to be a show that she and her people completely controlled,” the source continued. “She’s convinced she’d get fabulous ratings in a political climate where there’s so much anger in Democratic circles over Donald Trump’s election.
“She’s utterly determined not to fade into the background. She intends to stay in the limelight and keep fighting the good fight. She knows Obama is going to be out there fighting too. But frankly, she doesn’t think he’s a great leader or a great fighter, which leaves an opening for her to be the acknowledged leader-in-exile of her party.
“She thinks being the host of a popular TV show would energize the Democratic Party base and her tens of millions of fans. It’s a way to make a comeback and position herself for another run at the White House starting in a year or so.”
Not even Hillary can be so self-deluded as to believe that the left wants her, rather than Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, or Obama, as its champion during the fraught years of the Trump administration. She’s literally the only person in the Democratic Party who’s proved conclusively that she doesn’t know how to stop Trump. Democrats may follow Sanders leftward on everything or they may tack a bit to the center on cultural issues to regain some viability in rural areas, but they can’t possibly be ready to double down in 2020 on the Clintonian brand of neoliberal policy oatmeal, Wall Street money, dazzling celebrity, and identity politics. If she were interested in a TV show, it’d be on its own terms, not because she’s kidded herself that the country will like her better in four years than it did in 2016.
Here’s the only way a “Hillary!” show could work. First, it’d have to be sporadic — maybe one show a month rather than one a week, to try to stoke viewer curiosity by preserving a sense of novelty. Second, the guests would need to be ultra A-list. Not A-list in the sense of George Clooney or Jennifer Lawrence but A-list in the sense of Angela Merkel. After all, the main hook of the show would be tuning in to see just how much Clinton and her guest badmouth Trump. No one cares when it’s some jackhole Hollywood star or Democratic Party apparatchik doing it, but if it’s Merkel doing it, or Enrique Pena-Nieto? Yeah, that’d get some viewers. But then, no world leader with an ounce of brains would risk jeopardizing its relations with the White House by attacking the president on a show hosted by the bitter loser he defeated last year, so she wouldn’t be able to land those guests. So who would she end up talking to? She’s more of a household name than virtually anyone she could invite on, which would have the effect of diminishing the guest, I think. A Clinton interview of Obama could be interesting, but it would depend on how candid they’re willing to be. Not very, I’m sure.
You want to know what I’d watch? I’d watch Hillary interview the various people who helped make last year’s Democratic disaster so memorable. Have her grill Robby Mook on camera about the strategy that called for campaigning in Arizona last fall instead of Wisconsin. Have her interview some data nerds about their election-eve estimates that she had a 99 percent chance of winning. Have her sit down with Cheryl Mills or whoever gave her the idea that it’d be smart to have a private email server as Secretary of State. Have her interview Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner about how his little texting hobby ended up inspiring the Comey letter that may have blown her chance of winning. To the extent that Clinton has ever been a truly interesting public figure, it’s because of the psychodrama that drives ClintonWorld. Turn the show into a window on that psychodrama and, sure, we’d all watch that. Failing that, though, what do we have to talk about?