Last week, Hillary Clinton provided her perspective on the root causes for her loss in November’s presidential election. She blamed misogyny (hateful voters!), James Comey, Russia and especially Vladimir Putin … all of which apparently conspired to keep Hillary from setting foot in Wisconsin. In fact, Hillary managed to lay the blame for her loss on everyone except Hillary Clinton.
This turns out to be a pattern, as an excerpt from a new book about the campaign demonstrates. The Hill offers a glimpse of the dynamics inside Team Hillary after the loss of the Michigan primary from Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign, the upcoming book by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. Not only did Hillary and Bill Clinton blame everyone around them for her failures, Hillary meted out childish revenge during a subsequent debate prep:
The blame belonged to her campaign team, she believed, for failing to hone her message, energize important constituencies and take care of business in getting voters to the polls. And now, Jake Sullivan, her de facto chief strategist, was giving her lip about the last answer she’d delivered in the prep session.
“That’s not very good,” Sullivan corrected.
“Really?” Hillary snapped back.
The room fell silent.
“Why don’t you do it?”
The comment was pointed and sarcastic, but she meant it. So for the next 30 minutes, there he was, pretending to be Hillary while she critiqued his performance.
Every time the Yale lawyer and former high school debate champ opened his mouth, Hillary cut him off. “That isn’t very good,” she’d say. “You can do better.” Then she’d hammer him with a Bernie line.
It’s good to know the adults were in charge, right? Sullivan’s job in this exercise was to help Hillary by critiquing her responses in order to hone them for the upcoming debate. Rather than recognize that, Hillary opted to mock and humiliate Sullivan out of a fit of personal pique — and ensure that no one would provide her with any useful criticism.
It must have been a blast working for Hillary, eh?
Allen and Parnes also describe an earlier “ass-chewing” that came from both Hillary and Bill on a teleconference directed to the whole team because the media wasn’t focusing on her economic message. There were a couple of good reasons for that. First, Hillary’s e-mail scandal was soaking up a lot of attention, a scandal that Hillary brought on herself and made worse by constantly offering lies in attempts to explain it away. Second, Hillary focused much more on her own status as the nation’s premier breaker of glass ceilings, incessantly putting identity politics at the front of her messaging. Yet Bill ripped the senior campaign team for “not making that happen” for her economic message, as he “lashed out with abandon,” according to the description provided in the book.
At least from this small excerpt, it seems pretty clear that denial wasn’t just a river for the Clintons, nor a recent destination. This book from Allen and Parnes will make it more difficult for Hillary to get her own message out in her upcoming memoir, too, which is widely expected to focus on the supposed misogyny that blocked her path to the Oval Office and her role as a feminist pioneer over the last few years. If this excerpt provides a glimpse of the thrust of reporting by Allen and Parnes, it’s going to color the reception of further Clintonian blame-throwing.