“In the end,” Jane Pauley said yesterday in a voice-over during her CBS Sunday Morning segment, “Hillary Rodham Clinton still seems gobsmacked by what happened.” That’s a clever reference to the erstwhile presidential candidate’s memoir, What Happened, but it’s not clear that Pauley has read much of it. “She dishes out blame,” Pauley notes, “and she accepts responsibility.”
Well, that’s half right, at least from the excerpts that have emerged prior to publication. Hillary has dished out a lot of blame, but accepting responsibility? Not so much. Even when supposedly accepting responsibility, Hillary explicitly lays blame on … the Constitution? Via Matt Vespa:
“I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made. I take responsibility for all of them,” she writes. “In my more introspective moments, I do recognize that my campaign in 2016 lacked the sense of urgency and passion that I remember from (Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign).”
But Clinton also has scores to settle with those whom she says kept her from the White House.
Former FBI Director James Comey, Russian meddling and the media — she singles out several journalists by name — come in for a beating, while she also lays blame at the feet of Bernie Sanders, Green Party nominee Jill Stein, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, sexism and the electoral system itself.
“I wasn’t just running against Donald Trump. I was up against the Russian intelligence apparatus, a misguided FBI director, and now the godforsaken Electoral College,” she writes toward the end.
“And now the godforsaken Electoral College”? Just as a reminder, the Electoral College has been the method of electing American presidents since 1789. It’s not a secret that the overall popular vote does not matter for presidential elections, especially since 2000’s Bush-Gore contest. Is it too much to ask that presidential candidates familiarize themselves with the 237-year-old instructions for American governance before running for office?
Hillary wants to pretend that she was victimized by the Electoral College, along with her litany of bêtes noires in her memoir, but her campaign was clearly calculated to EC strategies. She lost because she took the former Blue Wall states for granted, not because she despaired of winning them at all. She never set foot in Wisconsin in the general election and badly neglected the campaigns in Michigan and Pennsylvania despite warning signals from her allies. Hillary didn’t bother to put in the effort because those states hadn’t voted Republican in more than two decades, and Hillary figured she was owed those states without the effort … along with a lot of other things to which she felt entitled.
Frankly, the Electoral College proved its value in 2016. It kept a candidate with a minority of states and whose appeal was limited to narrow cultural enclaves from becoming the head of state. Next time, Democrats should nominate a candidate with broader appeal.
And on that score, Democrats did get some good news from the Pauley interview:
“Is your political career over?” Jane Pauley asked Clinton on “CBS Sunday Morning.”
“Yes,” Clinton responded. “As an active politician, it’s over.
“I am done with being a candidate,” she added. “But I am not done with politics, because I literally believe that our country’s future is at stake.”
Is she done talking about herself, too? She did that for two years as a presidential candidate, and this is her third memoir in seventeen years. Democrats might breathe a sigh of relief for her retirement as a candidate, but they’re still waiting for Hillary to retire as the hero of the only topic on which she wants to engage, too.
Addendum: I meant to mention this above, but had the election been determined strictly by the popular vote, we would have seen a much different strategy from both campaigns.