Would you pay $30 for recycled arguments that you could easily find on Google? How about at a 40% pre-order discount? Critics assumed that Hillary Clinton’s upcoming memoir What Happened would just consist of warmed-over complaints and rationalizations about her disastrous second run at the presidency. It turns out that they were, um … entirely correct.
In the first excerpt released from her book, due out in less than a month, Hillary and the publisher literally resuscitate an attack Hillary aimed at Donald Trump within days of their October 9th debate — that Trump “stalked” her on stage and creeped her out. “My skin crawled,” she says in the audio excerpt first broadcast by MSNBC’s Morning Joe earlier today:
“Now we were on a small stage and no matter where I walked, he followed me closely, staring at me, making faces. It was incredibly uncomfortable. He was literally breathing down my neck. My skin crawled,” Clinton wrote in the book excerpt. “It was one of those moments where you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching, ‘well, what would you do?'”
Clinton went on, questioning her next move during the televised debate.
“Do you stay calm, keep smiling and carry on as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your space or do you turn, look him in the eye and say loudly and clearly, ‘Back up you creep, get away from me. I know you love to intimidate women but you can’t intimidate me. So back up.”
Clinton writes that she went with the first option instead — keeping her cool, aided by what she referred to as a “lifetime of difficult men trying to throw me off.” The former candidate said she gripped her microphone extra hard during the tense debate, conceding that perhaps she has “over-learned the lesson of staying calm, biting my tongue, digging my fingernails into a clenched fist, smiling all the while, determined to present a composed face to the world.”
As Allahpundit pointed out at the time, Democrats have a little history with “difficult men” trying to throw off a debate opponent by stalking them, too. Was this also sexism, or was it just a pitiful attempt at alpha-male signaling?
At any rate, Hillary went on the “Ellen” show to tell Ellen DeGeneres about her debate ordeal shortly afterward to make the same argument in brief that she does in the book, right down to the Access Hollywood reference. Trump tried to “dominate the space to the exclusion of everyone else,” she told Ellen. “I tried to keep my composure,” she continued, to “deal with the string of accusations” Trump brought up in the debate:
Oddly, Hillary didn’t share all of the internal dialogue with Ellen at the time that now comes out in the book. That’s the only new part of this complaint, and needless to say, it doesn’t reflect well on Hillary. She frames this as a kind of assault with herself frozen in victimhood and unsure whether to call him out for this sexist transgression. That, however, doesn’t quite line up with the reality of the debate, in which CNN host Anderson Cooper directly alleged that Trump had bragged about sexual assault in the Access Hollywood out-take:
COOPER: Thank you, Mr. Trump. The question from Patrice was about are you both modeling positive and appropriate behavior for today’s youth? We received a lot of questions online, Mr. Trump, about the tape that was released on Friday, as you can imagine. You called what you said locker room banter. You described kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals. That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?
TRUMP: No, I didn’t say that at all. I don’t think you understood what was — this was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it. I apologize to my family. I apologize to the American people. Certainly I’m not proud of it. But this is locker room talk.
Wouldn’t that have been a perfect opening for Hillary to stop digging her nails into her palms and speak up? She didn’t hold back when it came to discussing the comments:
CLINTON: … What we all saw and heard on Friday was Donald talking about women, what he thinks about women, what he does to women. And he has said that the video doesn’t represent who he is.
But I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly who he is. Because we’ve seen this throughout the campaign. We have seen him insult women. We’ve seen him rate women on their appearance, ranking them from one to ten. We’ve seen him embarrass women on TV and on Twitter. We saw him after the first debate spend nearly a week denigrating a former Miss Universe in the harshest, most personal terms.
So, yes, this is who Donald Trump is. But it’s not only women, and it’s not only this video that raises questions about his fitness to be our president, because he has also targeted immigrants, African- Americans, Latinos, people with disabilities, POWs, Muslims, and so many others.
So this is who Donald Trump is. And the question for us, the question our country must answer is that this is not who we are. That’s why — to go back to your question — I want to send a message — we all should — to every boy and girl and, indeed, to the entire world that America already is great, but we are great because we are good, and we will respect one another, and we will work with one another, and we will celebrate our diversity.
And later in the debate, Cooper provided her another opening when he challenged Hillary’s “deplorables” comment. She directed that criticism back on Trump, and could have easily pointed out his “stalking” behavior as evidence:
COOPER: Secretary Clinton, your two minutes is up. I want to follow up on something that Donald Trump actually said to you, a comment you made last month. You said that half of Donald Trump’s supporters are, quote, “deplorables, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic.” You later said you regretted saying half. You didn’t express regret for using the term “deplorables.” To Mr. Carter’s question, how can you unite a country if you’ve written off tens of millions of Americans?
CLINTON: Well, within hours I said that I was sorry about the way I talked about that, because my argument is not with his supporters. It’s with him and with the hateful and divisive campaign that he has run, and the inciting of violence at his rallies, and the very brutal kinds of comments about not just women, but all Americans, all kinds of Americans.
And what he has said about African-Americans and Latinos, about Muslims, about POWs, about immigrants, about people with disabilities, he’s never apologized for. And so I do think that a lot of the tone and tenor that he has said — I’m proud of the campaign that Bernie Sanders and I ran. We ran a campaign based on issues, not insults. And he is supporting me 100 percent.
Trump clearly did pull an Al Gore during the debate, and all this book proves is that he succeeded in getting in her head and staying there. She made this argument weeks before the election; it didn’t move the needle then, and it won’t sell to anyone outside the true believers now. If this is the cream of the material provided for What Happened, bet on book buyers asking that as a question after reading through an expensive rehash of Hillary Clinton excuses and rationalizations over the last nine months.