In citing her male predecessors, Clinton seemed to miss a glaring difference: These guys did not build their post-presidential-campaign personas around relitigating their ill-fated races and seizing every opportunity to shift the blame.
A shell-shocked Romney came the closest, briefly attributing his failure to Barack Obama’s having given “a lot of stuff,” most notably health care, to minority voters. (And he got dinged for his grousing before moving on.) Kerry and McCain swiftly reimmersed themselves in the business of the Senate. And Gore? He is the worst person for Clinton to compare herself to. While his loss was to a less humiliating opponent than Clinton’s, the experience itself was more excruciating. The nightmare didn’t end for Gore on Election Night; it dragged on and on for weeks as the nation tore itself apart over hanging chads and butterfly ballots and, yes, the fairness of the Electoral College. But when things ultimately didn’t break his way, Gore did not shift his energies to trashing the Supreme Court or the Florida secretary of state or the political media (which had unquestionably been rougher on him than on his opponent). He temporarily left the public stage and stayed mum on matters of big-P politics. When he reemerged, it wasn’t to moan about what a travesty 2000 had been; it was to promote a cause long dear to him.
Gore, if anything, presents an alternative model for Clinton. If she wants her next act to be as a women’s-rights champion or global ambassador for the Clinton Foundation or diplomat (post-Trump, of course) or even the next mayor of New York, she should go for it. She should stand up, speak out, and let her star shine.