There seems to be a great divide observed by the late, great, Christopher Hitchens, ‘between those who think that a job simply must be found for Hillary Clinton, and those that could bloody well do without her.’ After her loss to Trump, the vast majority of the population these days could very well do without her. She would be very well situated to disappear into the Washington Speakers Bureau or the woodlands of upstate New York. Instead, she has embarked on a tour of the world which, far from being an apology tour, seems to be a tour of validation in which she blames everyone but herself for her failures in 2016.
This is peculiar, because in any election you’d assume that the primary responsibility for the outcome of that election rests upon the individual that actually loses it, and all the bad decisions that such a candidate must have made over the course of the campaign. This is especially relevant to elections that commentators regard as ‘unlosable’.
And yet, Hillary Clinton, in typical Clinton style, seems to be remarkably good at outsourcing the blame for her loss. Over the 30 or so years that HRC has been in American and global public life, she has done a remarkable job of getting herself appointed to positions by virtue of the political capital she has accumulated and little else, and then shifting the narrative to her own advantage when it turns out that (surprise, surprise) she wasn’t actually very good at the position; either framing it as a victory for herself or outsourcing the failures of the initiative to her advisors, opponents, or social forces (most politicians tend to work within these bounds, but being a true Clinton, HRC expects immunity from them).
For example, as first Lady, one of her main public policy initiatives was to get comprehensive health care legislation passed into law. The legislation failed to pass even the House of Representatives. However, she managed to frame even the intention and attempt of passing healthcare law as a great victory for the Clinton brand.
Similarly, she got herself elected, sorry, appointed, to be Senator for New York – the most heavily Democratic state in the Union. What did she do with that coveted position and the accompanying political capital? Initiate no legislation, and make no significant speeches. Once again, she managed to frame this in a bizarre manner in the 2016 democratic primary debate as if merely being Senator for New York during 9/11 somehow constituted an achievement in and of itself. ‘I represented New York, and I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked. Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild.’ What exactly that constituted, or what exact sacrifices that involved, she failed to specify.
In 2008, she marched to the primaries as if to claim what was rightly owed to her – only to be convincingly beaten by a one-term Senator from Illinois with no prior name recognition. Again, her political capital allowed her to turn what would condemn other politicians to the wilderness (literally and figuratively) into something of a victory. Duly appointed Secretary of State, she proceeded to preside over the disintegration of the Middle-East without any coherent policy stance whatsoever.
Clinton’s interventions failed to produce any meaningful regime change, to the point that large swathes of the Middle-East were, at the conclusion of her tenure, under the control of a militant group that even Al-Qaeda had disowned for being too extremist. Once again, despite the fact that President Obama openly and explicitly said that the Libya Intervention was a failure, Clinton framed it merely days later on the campaign trail as her crowning achievement.
In this case, we again see this mixture of outsourcing and re-framing to justify how she, a woman of remarkable experience, could have possibly lost to a vile bankrupted Brooklyn real estate agent. Normally in elections – especially ‘unlosable’ ones – the responsibility for failure lies with the individual at the heart of the campaign. Somehow, HRC, in a manner reminiscent of the political class, is remarkably deft at blaming everyone bar herself for this loss and the endless White House pantomime we have been living with since.
Why is it that people aren’t blaming her for being out of touch with working class states that ultimately swayed the election? Why is it that she isn’t being blamed for deliberately shutting out competent and able democrats – winnable democrats – from getting in the way of her coveted Presidency? Why is it that people aren’t blaming her for standing – as the epitome of the elite – at a time when antipathy towards elites was at a generational high? If I were a left-wing Democrat in America, I’d be furious at the disastrously incompetent campaign she ran, and the way it has doomed American liberalism – by losing the unlosable election – for a generation to come. She would be well advised to quietly say her goodbyes and go off into the night.