SocraticGadfly: I come to bury Clinton, not to praise her

November 09, 2016

I come to bury Clinton, not to praise her

Unlike Mark Antony with Julius Caesar, I speak a straight statement, not a rhetorical trope, too.

Well, actually, Hillary Rodham Clinton (you can go back to Rodham as the last name again, with the last campaign) buried herself. I'm just here to read a few words of "why" over the dead.

First, as the title of a long-featured early February blog post of mine says: Many Clintonistas seemingly think Hillary's shit doesn't stink. There's a whole laundry list there, most of which items have gotten even worse, not better, as we've gotten closer to the election. Tribalism, condescension, a sense of entitlement and more have been greatly displayed in the last month or so. It's been even more greatly displayed during the minutes I was writing this, as has been a huge lack of self-examination.
And, it's not just me. Thomas Frank notes a lot of the same, specifically of the hagiographic media:

Update: Corey Pein at the Baffler does even better, and more scathingly, than Thomas Frank! 

Skeptics™have been the worst with a lot of this. (Of course, they've evinced ever more tribalism in recent months over many other issues. That's why I had such a laugh when John Horgan called them out this spring.) And, I have no doubt they will, on average, get worse rather than better in the near future.

Even worse for the campaign, perhaps, as Wikileaks made clear over the last month, Clinton thought her own shit didn't stink.

Her own staff, especially Neera Tanden and John Podesta, repeatedly talked about her lack of political acumen and intuition. A good example from the just-completed election? She never visited Wisconsin after April.

Related to that, also from those leaked emails, was her own staff's advice to ixnay the speeches to banksters in 2014, as an official campaign announcement neared, and some staff speculated at a challenge from the left. And, not only did she still give the speeches, she just didn't "get it."

Of course, the whole private email server was a killer. Yes, some of her staff will defend her by pointing to her fear of that "vast right wing conspiracy." Well, that might be one thing. Lying about Colin Powell's advice, just a couple of months before the election, shows that it went beyond that, though. Secretiveness, not just general secrecy, was a problem.

Second, following up on the political intuition issue, she just wasn't a good campaigner. When I wrote this piece saying she didn't "need" my vote, I said she was in the position of becoming today's Tom Dewey. And, she did. Her and her backers and handlers and supporters all dissing Bernie Sanders supporters at the Democratic National Convention was a huge mistake. Thinking that they would blindly follow him was a huge mistake too — and by Bernie, too, who now will be unable to cash in his 30 pieces of silver.

And, she had bad ideas otherwise. Rather than courting Berniecrats, she courted Republicans. And failed:
That says it all.

Third, presumptuousness. Team Clinton, and everyday Clintonistas, assumed the Trump on tape, or his tax breaks, would backfire. I think Joe the Plumber types saw the tax breaks issue as a mix of Trump genius, Trump due, and belief in GOP tax cutting, as stupid as that may be.

The sexual crudeness? Here in red-state Texas, woman Trump backers that I know of never mentioned the issue. Maybe the reverse Bradley effect happened in part there, in that many Trump backers weren't ashamed of that publicly or privately in the first place. And in hindsight, I should have paid attention to my intuition more with that and not to Nate Silver's knobs and buttons on fine tuning his guesstimates.

Friend Brains incorporates many of the same ideas, including a bit of joined lament about not listening to our instincts or whatever on the horse-race side and being more prepared in advance for a Clinton loss. After all, Bernie's upset win in the Michigan primary was a major harbinger.


For the future, theoretically, the Dems have a great chance in 2020. They're probably going to get crushed in 2018 Senate races, but I expect a recession after that, with President Trump and the GOP Congress totally fucking up how they handle it.

But, the Dems' Senate bench is weak and its gubernatorial bench may be weaker still. We'll see, won't we?

Meanwhile, here's a larger Democratic election post-mortem.


PDiddie said...

Well done. Still composing my thoughts but this will feature prominently at my shop.

paintedjaguar said...

I'm not happy that someone as ridiculous as Trump will be in the White House, but Hillary deserved to lose -- and frankly so did her willfully blind, ardent fans. I doubt there's much use in saying "I told you so" of course.

However there is a bright bit of stuff at the bottom of the wretched Pandora's box of this election season. Both of the major dynastic establishment candidates - Hillary and Jeb Bush - lost, and lost big. That's a good thing.