What Happened?
September 22, 2017 9:11 PM   Subscribe

Hllary Clinton's book What Happened set sales records amid a mass fake review campaign. She's on tour to support her book. So what did happen? "I understood that there were many Americans who, because of the financial crash, there was anger. And there was resentment. I knew that. But I believed that it was my responsibility to try to offer answers to it, not to fan it. I think, Jane, that it was a mistake because a lot of people didn't want to hear my plans. They wanted me to share their anger. And I should've done a better job of demonstrating 'I get it.'"

Defiant Hillary Clinton Still Releasing Book Tuesday, Even Though At Least 10 Men Think She Shouldn’t, so let's read some real reviews and an alternate title:
Politico: The Strange Authenticity of Hillary Clinton
Her book suggests, though, that the person we’ve seen over the past quarter-century, and the person we watched seek the presidency twice, is the authentic Hillary. In fact, to judge by her book, she may have been the most authentic person in the race. The lengthy analysis of why voters behaved as they did, the detailed accounts of the programs she intended to pursue as president, the ways in which racism and misogyny played out in blatant and subtle forms, all paint the picture of a very smart, deeply engaged self-described “policy wonk,” who is consumed by the need to conquer problems with an army of data-driven policies, and whose instinctive resistance to visionary politics proved to be one of her biggest handicaps in her (presumably) last run.

And if she seemed out of touch and unable to connect to voters in a changed America—unable to understand why a significant majority of voters saw her as untrustworthy—well, in a sense, What Happened suggests that that was “authentic” too, the flaw of a person who still retains blind spots in trying to understand the limits of her appeal.
Hillary Clinton Is Sorry, Not Sorry
When the press started reporting on the emails, it had no way of knowing what ultimate shape they would take by the time the State Department released the last one. In this, the story shares a lot with other unfolding stories: Nobody knows for sure whether a story was “overcovered” or “undercovered” until the news spigot runs dry. (The same holds for our current saturation coverage of the Trump Tower scandal.) In giving saturation coverage to the emails of the presumptive next president of the United States, the press did the right thing for readers. And readers come before Clinton in my pecking order.
Huffington Post: What Should Have Happened In Hillary Clinton's Useless Book Sam Kriss
To be fair, Clinton acknowledges that she made mistakes — but they are all of a particular type. Her optics were faulty; her messaging went out of tune. She didn’t successfully communicate how great and progressive she really is, how wrong you were to dislike her. This is a politician who never made craven or reactionary decisions, just tough choices and hard compromises. Her wars are glossed over; her racist 2008 campaign disappears almost entirely; her support for the Honduran coup regime that murdered Berta Cáceres is unmentionable, disappearing into a warm fug of “kindness and love.” Sometimes it’s even more direct. “I have friends who get frustrated with their spouses who, instead of listening to them vent about a problem and commiserating, jump straight into trying to solve it. That was my problem with many voters: I skipped the venting and went straight to the solving.” She failed because she was simply too good at making things better.
New York Times: Hillary Clinton Opens Up About ‘What Happened,’ With Candor, Defiance and Dark Humor
“What Happened” is not one book, but many. It is a candid and blackly funny account of her mood in the direct aftermath of losing to Donald J. Trump. It is a post-mortem, in which she is both coroner and corpse. It is a feminist manifesto. It is a score-settling jubilee. It is a rant against James B. Comey, Bernie Sanders, the media, James B. Comey, Vladimir Putin and James B. Comey. It is a primer on Russian spying. It is a thumping of Trump. (“I sometimes wonder: If you add together his time spent on golf, Twitter and cable news,” she writes, “what’s left?”)

It is worth reading. Winning the popular vote by nearly 3 million may not have been enough to shatter the country’s highest, hardest glass ceiling. But it seems to have put 2,864,974 extra cracks in Clinton’s reserve.
LA Times: 'What Happened' in 2016? Hillary Clinton still doesn't know
And that, judging from the many excerpts that have leaked, is exactly what Clinton’s book is: a long and dutiful post-mortem on how she lost to an unqualified blowhard who was even less popular than she was.

Clinton doesn’t spare herself from blame. She admits mistakes large and small. “It’s fair to say that I didn’t realize how quickly the ground was shifting under our feet,” she writes. She acknowledges that she never came up with a theme as compelling as Trump’s “Make America Great Again.”

But she doesn’t spare anyone else from blame, either. Her list of the guilty begins with James Comey, Julian Assange and Vladimir Putin, all justifiably.
you should read this one
The New Yorker: Hillary Clinton Looks Back In Anger, David Remnick
“There are times when all I want to do is scream into a pillow,” Clinton admits in a raw memoir, both apologetic and apoplectic, called “What Happened.” Clinton describes the daily activity of working on the book with her collaborators, two former speechwriters and a researcher, as “cathartic.” They spent long sessions at her house talking through the details of the campaign, exchanging notes, suggestions, edits. But, as Clinton said when we met recently for a long conversation, the process of thinking about it all—Trump looming over her like a predator at the second debate, the incessant drumbeat of “e-mails, e-mails, e-mails,” awaking from a nap on Election Night and being told that Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and the election itself had all slipped away—was like willfully reënacting a hideous accident. “Literally, at times when I was writing it, I had to go lie down,” she said. “I just couldn’t bear to relive it.”
But, against the advice of some of those closest to her, she has relived it, for publication. Clinton’s memoir radiates with fury at the forces and the figures ranged against her, but it is also salted with self-searching, grief, bitterness, and fitful attempts to channel and contain that fury. At one point, she writes, “Breathe out. Scream later.”
NPR: Who Is 'What Happened' For? Maybe Hillary Clinton Most Of All
And while Clinton is sorry that she made a mistake — "I regret handing Trump a political gift with my 'deplorables' comment" — she is not sorry for the sentiment itself: "Too many of Trump's core supporters do hold views that I find — there's no other word for it — deplorable."

This kind of "I'm sorry for this, but not that" moments are plentiful in What Happened. Clinton addresses the accusation that her campaign had no clear message for struggling Americans: "We can debate whether my economic message was effective, but you can't claim I didn't have one." Or as she says of her decision to use a private email server (her emails get a whole chapter): "It was a dumb mistake. But an even dumber scandal."
Jezebel: Hillary Clinton's What Happened Is Whatever You Want It to Be , Stassa Edwards
And yet, for all of the acrimony that’s preceded the book, and the more that’s sure to follow, What Happened lays claim to one overlooked piece of history: it joins the “literature of defeat” as the first written by a woman, the first to directly address the role of sexism in American politics. What Happened delves directly into Clinton’s feelings about sexism, recounting sadness and her post-election wounds with unusual candor.
Vanity Fair has three pieces: Clinton Not Impressed By Universe's Cruel Sense Of Irony, Clinton Blames Bernie,delusion "Bernie Bros" For Loss, A Brief List Of People Clinton Blames For Her Election Loss, if you feel like reading reviews from yet another person who didn't read the book.

Slate: Hillary Clinton’s Book Tour Is a Dose of Much-Needed Therapy for Her Fans, Christina Cauterucci

and the usual Politifact skim.

Get a grip, Democrats: Clinton’s book is not your biggest problem

So why are the media reviews negative? 538 and Nate Silver know why - "I’m repeating myself here, but a lot of the admonitions that Clinton is getting from the press are about the media pre-empting discussions that could make them look bad and call into question their editorial decision-making."
Also,The Comey Letter Probably Cost Clinton The Election, So why won’t the media admit as much?. Similarly fromEsquire, Will The New York Times Ever Fix Its Clinton Problem?

Hillary Clinton’s What Happened and its place in feminist history, explained
The chapter, which seems destined to be read as a standalone work, won’t convince Clinton’s critics that she’s worth their attention. It’s unlikely to make any Trump supporters regret their votes. But it will explain to future generations what it was like to be the first female candidate to be nominated by a major party for the presidency of the United States. Whether it helps the next female candidate remains to be seen. But at the very least, it will show her — and anyone else who’s willing to listen — what she’s up against.
Clinton is right to criticize the media. Demands to the contrary show the double standard she faced.
In (Partial) Defense Of Hillary Clinton
If Trump won because of Clinton’s mistakes, then we don’t need to ask hard questions
I understand why people want to castigate Clinton, and why they want to see Clinton castigate herself. Her loss devastated many, and her mistakes offer an easy answer to an election that poses awful questions. If Trump won merely because Clinton was such a crummy candidate, then we don’t have to ask how someone like Trump could win, and whether it could happen again, perhaps with someone even worse.
What Hillary Clinton really thinks
This is the kind of transformative vision that Clinton was often criticized for not having. It’s an idea bigger than a wall, perhaps bigger even than single-payer health care or free college. But she couldn’t make the numbers work. Every version of the plan she tried either raised taxes too high or slashed essential programs. So she scrapped it. “That was the responsible decision,” she writes. But after the 2016 election, Clinton is no longer sure that “responsible” is the right litmus test for campaign rhetoric. “I wonder now whether we should’ve thrown caution to the wind, embraced [it] as a long-term goal and figured out the details later,” she writes.

The 13 Deepest Burns in Hillary Clinton's Book What Happened
28 Things We Learned From Hillary Clinton’s New Campaign Memoir

Hillary Clinton and America Ferrera on Pain and Progress (and Hiking)
HC: I don’t think it’s either/or. I’ve seen all kinds of strategies to promote change: marching, burning bras, invading corporate spaces. I’ve read excellent essays and heard moving speeches. Some people will respond to reasonable arguments; others have to be confronted. It’s a constant balancing act. But one thing I’ve learned is that if you’re going to be angry, be angry on behalf of a cause bigger than yourself, on behalf of someone other than yourself. I didn’t call out Trump for stalking me around the debate stage. I was running for president; it would be used against me. But there have been many times when I called out someone for how they were treating other people. It was absolutely the way to go.
Hillary Clinton Is Furious. And Resigned. And Funny. And Worried., Rebecca Traister
After the exchange, Clinton and her aides had appeared upbeat. The crowd had been enthusiastic, and there was a sense that Clinton had done something that she has long found difficult in public: She had been herself — brassy, frank, funny, and pissed. But on cable news and social media, another reaction was taking shape. The New York Times’ Glenn Thrush, who has reported on Clinton for years, tweeted “mea culpa-not so much,” suggesting that the former candidate “blames everyone but self.” Obama-campaign strategist turned pundit David Axelrod gave an interview claiming that while Clinton “said the words ‘I’m responsible’ … everything else suggested that she really doesn’t feel that way.” Joe Scarborough called her comments “pathetic”; David Gregory suggested she was not “taking real responsibility for the fact that she was not what the country wanted.” And in the Daily News, Gersh Kuntzman delivered a column that began, “Hey, Hillary Clinton, shut the f— up and go away already.”

Later, Amanpour would tell me how surprised she was by the negative reaction. “The idea that she shouldn’t mention the Comey letter when the entire nation and the most respected statisticians are considering its impact is so strange,” she said. “If she were a man, would she be allowed to mention it? As a woman, I am offended by the double standards applied here. Everyone shrieks that Hillary was a bad candidate, but was Trump a good candidate?”
Is it really time for Hillary Clinton to bow out of public life?

Hillary Clinton Is Finally Expressing Some Righteous Anger. Why Does That Make Everyone Else So Mad?, Rebecca Traister
And perhaps the reason the press, and some of Clinton’s critics on both right and left, react to her legitimate, if arguable, critiques by furiously wishing for her silence is the same reason women’s public airing of fury has long been discouraged and cast as irrational: because if we allowed women’s resentments the same bearing we afford men’s grudges, America would be forced to reckon with the fact that all those angry women might just have a point.
Hillary Clinton almost ran for president on a universal basic income
What's Next For Hillary Clinton?
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Actually Kind of Agree on the Future of the Democratic Party
posted by the man of twists and turns (395 comments total) 114 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't think that Hillary could ever have expressed "I get it" to the American public in a way that they would have believed. People either thought it was Her Turn, or they thought she was trying to be a part of a presidential dynasty (and supporting or denigrating that), or they thought she was a criminal. I've not talked to anyone in the past 18 months who thought anything else about her.

She was the wrong candidate at the wrong time and her campaign was too self-assured about its victory to see that it had blind spots that her reality media opponent would exploit. Because she thought she was running in a traditional way but it was really a reality television contest.

I fucking hate American politics.
posted by hippybear at 9:24 PM on September 22 [44 favorites]


I like that this post starts out as a huge thread.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 9:28 PM on September 22 [37 favorites]


Wow, thank you for this amazing post! I'm about 100 pages into the book... taking it slow because I get too depressed if I read it for long.
posted by potrzebie at 9:29 PM on September 22 [2 favorites]


I've not talked to anyone in the past 18 months who thought anything else about her.

Then you haven't talked to me. Or listened to a lot of people on this site.
posted by tavella at 9:42 PM on September 22 [118 favorites]


"She was the wrong candidate at the wrong time and her campaign was too self-assured about its victory . . ."

That. Is. It.

I know tons of life-long and young Democratic voters who loathed Hillary for many reasons and refused to vote at all.

She still won the popular vote but . . . who is president now? Not Hillary,

Because of the DNP's bullshit of allowing Hillary to self-nominate and the activities the DNP engadged in to remove Bernie as a candidate, the national Democratic Party lost a generation of life-long voters who realize that their caring and vote is worthless.

Do you hear this in the Democratic media circus? No, because that is all "important people" talking to "important people."

The real test will be who actually votes for the Democratic presidential candidate in 2020 and how many voters who would presumably/historically vote for a Democratic presidential candidate instead go,

"FTFY, I'm not voting."
posted by ITravelMontana at 9:43 PM on September 22 [34 favorites]




I have seen a whole bunch of pullquotes and I know that if I tried to read the whole book, I would probably go apoplectic between the out-of-touch-ness and the continued defense of wonkishness and centrism. I did like this piece from Salon, which points out that Clinton was both victim of a very real sexism and vast right-wing conspiracy and a had many important flaws.

Anyway, here are two of my favorite takes so far on the book that are not cited in the giant FPP.

Sarah Jones, "Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Get It" The New Republic (September 13, 2017)

Katherine Krueger, "Hillary Clinton Will Never Understand What Happened" Splinternews (September 19, 2017)
posted by dhens at 9:47 PM on September 22 [19 favorites]


Then you haven't talked to me. Or listened to a lot of people on this site.

Oh? The opinions here seem to have been "yeah, it's going to be her, anoint her with oil" or "yeah, she's problematic, but she has decades of experience and she'd do an excellent job" or "lock her up lock her up I don't trust her as far as I could throw a Mac truck".

I've listened. Believe me, I have.
posted by hippybear at 9:48 PM on September 22 [17 favorites]


This is the kind of transformative vision that Clinton was often criticized for not having. It’s an idea bigger than a wall, perhaps bigger even than single-payer health care or free college. But she couldn’t make the numbers work....“I wonder now whether we should’ve thrown caution to the wind, embraced [it] as a long-term goal and figured out the details later,” she writes.

Here's the thing: you don't have to have all the details ironed out. FDR didn't. JFK didn't. Obama didn't. I wish we had gotten that campaign.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:49 PM on September 22 [15 favorites]


When Nate Silver wrote this I wanted it skywritten in the largest letters possible. I'm going to quote your post quoting Nate Silver quoting Nate Silver for the MFT:
a lot of the admonitions that Clinton is getting from the press are about the media pre-empting discussions that could make them look bad and call into question their editorial decision-making.
posted by Jpfed at 9:50 PM on September 22 [133 favorites]


Oh thank you so much for this post!!!
posted by Dressed to Kill at 9:51 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


For being so competent, she sure hired a cadre of completely embarrassing assholes to run her campaign.

Verrit.com authentication code: 0674562
posted by codacorolla at 9:51 PM on September 22 [36 favorites]


I made a mistake in my post. the book is titled What Happened , not What Happened?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:52 PM on September 22


Also, does Clinton mention her vacations with Henry Kissinger and his family in What Happened?
posted by dhens at 9:52 PM on September 22 [10 favorites]


[Fixed the book title]
posted by restless_nomad at 9:53 PM on September 22


Then you haven't talked to me. Or listened to a lot of people on this site.

Metafilter is Hillary's #1Fan Club. Literally everybody I know IRL who voted for Hillary was holding their nose to do it. Hell, she won the popular vote and lost the election in the 08 primary, too.

I was done with The Clintons when Billy got caught dipping his pen in the company inkwell. Yes, I know she's not her husband. Fair or not - the Clinton name stands for everything that the Democratic Party has done and got wrong over the past ~30 years - and Hillary has made her own contributions to that reputation.

Under the Clintonesque triangulating Dem leadership, we've gotten 34 R states, Congress, SCOTUS and Trump.

The sooner Dems can put The Clinton Era behind them, the better off they'll be. America needs better Democrats.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:54 PM on September 22 [57 favorites]


I mean, none of the Clinton critiques are bringing anything new to the table. Are you hoping to change minds? Cause we're almost 10 months into the Trump presidency and I haven't regretted my vote at all. I've regretted not doing enough, but I certainly do not take back any of my support for Clinton. AT ALL.
posted by FJT at 9:55 PM on September 22 [109 favorites]


Presidents are allowed to have flaws; name one who didn't. There's a difference between someone who has made mistakes and questionable decisions in public and someone who is a human dumpster fire, who has always been a human dumpster fire, and whose so-called administration finds new ways of dumping 10,000 gallons of jet fuel on the fire each and every day. And Nate Silver is 100% right on about this: all of this naked, wretched vindictiveness is a shabby cover for her would-be critics' inability to admit to their own culpability in putting the human dumpster fire in power.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:56 PM on September 22 [161 favorites]


I think Hillary is the one trying to change minds. Why this book, and why now? And why the rehabilitation campaign that is utterly ineffective?

She should have just stepped back. Instead she is still seeking a spotlight. And unlike Gore, it's about her, not about the entire planet.*

*unsure she knows the difference
posted by hippybear at 9:58 PM on September 22 [12 favorites]


I voted for Clinton this past November and I would do it again and again until the end of time. And hey, I support Clinton's decision to publish the book. As was mentioned earlier, it is in fact a fundamentally honest viewpoint into Clinton's world. But I should be able to criticize the book and the worldview it represents.
posted by dhens at 10:00 PM on September 22 [12 favorites]


Oh? The opinions here seem to have been "yeah, it's going to be her, anoint her with oil" or "yeah, she's problematic, but she has decades of experience and she'd do an excellent job" or "lock her up lock her up I don't trust her as far as I could throw a Mac truck".

I've listened. Believe me


no
posted by duffell at 10:02 PM on September 22 [48 favorites]


I think Clinton has a last chance to become a true political force by going full gonzo on the political establishment. Do to the left and democrats what Trump did to the right and Republicans. A radical and decisive platform for the American left and nightmare fuel for the right.

Edit: Pretty sure that I just described Bernie Sanders campaign.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:03 PM on September 22 [16 favorites]


Also, did you all see about the book tour for which Clinton evoked the memory of Heather Heyer? Bonus, in the same letter Clinton mentions the "Run for Something" organization, which, while having a good mission, is apparently named after the comment that Clinton blurted out when a Somali-American confronted her about her "superpredator" speech.
posted by dhens at 10:06 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


"yeah, she's problematic, but she has decades of experience and she'd do an excellent job"

This doesn't map to any of the three options you initially presented. Nor does it describe my feelings about Clinton. Its almost as if your drive by snark was overly simplistic!
posted by great_radio at 10:11 PM on September 22 [29 favorites]


Well, Bill Clinton going off on how dumb Obamacare is didn't do her campaign any favours.
posted by asra at 10:15 PM on September 22 [3 favorites]


"If only you had done better / not been who you are / heeded MY advice, you would have spared us of President Trump!" -- collective howling of the punditry.

What the book did was to provide a perfect primer that induced the occasion in which such howling could be pertinent.

From Ezra Klein, linked in FPP:
Imagine a slightly alternate universe. Let’s take Nate Silver’s estimate that the Comey letter cost Clinton about 3 percentage points in the election. Imagine it never happened. Now Clinton wins the Electoral College, and lands a bigger popular vote victory than Barack Obama did against Mitt Romney.

In that world, are we talking about what an awful race President Clinton ran? We aren’t. But that is a world in which Trump — with all he revealed during the campaign about his lack of discipline, his casual cruelty, his disinterest in policy, his penchant for conspiracy theories — still won about 44 percent of the vote.
The punditry often say collectively that Clinton is the only candidate who could lose to Trump. The fact, as demonstrated by what has been happening in the Trump administration, is that Trump is the only candidate who can beat Clinton [linking to Sam Kriss's entry for HuffPost, also linked in FPP. This Kriss being Kriss, so you've been warned.].

Trump is much closer to the ideal of America than Clinton has ever been. Clinton is the better candidate but America deserves Trump. Nailing Clinton on the rhetorical cross will not redeem this.
posted by runcifex at 10:15 PM on September 22 [78 favorites]


This is a tough subject. It feels hard to criticize HRC without coming off as an asshole, but geez man. She lost to Donald Trump. She was so hated, by so, so many people, that Trump is president now. I know that there were a lot of things conspiring against her. I know she was treated unfairly by many in the media. I know the Comey thing was probably the straw that broke the camel's back. But good lord. Emails? Emails are what kept her from getting elected? That is some weak sauce. If your campaign can't get past emails, then you have a bigger problem.

I get why she wrote this book, repairing her legacy and all. But at the end of the day, I suspect that Donald Trump's legacy will be that of the worst president in US history, and HRC's will be that of the person who lost to him.
posted by nushustu at 10:19 PM on September 22 [33 favorites]


> She should have just stepped back.

Indeed. How dare she not follow the long tradition of losing Presidential candidates disappearing from public life. I really wish CNN would do a "Where Are They Now" program featuring all those losers like Jimmy Carter, Mitt Romney, and John McCain so we can figure out what ever happened to them.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:23 PM on September 22 [147 favorites]


Why this book, and why now?

Yeah, it's not like there are any other loser candidates who just put out books or anything.
posted by praemunire at 10:23 PM on September 22 [13 favorites]


I was done with The Clintons when Billy got caught dipping his pen in the company inkwell. Yes, I know she's not her husband. Fair or not - the Clinton name stands for everything that the Democratic Party has done and got wrong over the past ~30 years - and Hillary has made her own contributions to that reputation.

No. Not fair. There are plenty of reasons people Hillary Clinton, and you chose this one? You cannot stand her because her husband had an affair? Of all the things she's done in her life, the one you have chosen to highlight is the shitty situation she was put in by a man? (I, uh, started to use the word "sucktastic there, which is both fitting and so not fitting.) You could have pulled out a dozen reasons, and yet the behavior of her husband is the one that does it for you? Why?

It's deeply frustrating that nearly everybody has chosen to use this thread to offer a drive-by comment on why they happen to hate Hillary Clinton and why she's terrible for not disappearing from the face of the earth forever rather than engaging with what she actually wrote or any of the 8,000 links that have been so thoughtfully provided that quote her and discuss what she actually wrote.
posted by zachlipton at 10:25 PM on September 22 [203 favorites]


[Also, I quoted Kriss merely for his soundbite "Only a Trump could defeat a Clinton." I think it's true, but the reason why it is true wasn't what Kriss pounded on in his piece.]
posted by runcifex at 10:28 PM on September 22


Next time get a candidate who won't willfully make another $10 mil in book deals off a failed presidential bid. This shit looks bad when any pol does it, and it especially looks bad for members of the "people's party" and especially looks badder when you come from a very rich family while acting "What-Me-Wall-Street?", that rhetoric/propaganda that in part sunk Clinton's bid.

Here's an idea/constitutional amendment: for politicians with net worths over $x million, put your biography under a CC-noncommercial license and then you won't appear to be cashing in, or actually cashing in. Can apply to speeches too. Direct to charity.
posted by sylvanshine at 10:29 PM on September 22 [17 favorites]


As far as I'm concerned the electoral college had one job, and blew it.
posted by bigbigdog at 10:30 PM on September 22 [29 favorites]


Oh, cool! Finally a thread where we can relitigate the primaries. I've been so looking forward to hearing about Bernie Sanders again. Jeezus...
posted by gusottertrout at 10:31 PM on September 22 [64 favorites]


she won the popular vote and lost the election in the 08 primary

Because she stayed on the ballot in Michigan, which had moved its primary without the national party's consent and which was supposed to have been stripped of its delegates, while Obama and almost all of the other candidates followed the advice of the party and removed themselves from the ballot.
posted by dhens at 10:33 PM on September 22 [3 favorites]


So what if she makes money from books or speeches? The Clintons are actually pretty impressive philanthropists. Donald Trump is a billionaire who has given almost nothing to charity. And yet how did that work out?
posted by knoyers at 10:33 PM on September 22 [42 favorites]


Metafilter is Hillary's #1Fan Club. Literally everybody I know IRL who voted for Hillary was holding their nose to do it.

omfg yes, this. I love you all but the bubble that this site was in...

For my part I like Hillary very much as a person and think she's brilliant, but I was dismayed when she decided to run and became the frontrunner because I didn't think she could win against Generic Republican.

Way, way too much baggage, and the decades of Republican and media assaults (mostly unfair, some not) have made her insular and paranoid which leads to terrible candidate hires and decision-making. (see also: 2008 primary) As I've posted here before, she was also heavily associated with the two massive technocratic failures of the past couple decades: the Iraq War and Wall Street banks.

(I really don't care much about things like the Goldman speeches or the emails, but jesus fuck just release the damned speeches, give the FBI the emails including the personal ones, etc. so we don't have to suffer through the endless dripdripdrip of the news cycle.)

I forget exactly who, but a woman who was interviewed on Pod Save America said the book is like if someone hits your dog with their car and comes over to explain that they swerved because they're deathly allergic to bees and there was a bee in the car and they had to kill it and and and...and the whole time you're sort of like, that's understandable but also MY DOG IS DEAD I DON'T CARE WHY ARE YOU HERE? and that's how I feel.

idk maybe I'll be more open to this in a few years, but right now we're all living through a massive national tragedy, I'm tired, and I'm kind of done with her.
posted by lalex at 10:34 PM on September 22 [92 favorites]


Because she stayed on the ballot in Michigan, which had moved its primary without the national party's consent and which was supposed to have been stripped of its delegates, while Obama and almost all of the other candidates followed the advice of the party and removed themselves from the ballot.

hahaha yes. I immediately know to not take anyone seriously about the 2008 primary if they start acting like Michigan (and Florida!) were legit HRC wins.
posted by lalex at 10:36 PM on September 22 [5 favorites]


I really wish CNN would do a "Where Are They Now" program featuring all those losers like Jimmy Carter, Mitt Romney, and John McCain so we can figure out what ever happened to them.

I'll accept your snark about Romney, less so about Carter (he was actually President and he also has been a public presence in a very clear way since he left office), but McCain had a historic thumbs-down in the Senate recently and also just like earlier today.

What HAS Romney done since his presidential run?

And why do you include McCain in this particular group of people? And why do you exclude the others?

This is a really confusing comment, overall.
posted by hippybear at 10:37 PM on September 22 [5 favorites]


hahaha yes. I immediately know to not take anyone seriously about the 2008 primary if they start acting like Michigan (and Florida!) were legit HRC wins.

Just remember, she had to stay in in case, uh, something happened to Obama.
posted by dhens at 10:38 PM on September 22 [6 favorites]


And why do you include McCain in this particular group of people? And why do you exclude the others?

This is a really confusing comment, overall.


Yeah. I don't hear anyone clamoring for Mondale or Dukakis to put out a tell-all book. (Interestingly, at one point in What Happened, Clinton shouts out to other still-alive failed presidential candidates and does not mention them either.)
posted by dhens at 10:40 PM on September 22 [2 favorites]


And why do you include McCain in this particular group of people?

The unifying thread is the named people at one point failed a presidential bid. Carter lost to Reagan, McCain lost to Obama in 2008, Romney lost to Obama in 2012.
posted by Jpfed at 10:41 PM on September 22 [6 favorites]


I was accused of being a Hillary shill by a BernieBro on Twitter, despite being an Australian. I think that basically sums up my feelings about Hillary: there was no chance that anyone was going to assess her suitability objectively, for or against. Including me, probably; she seemed alright, I imagine I'd vote for her if she moved to Australia, but I had no way to judge whether Americans would see her as basically Policy Grandma or the head of a vast conspiracy to... I don't know.

For instance, in this thread, where the idea that the DNC cleared the path for Hillary despite that not actually being what happened (there were four Democrats in the primary and one Independent who caucused with the Democrats) and discounts that forcing an entire, perpetually fractured party on your side for even a moment requires monumental political skill. But America is not looking for an administrator. They're looking for a personality, preferably one who forcefully stands up in front of a crowd and says what he thinks. The fact that these people are the worst leaders is not something that politics has worked out yet. For instance: Trump is very good at announcing what he thinks. He's really, really great at it. He's so great at it that he can think lots of different things at once, none of which have anything to do with what he eventually does, assuming he does anything at all. A great leader is not a bottleneck.

America deserves Trump. He is the cliche of the ugly American come to life: petty, cruel, boorish, uninterested in anything it didn't come up with itself, and developmentally backwards. The world does not deserve him, but while the world insists on shackling itself to America we are unfortunately stuck with taking him seriously.
posted by Merus at 10:42 PM on September 22 [68 favorites]


Here's the thing: you don't have to have all the details ironed out. FDR didn't. JFK didn't. Obama didn't. I wish we had gotten that campaign.

I haven't read the whole book yet--I read parts of it in the store and since I got a ticket to one of her book tours I'm going to get a copy of the book out of that deal in a few weeks or something. However, from what I recall of the Alaska for America bit and the Bernie bits, (a) it bugs her when people promise ponies and can't deliver them and I totally agree with that, (b) it makes her look bad when she can't give out the ponies, and (c) everyone already hated her for being a woman in politics, so can you imagine the shitshow that would have come from her promising shit she can't deliver? A man can get away with that. She can't and knew it.

Also, how well has "I'm going to promise stupid things like a wall and better healthcare when we don't know how" been going for Trump lately? Or even Bernie lately? That "One, two, skip a few, 99, 100" shit doesn't work. Don't promise shit you have zero idea of how to do. Hell, it doesn't even work when you do it on television while writing, say, Battlestar Galactica.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:44 PM on September 22 [36 favorites]


Carter had already won against Ford. He was POTUS. And he lost, so now he's a loser?
posted by hippybear at 10:44 PM on September 22 [6 favorites]


Oh, cool! Finally a thread where we can relitigate the primaries. I've been so looking forward to hearing about Bernie Sanders again. Jeezus...

I have actually seen very little discussion of Sanders in this thread. I have been disappointed by a lot of his actions since the general election. But he didn't write a grievance-filled, out-of-touch book recently.
posted by dhens at 10:45 PM on September 22 [8 favorites]


America deserves Trump. He is the cliche of the ugly American come to life: petty, cruel, boorish, uninterested in anything it didn't come up with itself, and developmentally backwards. The world does not deserve him, but while the world insists on shackling itself to America we are unfortunately stuck with taking him seriously.

If this were 140 characters I would tweet it and retweet endlessly.
posted by hippybear at 10:46 PM on September 22 [6 favorites]


They're looking for a personality

I think I generally understand where you're coming from here, but this ignores the fact that a non-trivial amount of America didn't see Hillary as a boring administrator. They definitely think she has a big personality, and they HATE that personality. It's nuts and it's unfair, but it's true.
posted by lalex at 10:47 PM on September 22 [11 favorites]


it bugs her when people promise ponies and can't deliver them and I totally agree with that

I too remember MLK Jr.'s famous speech, "I have a series of policy proposals to mitigate racism with a series of reinvestment banks and training programs."
posted by dhens at 10:47 PM on September 22 [38 favorites]


Also, how well has "I'm going to promise stupid things like a wall and better healthcare when we don't know how" been going for Trump lately?

Extremely well, he's the most powerful person on the planet.

Anyways, I'd wager the book mentioned in the first paragraph of this piece about Michiko Kakutani's retirement was this one. I wonder what Kakutani's review would have to say about this horror show of a book.
posted by edeezy at 10:48 PM on September 22 [3 favorites]


America is slowly being choked to death by corporate hegemony and hierarchical power structures. Middle-class whites are finally, finally starting to feel it the way the other demographics have - for at least decades, if not forever and always - and are consequently lashing out while still possessed of the political ignorance they could until recently afford due to privilege.

The Trump campaign and Bernie Sanders' were both tailor-made for this situation. The Clintons have always been the stalwart flagbearers of progressive neoliberalism and it's tough to imagine a worse fit for the national mood as it stood going into the election.

Toss in twenty-five years of Rush Limbaugh and crew poisoning the minds of both the far and center-right and it's actually kind of miraculous that she pulled off a margin of three million in the popular vote.

I think she did as well as she possibly could, frankly. And for all that he's tried to do post-inauguration, Comey has probably done more than anybody to ensure America's downfall in this pendulum swing of world history, instead of the next.

I see two silver linings here:
1) The backlash against the GOP because of Trump looks to be enormous, especially if the full story re: Russia is ever allowed to go public, and can be reduced to a person-on-the-street digestible narrative. I'm not sure what that is, but it involves the word "Traitors". Even taking back the House might be possible, which I had written off for the next twenty years at least.

2) Women have the opportunity for a first woman President that they can be proud of *without* qualification, similar to what Obama was for Black Americans. The women in my life deserve someone at least as good as Elizabeth Warren for their standard-bearer.

Because, full disclosure: I was and remain a Warren Bro. Hillary had my support, as a man it's not my place to decide how women break the ultimate glass ceiling, but I was hoping for better. It's a century past time we saw a woman in that chair; I want it to be someone that history looks back on the way it will Obama.
posted by Ryvar at 10:49 PM on September 22 [24 favorites]


I too remember MLK Jr.'s famous speech, "I have a series of policy proposals to mitigate racism with a series of reinvestment banks and training programs."

Ah yes, his renowned policy speech from when he was running for elected office, I remember it well
posted by duffell at 10:49 PM on September 22 [40 favorites]


> This is a really confusing comment, overall.

Each of the men I mentioned lost a Presidential election but was neither asked to stay out of public life, nor required to wear a hairshirt for the rest of their days, as has been demanded of Clinton.

I also like how Gore gets a pass for breaking this alleged rule because "the planet", as if there's a chance in hell anyone chastising her now would be making an exception even if she were literally walking around hospital wards curing children of cancer with the power of her fucking mind.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:52 PM on September 22 [88 favorites]


The stuff about how she campaigns on realistic goals instead of overpromising reminded me of those polls that were out during the election, where it showed in past races people disliked Clinton while she was running but really liked her after she'd won and started governing. I wonder if that campaign style is reflected in those polls, dislike because she doesn't play the "everyone gets a pony" game but then well liked when she can score victories on the things she did promise.

Of course, part of those polls comes down to sexist attitudes where people don't like ambitious women. But I do wonder if the other thing plays a big part.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:53 PM on September 22 [9 favorites]


Literally everybody I know IRL who voted for Hillary was holding their nose to do it.

I'm floored by anybody is still bringing in their own experience as definitive proof of something. I'm not using this to defend Clinton, but the fact that this still happens is just breaking me right now.

I don't know, but in my world people were all over the place and scared the shit out of me. My mom is not political but loved Clinton, my dad was saying good things about Trump, I genuinely supported her, my brother was 'meh", my high school friend was completely in the Bernie camp, and I had a couple of co-workers that were going the whole nine on speculating on her health and whether she had pneumonia or space cancer or something.

And even then I went to a Trump Rally in my neighborhood and the energy was weird. Two drivers got out of their cars and argued and yelled right outside rally. I've lived in the area for years and that never seen it happen on the street.

Fuck, I still don't know and I'm still trying to process this based on unreliable memory and so much feeling over this period.

But you, I guess everything is clear. So, I guess, good for you?
posted by FJT at 10:55 PM on September 22 [23 favorites]


I genuinely do not understand why policy is a bad thing. Like, Obama's high-minded rhetoric did not actually translate into policy on changing how Washington works or whatever 'hope' was, right? Sure, Americans got a less cruel healthcare system, and there were good reasons for it not working out (that start with R) but that's really my point. Clinton's campaign was all about specifics, and while people didn't want specifics, I doubt anyone except for the people who wanted liberal tears are happy with what counts for Making America Great Again. Meanwhile we know exactly what Clinton intended to do when she got into office and could evaluate her performance pretty easily.

Maybe the Democrat in 2020 should run against the idea of big fat slogans that don't mean anything?
posted by Merus at 10:56 PM on September 22 [13 favorites]


Hell, I give Bush a pass because of PAPFAR. He didn't lose an election, but he's done more to help humans exist on this planet over the past ~15 years than any other ex-president (and based on his presidential policies, not his post-presidential work) than any other living ex-POTUS.
posted by hippybear at 10:57 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


I don't know, Dubya also gave us ISIS. It's kind of swings and roundabouts for me - he did a lot of damage but he also saved countless African lives.
posted by Merus at 11:01 PM on September 22 [6 favorites]


Like, Obama's high-minded rhetoric did not actually translate into action, right?

Not just that but like a year and change ago a lot of the same people calling out Clinton for getting in the weeds on policy instead of grandstanding were excoriating Obama for not fulfilling his promises despite the political realities he was faced with in some of those circumstances. He was like a case study in the kind of flak you take from your own party for overpromising and I have to think that was on Hillary's mind.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:02 PM on September 22 [21 favorites]


I genuinely do not understand why policy is a bad thing. Like, Obama's high-minded rhetoric did not actually translate into action, right?

*headdesk*

Obama's high-minded rhetoric translated into two resounding wins.
posted by joedan at 11:02 PM on September 22 [37 favorites]


At the risk of bringing coals to Newcastle here, on the electoral aspect of What Happened, it's also worth quoting another bit from the 538 piece in addition to what was quoted above. The piece is organized around a detailed discussion of each of the points from this handy (if critical) tweet enumerating 9 different things Clinton blames in her book. The 538 folks finally conclude this epic discussion:
micah: OK, to wrap. It seems like we thought most of these were real factors in Trump winning and Clinton losing?

clare.malone: Yes.

natesilver: You might even say, Micah, that Clinton got closer to The Real Story Of 2016 than most of the media’s postmortems have.
So yeah, in the ranked list of things to blame for 2016, Clinton is definitely on the list, but way down there, well after much bigger factors like racism, sexism, the media, Trump, Comey, the electoral college, and probably many other things. My own take is that the baseline models (8 years of a Democrat, middling economy) predicted a strong Republican win, and instead Clinton managed a small Democratic win. So she merely managed to beat the odds by a few points, though not quite as much as the huge odds-beating needed to win a rigged game.

So all of this foofah is mainly asking why she didn't beat a rigged game by even more than she in fact did, which is a bit of a waste of time. On the other hand, she banged out this book with amazing alacrity, so her own time was really not wasted at all (in fact, it sounds like it was somewhat therapeutic for her), nor is the time being wasted of anyone who happily (or with gritted teeth) reads her book. It's more the book's critics who are wasting their time at this point -- though arguably not the media, who do need to invest some effort during this post-mortem period to protect their own reputations, given that even many of Clinton's critics agrees that the media rank far higher on the list of who's to blame than Clinton does herself.

[Note, for whatever it's worth, that I say all this as a strong critic of her policies from the left, who has assiduously NRTP here for 18 months. But while I wish she had espoused more leftwing policies, I don't think those policies would have guaranteed an electoral win either. Whatever her flaws, her strategic errors were actually quite minor, especially compared to the long list of unjust countervailing forces. Even if you think she didn't deserve to win the game, she did play it pretty well, with a few errors that while real, are most recognizable in hindsight only.]
posted by chortly at 11:04 PM on September 22 [88 favorites]


a grievance-filled, out-of-touch book

horror show of a book


I'm nearly halfway through this book, and it is none of these things.
posted by haapsane at 11:04 PM on September 22 [53 favorites]


I would probably go apoplectic between the out-of-touch-ness and the continued defense of wonkishness and centrism
Yes. You would have especially hated her instinct to run on UBI but pulling back because she couldn't come up with workable numbers.
posted by xyzzy at 11:05 PM on September 22 [16 favorites]


I'd like to posit that whether you overpromise or underpromise, whether you're pragmatic or idealistic, if you're a Democrat who isn't a straight white male in this country there is no right choice.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:06 PM on September 22 [51 favorites]


Like if you're a Republican you can just fucking lie and everybody can know you're lying and it's fine. Doesn't matter what you promise, doesn't matter if you've even given a thought to policy. The most recent season of Difficult People kind of nailed it: "While we liberals were busy debating whether those naked statues of Trump were body shaming, Russia elected the Fourth Reich."
posted by jason_steakums at 11:10 PM on September 22 [60 favorites]


Obama's high-minded rhetoric translated into two resounding wins.
...and the party opposing him in control of both houses of Congress and thirty-odd State governments.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:11 PM on September 22 [8 favorites]


I didn't think she could win against Generic Republican

She would have won against Generic Republican. My hunch is that not only was Trump pretty much the only Republican that could have beaten Clinton, but - and this reflects much more poorly on America than her; Clinton's one of the only ones who would have lost to Trump.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:11 PM on September 22 [21 favorites]


Obama's high-minded rhetoric translated into two resounding wins.

...and the party opposing him in control of both houses of Congress and thirty-odd State governments.


And the promises he went so far as to use executive orders to keep being torn up like tissue paper.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:12 PM on September 22 [4 favorites]


> So all of this foofah is mainly asking why she didn't beat a rigged game by even more than she in fact did, which is a bit of a waste of time.

So much this. There's also a strong desire to not give any credit to Trump at all. America wanted them some Donald Trump in 2016. For every voter turned off of him by the stupidity and the xenophobia and the pussy tape, there seemed to be at least one more voter who wanted the stupid xenophobic pussy tape guy. Attacking her specifically because she lost to such a horrible human being ignores the evidence that much of America wanted the horrible human being.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:13 PM on September 22 [77 favorites]


An analogy from a discussion at work today. One of my coworkers was talking about the dress code at her golf club.

"The men don't want women dressed up in attire they find inappropriate."
"You could have stopped that sentence at 'The men don't want women.'"
"Well, yeah."

Just got my copy from Powell's and I can't wait to read it.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:14 PM on September 22 [29 favorites]


The women in my life deserve someone at least as good as Elizabeth Warren for their standard-bearer.

this is the greatest reason for HRC-hating I ever heard of. we HAD to oppose her, she wasn't good enough for milady/ies! definitely women must be given a fitting womanly figurehead we deserve, not a leader we vote for ourselves after reflecting on the available options. and definitely an ex-Republican is the minimum feminine political standard all others must live up to.

and of course, definitely a President HRC would have primarily been a standard-bearer for the women in your life, a focus for their precious pride. not the president of your fucking country, including you and every other very concerned man in it. also, the women.
posted by queenofbithynia at 11:17 PM on September 22 [125 favorites]


It's more the book's critics who are wasting their time at this point -- though arguably not the media, who do need to invest some effort during this post-mortem period to protect their own reputations, given that even many of Clinton's critics agrees that the media rank far higher on the list of who's to blame than Clinton does herself.

Yeah, the all too frequent response to looking back at bad outcomes is that most people are going to choose a perspective that continues to best suit the narrative they favor and thus removes their own point of view from critique and places most of the blame on others. We're a nation of experts on each other that can rarely agree on anything.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:17 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


I'm nearly halfway through this book, and it is none of these things.

To be fair, I am basing my opinion off of the, uh, lowlights, especially as taken in these two threads, which are both obviously written by self-hating women.
posted by dhens at 11:22 PM on September 22 [1 favorite]


I want it to be someone that history looks back on the way it will Obama.

then your wants need to be directed at historians, not at women politicians. because you know that's not something that's decided by how good a woman president is. There's every chance that the kind of people who are disgusted by the existence of Clinton's book will be the same kind of people who write the history books. and I promise they would or will pour all the patronizing disappointed smarm over a President Warren you could dream of, no matter how good she or some future dreamlady president is, be she as pure as Obama or even better.

women's collective future reputation is not the primary concern. in fact it shouldn't be a concern at all. An overconcern with female reputations has been a primary method of constraining their movements and restricting their ambitions as they try to move in the public sphere. funnily, it was history books taught me that.
posted by queenofbithynia at 11:27 PM on September 22 [56 favorites]


queenofbithynia, two sentences later:
Hillary had my support
and
as a man it's not my place to decide how women break the ultimate glass ceiling, but I was hoping for better.

I have never hated Hillary Clinton. I would venture to say that I have defended her record and policies to more centrist Republicans I thought might be swayed than anyone on this site not named corb, or am at least in the top five.

I supported her specifically because the majority of the liberal women I knew did, and if that was who they chose to represent them, it was my responsibility to back them on that. So I did. But after the voting booths have closed my opinion gets to be my own again, and I personally hoped for better, and I still do.
posted by Ryvar at 11:30 PM on September 22 [9 favorites]




She lost to Donald Trump.

So did every Republican in the primary, none of whom had the disadvantage that Hillary had of having been the target of right-wing vituperation for literally decades.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:37 PM on September 22 [91 favorites]


Literally everybody I know IRL who voted for Hillary was holding their nose to do it.

I voted for Hillary Clinton enthusiastically every time I was offered the chance on a ballot or in a primary. I'm glad Obama won and I think he was the best president of my lifetime but I still don't regret my support for Hillary knowing what I knew then, nor do I regret it knowing what I know now. Sadly, I'm not sure what to do about you not knowing me IRL to make my opinion relevant to you at all.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:43 PM on September 22 [47 favorites]


My hunch is that not only was Trump pretty much the only Republican that could have beaten Clinton, but - and this reflects much more poorly on America than her; Clinton's one of the only ones who would have lost to Trump.

oh interesting (not being snarky); my sense is the exact opposite, which is that either of these candidates would have been trounced by Generic Opponent.
posted by lalex at 11:44 PM on September 22 [3 favorites]


I think the press coverage and media strategy have to be considered when talking about Clinton's policies. Because she Leslie Knope'd that shit, with binders full of detailed policies way back in the primaries, her polciies got some press coverage when they came out, but were pretty much forgotten by the general. She'd talk about them some in stump speeches of course, but nobody covered that, because she gave measured professional speeches about policies that were officially Old News because they had been announced ages before.

Meanwhile, Trump would roll up and randomly announce he had the world's greatest health care plan that would be signed on day one or he was building a wall or he'd sign the best trade deal with Neptune, and these ridiculous pronouncements would be seriously compared and contrasted to Clinton's plans. It's as if someone put out bids for a new building and the HVAC blueprints of an experienced engineer were assessed against the scribblings of a toddler. He made dozens of absurd broken promises about his first day in office alone. His policy shop pretty much disappeared shortly after the RNC, after realizing they were never getting paid. His policies were obviously fake, but they got coverage as New News, while Clinton's largely didn't because they were Old News (and why write about that when the emails story can be made new again?).

And yes, we can blame the press for a lot of this, but I do think it's fair to ask whether Clinton and her comms staff could have or should have tried harder to break through this cycle. Many of her ads were aspirational rather than policy-focused, and she, probably for the best, stayed away from stunts that could have gotten some of her policy ideas out there, which were presumably messages nobody wanted to hear anyway. And she was winning, so doing anything non-traditional to try to flip the script would, at the time, sound like madness.

Still, it's hard for me to believe it would have mattered. People knew Trump's policies were fake; they just didn't care. People wanted to be sold obvious lies, and no amount of "but your health care plan is underpants gnomes while mine is fully costed by leading health economists" was going to change that. Fundamentally, I don't know how anybody can run a campaign in an environment where their ideas are given no attention while a lunatic's rantings are covered live. She ran a policy-focused campaign in an environment that didn't give a damn about policy. And it's easy in hindsight to say that she and her staff needed to change that narrative somehow, but when it comes to identifying anything that would have made an actual difference, I've got nothing.
posted by zachlipton at 11:45 PM on September 22 [105 favorites]


Hillary Clinton, thank you and goodbye.

Young, inspiring, articulate Democratic candidates, whenever you're ready now.
posted by Segundus at 11:52 PM on September 22 [10 favorites]


this is the greatest reason for HRC-hating I ever heard of. we HAD to oppose her, she wasn't good enough for milady/ies! definitely women must be given a fitting womanly figurehead we deserve, not a leader we vote for ourselves after reflecting on the available options. and definitely an ex-Republican is the minimum feminine political standard all others must live up to.

Not to mention that we're already starting to hear smack-talking about Warren, which will doubtless intensify sharply in the coming months. I just cannot fathom why the right woman candidate hasn't appeared.

I was never crazy enthusiastic about HRC as a candidate--in fact, I voted for Bernie in the primary--but, man, just a few minutes listening to others critique her wrong-headedly, especially random white male liberals who really just want to get back to white male issues, and I'm ready to launch the missiles for her.
posted by praemunire at 11:55 PM on September 22 [72 favorites]


And yes, we can blame the press for a lot of this, but I do think it's fair to ask whether Clinton and her comms staff could have or should have tried harder to break through this cycle. Many of her ads were aspirational rather than policy-focused, and she, probably for the best, stayed away from stunts that could have gotten some of her policy ideas out there, which were presumably messages nobody wanted to hear anyway.

I remember her staff setting up an announcement to go out at 3 in the morning to capitalise on the first time we learnt that Trump would get angry and tweet about shit at 3 in the morning, and the press dutifully reported that the Clinton campaign made an announcement and completely ignored the actual announcement.

I think it's fair to ask the question over whether her campaign could have done more, sure, but it's hard to know how far they would have had to work to overcome a press that has no interest in policy other than what politicians think about it. We see this shit today: the most rigorous analysis from the press on the Graham-Cassidy bill has been from Jimmy Kimmel.
posted by Merus at 11:58 PM on September 22 [71 favorites]


And it's easy in hindsight to say that she and her staff needed to change that narrative somehow, but when it comes to identifying anything that would have made an actual difference, I've got nothing.

The middle class never recovered from 2008, and those of us under 40 are keenly and painfully aware they've been cheated by a capitalism-run-amok kleptocracy that has unstoppable momentum and will continue to steamroll us for the rest of our lives. It's not a question of reversing it at this point, but to what extent we can limit how badly we get fucked for the next fifty years. Our eyes are wide fucking open on that point.

Young people - even including the majority of young Republicans I grew up with, which is hundreds - want to eat the rich in the market square. Listen closely enough in quiet alleys at midnight and you can almost make out the echoes of guillotines. We're all too successfully anesthetized to actually go through with it, but the desire is palpable even through the haze of mind-numbing entertainment, pablum news, and Russian signal-to-noise sabotage.

Trump and Sanders both said they were willing to go nuclear in order to disrupt the existing order. Whether or not that's possible (I suspect it isn't), they clearly and unambiguously signaled their desire to do so. Defending a candidate promising nuanced policy and mild tweaks to the existing order is really fucking hard in that context. I did my damnedest with the people most susceptible - dress-shirt-and-tie-on-weekdays engineers always flipped easiest because of Trump's relationship with facts, and I knew I could count on them to continue executing their program after moving on to the next - but what people want to hear isn't how you're going to play the game better, but how much you share their desperate need to start flipping tables and drive the thieves out of the temple.

What single thing would have made an actual difference? This. No single link in recent memory ever saw more across-the-board support from my atheist/socialist/feminist friends and co-workers, my #NeverTrump Evangelical family, or my center-right childhood friends and former classmates than that one. My missionary doctor cousin started posting NPR takedowns of Trump's debate lies after she saw it. My fucking evangelical boomer Bill O'Reilly father of all people openly cheered a woman for shouting down a rich white man. That right there is how you harness the righteous fury needed to get people crossing party lines in purple states and avoid a Bush/Kerry repeat.

Which is exactly what we are one well-timed war away from.
posted by Ryvar at 12:48 AM on September 23 [41 favorites]


That Politico article on the e-mails is bad and Jack Shafer should feel bad.
posted by ckape at 12:51 AM on September 23 [2 favorites]


I wish she named her book “Fuck All Y’all Haters”.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:57 AM on September 23 [47 favorites]


Oh, cool! Finally a thread where we can relitigate the primaries. I've been so looking forward to hearing about Bernie Sanders again. Jeezus...

Bernie Sanders is busting his ass trying to get universal health care for this godforsaken country, while Hillary Clinton is engaging in petty score-settling for profit. That's not about the primary, that's about now.

(And if you think that the Bernie/Hillary divide in the primaries was a temporary feature of the US political landscape and didn't portend a larger divide in the country that still persists and will only continue to, I think you're kidding yourself!)
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 2:03 AM on September 23 [35 favorites]


Ahh yeah, this is the Neoliberals are the True Enemy thread isn't it, because my body is so ready for that.

Not to mention that we're already starting to hear smack-talking about Warren

And Kamala Harris! She's been in the Senate for all of 8 months and the pre-emptive attacks have already started. Everyone would, obviously, support a woman candidate... just never this woman candidate.

I'm all in for Clinton fading into the background so long as Sanders and pretty much every Democratic politician over the age of 65 does the same. I know that sounds terrible and I think they can do great work and old people are great some of my best family members are old people but... come on. Surely we have candidates who don't remember frikkin' JFK.
posted by Justinian at 2:08 AM on September 23 [25 favorites]


uh, if you remember JFK and are reading this... sorry. I love you. I swear.
posted by Justinian at 2:09 AM on September 23 [10 favorites]


It is just compounded low behavior to instruct the media to disproportionately cover Trump, then shit on them for it when that strategy backfires.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 2:10 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]


And if you think that the Bernie/Hillary divide in the primaries was a temporary feature of the US political landscape and didn't portend a larger divide in the country that still persists and will only continue to, I think you're kidding yourself

And if you think that divide is going to be bridged by continuing to heap scorn on a candidate many on the, allegedly, same side enthusiastically supported I think you might want to check yuor caller ID 'cause the kidding might be coming from inside the house.

To suggest Clinton had no reason other than "score settling" to write a book about her groundbreaking candidacy at a moment where so many in the US are feeling entirely betrayed by their fellow citizens over an extraordinarily contentious election, I don't know what to say.

If people want to support sanders political aims, that's great, doing so by damning Clinton, yeah, I'm not so interested in seeing that, again, and I doubt it'll be good for the site or the political landscape.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:16 AM on September 23 [70 favorites]


If Clinton was out there busting her ass to get universal healthcare up, there is a non-zero number of supporters of universal healthcare who'd say she was doing it for underhanded reasons.
posted by Merus at 2:22 AM on September 23 [54 favorites]


(And if you think that the Bernie/Hillary divide in the primaries was a temporary feature of the US political landscape and didn't portend a larger divide in the country that still persists and will only continue to, I think you're kidding yourself!)

I'm genuinely curious why Clinton's book is "petty score-settling for profit," while Sanders receives no such contempt for releasing in November a profitable book in which he recounts his story of the election. Is the problem with the action or the person doing it?
posted by zachlipton at 2:28 AM on September 23 [81 favorites]


Bernie Sanders is busting his ass trying to get universal health care for this godforsaken country, while Hillary Clinton is engaging in petty score-settling for profit

Clinton was busting her ass working for universal healthcare while Sanders was, what, a first term member of the House? Undoubtedly voting to rename important post offices to important things.

He's on the side of the angels, sure, but come on... Clinton has more than paid her dues on the healthcare front and has the scars to show for it. Before Obamacare it was Hilllarycare and she led the fight.
posted by Justinian at 2:29 AM on September 23 [51 favorites]


Is the problem with the action or the person doing it?

or the gender of the person doing it
posted by kokaku at 2:31 AM on September 23 [42 favorites]


Clinton was busting her ass working for universal healthcare while Sanders was, what, a first term member of the House? Undoubtedly voting to rename important post offices to important things.

Or, y'know, busting his ass for universal health care literally right next to her, and being personally thanked for his work on the front by her, and doing it all as an elected representative with an electorate to answer to instead of as the President's wife.
posted by kafziel at 2:41 AM on September 23 [30 favorites]


What the fuck is all this bullshit? Clinton was torpedoed by the Russians, the FBI, and Bernie Sanders, and she STILL received a vast majority of the votes. All this other crap about her methods and public persona is bullshit.
posted by Brocktoon at 3:04 AM on September 23 [79 favorites]


Some people don't like Clinton: I don't give a shit about what they like. Clinton won the popular vote but isn't president; the worst person in the world is and somehow there's still time, still time for people to run their petty fucking bullshit about Clinton. What would it take? How bad does it have to get before people just STFU about how Clinton makes them feel and admit that just maybe there are bigger issues now? Who are these people doing this? No-one who's at risk of getting deported, I bet. Probably no-one living in range of DPRK's artillery gives a rat's ass about some shit Clinton said or did twenty years ago. But some people. Some people always seem to find the time.
posted by um at 3:07 AM on September 23 [67 favorites]


I'm genuinely curious why Clinton's book is "petty score-settling for profit," while Sanders receives no such contempt for releasing in November a profitable book in which he recounts his story of the election. Is the problem with the action or the person doing it?

I think this sub-headline sums it up: "Bernie’s new book is a forward-thinking guide for the young; Hillary’s looks back at who she can blame for 2016." Bernie does not dishonestly attack Hillary the way that she does him in her book.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 3:15 AM on September 23 [10 favorites]


Anyone who wants to crow about Bernie Sanders should start a thread on him and take it there.

I’m reading a chapter or so of Hillary’s book a night, like devotional reading. I have never found Hillary’s writing particularly engaging (I quit her last one long before the end, so dry!) but I enjoy stories from a woman who seems incapable of giving up. No one would blame anyone who experienced any of the one setbacks or failures she’s been through from fading back into a more comfortable existence, and yet she doesn’t. Maybe that’s partially because one for her doesn’t exist, but she’s still putting enthusiasm behind it and I admire that.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:55 AM on September 23 [19 favorites]


America deserves Trump.

no, the majority wanted clinton - thanks to a basically broken political system she lost

now, i haven't read the book and i haven't even read reviews of the book, but how much emphasis is she putting on the electoral college and its slanting of the results? how much has she spoken of the gerrymandering of the house? how much has she spoken of the slanting of the senate towards conservative rural people?

i suspect she hasn't, much - and seeing as she'd be labeled a poor loser by doing so, that's understandable

but it needs to said, doesn't it? - in fact, it needs to be DONE - i don't see clinton charging at the system - she's part of the system and at the end of the day that was her basic problem - i don't see sanders really charging at it either - and god knows the DNC isn't ever going to

we need a second republic - we are not going to get one through the current political and constitutional system - we are not going to get any change from this system except continued degeneracy and increased dysfunction

the real problem with clinton is she's no longer relevant - last year she was, but that was last year - i'm not convinced sanders is, either

unfortunately, trump IS relevant, just as a grand piano hurtling to the sidewalk is relevant to those standing below

he is our republic's declaration of national bankruptcy
posted by pyramid termite at 4:05 AM on September 23 [7 favorites]


You know, as someone who supported Clinton and is surrounded by other people who also supported her with greater or lesser levels of enthusiasm, I have to say it is completely offensive to have people arguing her support only exists online on Metafilter.

I mean, think before you talk. When you say shit like that, you're invalidating the experience of an awful lot of people, many of them women. Express your own opinion about the candidate, but stop drawing universals from your personal opinion which make other people invisible.
posted by frumiousb at 4:28 AM on September 23 [70 favorites]


Remember a news commentary about Hillary's speeches overseas to women's groups allowing her to present as much more natural and not on the defensive. The clips were distinctive, it was almost two different people or like a split personality. The stress that effected her performance on stages in the US certainly tinged perceptions, shifting perceptions from the classic "would enjoy having a beer with" ideal to "omg, could never talk to that person authentically".
posted by sammyo at 4:33 AM on September 23 [3 favorites]


She still won the popular vote but . . .

....we don't elect the President by the popular vote
posted by thelonius at 4:34 AM on September 23 [3 favorites]


Right.

I think that there has only been one time in my entire voting life when I actually liked a presidential candidate enough that I was truly voting for them. In all other cases, I was voting against the opposing candidate. I also do not think a single one of my choices during the primaries made it to the candidacy.

But I still voted, because that's what you're supposed to do. And because even if you have a choice that comes down to the lesser of two evils, shouldn't you still make sure it's the lesser?

Do I wish that there were better candidates? Yes. But I get the chance to influence the candidate choice every year as well, before the general election. And I actually use that opportunity. However, I am very much in the minority - the average turnout for primary voting in New York City is only about eleven percent. For 2016, papers were reporting that the turnout for the primaries was "soaring" - but it was still only thirty-two percent of registered Democrat voters. (Note that the polls are indeed specifically talking about Democrat voters.)

The people claiming that Clinton was manipulating the Democratic Party so as to win the candidacy have never been able to explain to me what happened to prevent those sixty-eight percent of other Democratic voters from showing up. The people pointing to the election boards kicking people off the voter rolls have only been able to account for a portion of those sixty-eight percent of the people who could have voted.

And as for the presidential election itself - it was just over 57% of eligible voters who turned out.

Hilary may have run a problematic campaign. But I strongly believe that the real problem was that a big chunk of voters simply didn't think voting was an important enough thing to do. They didn't think that stopping Donald Trump was a big enough deal for them to turn up and vote, even if they had to hold their nose to do so.

We get that piss-poor a turnout at every election, too, so this isn't about who the candidate is. This is about our societal education about voting being piss-poor.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:07 AM on September 23 [34 favorites]


pyramid termite:

> America deserves Trump.

no, the majority wanted clinton


Both of those things can be true at the same time. I'm not saying they are, but they can be.
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:13 AM on September 23 [3 favorites]


I just...I didn't hate Hillary. I voted for her. Since when is "professional politician" an epithet?

Would I have a beer with Hillary? No. She would refuse me but I'd try. My god what a fascinating and competent human being, and what a story.

I'm gonna read the book and I'm gonna weep a little inside. I never hated her. People scream "centrism" without acknowledging the bargain with the devil that is acknowledging the Republicans exist.

Regardless of anything else, I have enormous respect for her for standing up and being the lightning rod despite everything, for illustrating the horror of media and conservative excoriation of women and the "less-than-perfct" in the US. She's a fucking hero for her courage, and it's courage that I'll never have. I don't care if she was right or wrong anymore.

I do think Trump is the only person who could beat her. That's a comment on myself and my credence to people, neighbors, friends, and others who I knew were wilfully ignorant, the people who made me say, "Let's not talk about politics". I failed by thinking it was ok.

The election is over. Save your energy for fighting Trump. Make her loss mean something. To me, she's a hero, and always will be. Heroes are allowed to be flawed. That's what makes them worth our worship, because they are us. It's also what throws Trump into relief for me. If I ask myself what would I do in Trump's shoes, the answer is almost always, "Never, ever that." For Hillary... No. Flawed or not, those are my own values at work, almost more than any other American politician.

She will live forever in infamy, but I intend to make it the good kind. That's my president, and may she be more powerful in passing than in practice.
posted by saysthis at 5:14 AM on September 23 [51 favorites]


I started out thinking (and saying here, I'm pretty sure) that she would never be able to win, but by the end of the election my opinion of her had really gone up. She dealt with a total shitshow with surprising grace and tact. But it was also a shitshow partly of her own making, including the whole distasteful primary with the underlying "it's her turn" coronation and the dutiful DNC support. For a lot of people, for a lot of reasons that go way beyond sexism (but definitely include it), she was somewhere between "hold my nose and vote for her" and "hell no, not if you paid me to," and that is a difficult burden to overcome.

Having said all that, I think it is shameful how the Obama administration failed to either stop or speak out strongly about the Russian interference. Without that interference, I am convinced we would be well into Clinton's first term and the discussions here would be about which campaign promises she was addressing or not.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:20 AM on September 23 [3 favorites]


Incidentally, for context, English Wikipedia has a Hillary Clinton bibliography that includes the few books she's written, and a TON of books about her. I expected to see several Regnery books in the anti-Clinton section, and there were, but there were also some interesting blasts from the past. Like, Dick Morris cowrote Condi vs. Hillary: The Next Great Presidential Race.
posted by brainwane at 5:28 AM on September 23


I completely agree that Clinton was not the strongest candidate the Democrats could have put up in 2016. She lacks the charisma that Obama and her husband are known for. 30 years of right-wing conspiracy mongering had created a "where there's smoke, there must be fire" mindset in many voters, who could never be swayed to vote for Clinton no matter what. She tried to run as the most competent, most prepared, most informed politician seeking the office--which she was, but when have Americans cared about that?

AND YET: even with all those negatives, she would have won if not for the media obsession with her emails and the last-minute intervention of James Comey. It's really hard for me to fault her campaign choices because they would have gotten her across the finish line in a sane system. The problem Hillary had is that she can't change names and get plastic surgery and run as Jane Smith, articulate policy wonk. She has to run bearing the weight of three decades of accumulated lies, plus the shouted echoes of every infelicitous comment she has ever made. It's not her fault that the GOP made her a pariah. If anything is her fault, it's not that her approach was wrong, or her strategy, or that she wouldn't have been a good and competent president. It's that she didn't, in 2015, say "I would love to be president, and I think I'd be a good one, but the long-term GOP disinformation campaign has created too many negative perceptions about me that they could exploit in a new campaign. So I'm going to recruit the person I trust the most to take the office next, and do everything I can to support their candidacy."

Even though that's what probably should have happened as a matter of strategy, and even though the consequences of the 2016 election are devastating, I still can't find it within myself to be angry with Hillary Clinton, human person, that she believed enough of us were better than this nonsense to make her campaign a good bet.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:29 AM on September 23 [46 favorites]


Also, how well has "I'm going to promise stupid things like a wall and better healthcare when we don't know how" been going for Trump lately? Or even Bernie lately? That "One, two, skip a few, 99, 100" shit doesn't work. Don't promise shit you have zero idea of how to do. Hell, it doesn't even work when you do it on television while writing, say, Battlestar Galactica.

It worked out pretty well for the examples I gave. FDR gathered experts to take an experimental approach and started applying Keynesianism before there was even a word for it. Ditto with JFK and the moon shot, and Obama and Obamacare. It all took hard work at the policy and the political level. But policy and politics are two different things, and conflating them beforehand as an excuse to do nothing will always fail. I haven't read the book yet. I'm going to. But if HRC thinks that means promising "ponies", then she doesn't understand the job she spent so long trying to get.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:51 AM on September 23 [10 favorites]


Attacking her specifically because she lost to such a horrible human being ignores the evidence that much of America wanted the horrible human being.

Yeah, as long as the far left is obsessively telling her to shut up and go away because it's all her fault, they can ignore the racism and misogyny that permeated this entire campaign. Keep hiding your head in the sand and dismissing "cultural issues" and you'll never get my support.

I was pretty ambivalent about Hillary before this election. She's to the right of me & Bill, ugh (which is gross and unfair to her). But I was shocked and upset at the vitriol directed at her from the left, my supposed allies. The level of disgust for her outstrips any I've seen for other centrist Dems. People don't loathe Joe Biden the way they loathe her. People don't demand that Al Gore and John Kerry slink off into the woods. And there's always an excuse--but don't you see, Hillary is just so uniquely awful? No, she is not. She is a brilliant and tenacious woman with more strength than I can imagine. She's not perfect and neither are her policies but, see above re: other centrist Dems. I ended up voting for her enthusiastically and without an iota of regret.

The enthusiastic embrace of white supremacy on the right and coded misogyny on the left has left me pretty despondent, post-election.

Oh? The opinions here seem to have been "yeah, it's going to be her, anoint her with oil" or "yeah, she's problematic, but she has decades of experience and she'd do an excellent job" or "lock her up lock her up I don't trust her as far as I could throw a Mac truck".

Then you struggle with reading comprehension or crediting what women say.
posted by Mavri at 7:07 AM on September 23 [64 favorites]


I'm just going to put it out here, because apparently it needs to be said: I love Hillary Clinton. I enthusiastically supported her in 2008 and in 2016. I think she is an amazing woman and an amazing politician and we would have been lucky to have her as our president.
posted by lydhre at 7:11 AM on September 23 [59 favorites]


And there's always an excuse--but don't you see, Hillary is just so uniquely awful? No, she is not. She is a brilliant and tenacious woman with more strength than I can imagine.

Yes. That "uniquely awful" kind of talk screams misogyny to me. Even if the speaker doesn't realize it.
posted by agregoli at 7:16 AM on September 23 [37 favorites]


When the book was released, I kept reading comments and stories about how Hillary should not have written it, how she should not be speaking out, how she is done and should stay out of the public eye. The Silencing of Hillary Clinton The criticism - she was the wrong candidate. She is phenomenally well qualified to be president, and in comparison to President Pants-On-Fire, the comparison is ludicrous. She's out of touch. President Pant-On-Fire is in touch with America's racism, anti-Islam, woman-hating, greedy, ratfucker side. There is no criticism of Secretary Clinton that comes even close to the nightmare that was elected by the despicable Republican party that suppresses voting rights, and with help from Russia. What the Everlovin' Fuck, America? Despite everything, she won the popular vote, which is probably the only thing that gives me any hope for this country.

Every time somebody says She lost because X, look at how she is being silenced. Look at how a really smart, capable, decent, experienced, woman gets fucking roasted because she dared to speak. Stop silencing Hillary Clinton. Stop Silencing women. This is why we all lost the election and are so hugely fucked.
posted by theora55 at 7:21 AM on September 23 [60 favorites]


That "uniquely awful" kind of talk screams misogyny to me. Even if the speaker doesn't realize it.

Yes! They don't realize it! They think they're cleverly countering accusations of misogyny by explaining how very very terrible she is. They're completely incapable of or uninterested in examining why they hate her so much more than male politicians with similar policies. It's so internalized, yet so vicious and damaging.
posted by Mavri at 7:23 AM on September 23 [45 favorites]


Yeah, as long as the far left is obsessively telling her to shut up and go away because it's all her fault, they can ignore the racism and misogyny that permeated this entire campaign.

You don't get to interpret my feelings and broadcast your misinterpretation in this way.

I don't think "it's all her fault". I think she was tone-deaf during the election, and that Trump had a decade of reality television training (plus a decades-long pop culture fascination with him) in his favor, and that's what landed him the election.

She was playing a different game from Trump. She was playing actual politics, while Trump was basically doing American Idol For Political Office. And he's more skilled in that than she ever could have been because different arenas.

The so-called "far left" is not even a thing. The actual Far Left wants to bring the US much more into a socialist fold, with the entire population giving a fuck about how everyone in the country is doing. But that's basically impossible because of the geographical size of the US, so creating a society where Seattle tech workers with gigantic salaries don't have any relationship to coal miners in West Virginia. Extrapolate from there. If your entire country is the size of a single US state, as is the case for most of the parts of Europe that have a strong social support network, where you can drive there in a day casually for a trip or whatever, the way you interact with the populace is very different.

Until the geographic differences and the vast space that the US contains is fully grokked by people living in the country, it will be impossible for the United States to really take on a "we are all one people so we should all participate in keeping each other alive" narrative.
posted by hippybear at 7:30 AM on September 23 [8 favorites]


No. Not fair. There are plenty of reasons people Hillary Clinton, and you chose this one? You cannot stand her because her husband had an affair?

Her husband had an affair because he didn't take his vows, or his oath of office, seriously. And, that had actual policy implications, where his trusted advisors (The Clinton Machine*, recall) advocated for neo-liberal, center-right, technocratic policy that was really cleaned up conservative policy.

Hillary was a big part of The Clinton Machine.

Democrats through the 90s and 00s were not very good Democrats - I mean, how the hell does Lieberman get picked as VP ? Oh, yeah, The Smartest Guy in the Room Al Gore picked him.

Back to the point - Bill's affair laid bare the reality that The Clinton Machine, and Billy-Dog himself, exist in a world above and removed from the repercussions of their actions. Every one of them will die as millionaires well insulated from the effects of their decisions. They don't have to care, and so they don't.

And it was that out of touch arrogance that led to things like the "Super-Predator" speech by Hillary. And later, it lead to her having her own Email Server, because of course things like policies and best-practices are for the Little People, not Hillary Clinton of Clan Clinton who is above all that.

So, no, I don't blame her for the affair. I blame her being a willing part of the political machine of which the affair
was a symptom, and being both unwilling to see that , and unwilling to separate herself from it.

Incidentally, the problem with W's presidency wasn't so much that he was a dunce as it was that he inherited his dad's political friends. Hillary was gonna get The Clinton Band back together, and we already knew what was on that play list.

*Which included luminary thought thinkers like Larry "Womenz are dumb lol" Summers.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:34 AM on September 23 [5 favorites]


That "uniquely awful" kind of talk screams

Yes screams so much totally, but not a few of us could see clearly that there was for what ever reason a huge segment of the population that will not ever like her. I just remember being in many conversations that just assumed a Trump could not possibly win and either had to be ultra caveat-ish or just keep quiet about reminding that the two party system is always very close.

And the dynamics (another word for gerrymandering) of the DNC and the infighting and unspoken schisms look to make the next election outcome close to hard wired. If the economy continues to tic up, the hurricane crises handled and scandals just simmer, the next election cycles may be severely disappointing. 2020 could be the real jaw dropper.
posted by sammyo at 7:35 AM on September 23 [2 favorites]


How dare she not follow the long tradition of losing Presidential candidates disappearing from public life. I really wish CNN would do a "Where Are They Now" program featuring all those losers like Jimmy Carter, Mitt Romney, and John McCain so we can figure out what ever happened to them.

And how are Bob Dole, Michael Dukakis, and Walter Mondale doing these days?
posted by corb at 7:37 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]


bona fides: voted for bill in the general in 1992 and 1996, voted for hillary in the 2016 general

the clintons were lousy democrats, but they were great republicans. and yet obviously a republican in the oval office is better than a literal nazi. hillary was subjected to decades of sexist attacks. all of these things can be true at once.

now can we please let democrats get back to being democrats tia
posted by entropicamericana at 7:39 AM on September 23 [10 favorites]


Bob Dole is 94 and in the hospital. Dukakis is 83, and Wikipedia has his last statement as being from 2014. Mondale is 81. That might have something to do with it?
posted by agregoli at 7:46 AM on September 23 [2 favorites]


Also, how well has "I'm going to promise stupid things like a wall and better healthcare when we don't know how" been going for Trump lately? Or even Bernie lately? That "One, two, skip a few, 99, 100" shit doesn't work. Don't promise shit you have zero idea of how to do. Hell, it doesn't even work when you do it on television while writing, say, Battlestar Galactica.

Equating trump's fascistic border wall with universal healthcare is a pretty good example of the extreme fatigue that the actual left in America feels for the Democratic party, as currently (bewilderingly) spearheaded by Hillary Clinton.
posted by codacorolla at 7:47 AM on September 23 [18 favorites]


(And yes, I know McCain is up there, but he's much more recently a presidential candidate.)
posted by agregoli at 7:48 AM on September 23


> And how are Bob Dole, Michael Dukakis, and Walter Mondale doing these days?

First off, Bob Dole is 94 -- even older than Carter -- so I think where he is now is less important than where he's been in the decades since he lost. After his failed Presidential run, he wrote books, did a lot of public speaking, and was a prominent political pundit on television. He was never asked to hang his head in shame and never speak again about politics, as has been demanded of Clinton.

Dukakis, Mondale, eh, those guys were marginal political personalities to begin with, so my sense is they were happy to just ride off to the sunset voluntarily. Still, there was no demand that they stay away, which was my point -- this "rule" that losing candidates retire from public life was invented out of whole cloth for the purposes of shaming Hillary. If Joe Biden had run and lost, his books, appearances, and public comments would be either ignored (Dukakis, Mondale) or celebrated (Dole and all of the others I mentioned.)
posted by tonycpsu at 7:52 AM on September 23 [16 favorites]


There is simply no way that a politician can write a book like this without it coming off to the wider public as a whiny list of excuses why they got fucked.

The best thing for the Clintons, writ large, to do, is to shut up, accept that they had a good run and saunter off into the sunset of American politics.

Hillary was the wrong candidate at the wrong time, completely out of touch with a large swath of America and with an elitist smugness so great that the smuggest, most egocentric person in America was able to defeat her. Wrap your head around that pickle.

Comey, Russia, sexism etc. are all excuses. Look, her admittedly sexist, raping husband won election twice. She came through a barrage of legitimate questions about her character and decisions fully in tact. The reason she lost is that Hillary is generally unlikable, tone deaf and part of a political dynasty that Americans are tired of (this goes equally for the Bushes as it does the Clintons).

It's not the end of America, it's not the end of equal opportunity for anyone. Americans are not consistent in anything but our inconsistencies. The Republic will endure and we'll see if in the next election cycle anyone has learned anything of value.
posted by tgrundke at 7:54 AM on September 23 [5 favorites]


Again, Trump's smugness and egocentrism was a feature for his supporters, not a bug. If I didn't know any better, I might start to wonder if there are other areas of life where those attributes help a certain half of the population but hurt the other half. I guess we'll never know for sure.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:02 AM on September 23 [18 favorites]


So here's a thing: people keep saying she's tone deaf, but very rarely do they say why specifically.

I mean, you don't hear it about, say, Sanders, or Schumer, both of whom have had moments where they have absolutely not read the room. Warren they tend not to say this about, but Warren is a lot more focused than Clinton is.

And yet it seems to be this unspoken thing that Clinton "doesn't connect", "is out of touch", and there has to be more to it than scamming Goldman Sachs out of a speaking fee and that godawful campaign video from 2008 where they carefully picked the worst five seconds they could find of Clinton dancing while rhyming 'you and me' with 'democracy'. Right?

Because I am reasonably sure the people with whom she is "out of touch" do not remember either of those two incidents.
posted by Merus at 8:02 AM on September 23 [9 favorites]


Let me lay out where I am coming from.

In my first presidential election (2000), I voted for an Arab-American man and a Native American woman, Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke. I thought that Gore would continue a lot of the destructive policies of his predecessors Bill Clinton, and when Gore chose Lieberman, I felt even more correct in my decision. By a lot of the logic on display here, I did this because I am apparently anti-Semitic. (PS I voted in Michigan at the time, which still went for Gore.)

George W. Bush chastened me into never supporting a third-party run while we still have a first-past-the-post system (or rather 51 first-past-the-post systems, in the form of the Electoral College). I voted for Dean in the 2004 primaries (and have been sad to see his recent policy pronouncements) and then voted for Kerry in the general.

In 2008, I supported Bill Richardson at first but he dropped out before the primary in Pennsylvania, where I was living at the time. I was critical of Joe Biden as a hawk and a plagiarist, who called Obama "clean and articulate," and at first I was really upset when Obama chose him as his VP candidate. I voted for Obama, obviously, in 2008 and 2012.

In 2016 I supported Sanders in the primaries. I put my support behind Clinton in the general, changing my Facebook avatar to my photo with the H-> arrow thing of the Clinton campaign superimposed over it.

One of the big reasons why I get so het up with What Happened is that I am a Democrat by necessity and a democratic socialist by inclination. So when I read stuff like this, it seems to me like not only does she see centrism as a good tactic, but that she is in fact ideologically opposed to leftist goals.

I am a man in 2017 America. It is impossible that I don't have some sexist inclinations from growing up in this culture. But, please, can I make some criticisms of a female political figure that might be for reasons other than sexism?
posted by dhens at 8:06 AM on September 23 [18 favorites]


It's not the end of America, it's not the end of equal opportunity for anyone. Americans are not consistent in anything but our inconsistencies. The Republic will endure

[citation needed]
posted by dhens at 8:07 AM on September 23 [5 favorites]


1. Have there been similar books from losing presidential candidates before? This seems like the kind of book that will be super helpful to historians for generations to come, to explain what 2016 was like and what it's like to be in politics and be in the big campaign in this time in history.
2. This is the BEST time to put this book out. Nobody's really running for president yet. Congressional elections aren't until next year. She can take all the attention for a month or two and not hurt anything or overshadow any Future Candidates.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:09 AM on September 23 [13 favorites]


Dukakis, Mondale, eh, those guys were marginal political personalities to begin with, so my sense is they were happy to just ride off to the sunset voluntarily. Still, there was no demand that they stay away, which was my point -- this "rule" that losing candidates retire from public life was invented out of whole cloth for the purposes of shaming Hillary.

So I think we're in a position - I mean, Trump is pretty much the prime example of this - where the quiet, unspoken rules of etiquette in public life are disappearing. You could say it's the times, or the partisan divide, or the declining influence of party bosses. I honestly don't know which. But the unspoken etiquette was that you would retire from public life once your time running for president was done, to let other people move forward and to prevent these bitter divides from happening.

Dukakis and Mondale were not marginal political personalities. Dukakis was the longest-serving governor in Massachusetts history, progenitor of the "Massachusetts Miracle." He could have run again as governor, where he probably would have been re-elected, but he declined to and went into private sector work. Mondale was a sitting vice president before the election, and afterwards went into private practice, only appearing once by request and not for long.

There didn't have to be a request to stay away, because they did so voluntarily. Likewise, no one would be asking Clinton to stay away if she did so voluntarily.

But Clinton being in the public eye, right now, means that the Clinton-Sanders wars will never end. Never. I need to learn them and get used to them because they will apparently never go away. They will divide the Democratic party forever. This is also the case with Sanders - I think he should also go away and go back to being a senator and let someone else new emerge. (Harris?) But I don't think we can survive the next four years of Eternal Primaries.
posted by corb at 8:10 AM on September 23 [5 favorites]


Merus:

Elections are not won based on objective criteria and data. It's whether the candidate resonates with the electorate or not.

Hillary did not.

People looking for deeper meanings or rationale are going to be frustrated because at the root of it: people just didn't think she represented them or understood where they came from. Hillary represented the establishment, the 'political class'; She's like that law enforcement officer who acts as though they're above the rules that the plebs must abide by.

I'm not saying that's the right interpretation, but her entire career leading up to this, made her into that figure. Put that kind of figure into an election cycle (and world) that is rejecting "the establishment" and you could have put Ronald McDonald up against her and she still would have lost. Hell, some would argue that was who we elected, so...there ya go.

TLDR: People didn't like her and they didn't like what she was selling.
posted by tgrundke at 8:17 AM on September 23 [4 favorites]


So here's a thing: people keep saying she's tone deaf, but very rarely do they say why specifically
They are often the kinds of [black]kids that are called superpredators — no conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first, we have to bring them to heel.
Well, ok, it was 1996, and who wasn't a racist then ?
I am absolutely in favor of civil unions with full equality of benefits, rights, and privileges.
This was 2007, FFS. Gay marriage had already been fully legal in Massachusetts for 3+ years at that point. Why does a democrat have to "evolve" on civil rights ? Hillary wouldn't support gay marriage until 2013 - ten years after it was legalized in MA.

I get that we have to drag the conservatives, kicking and screaming, into the future. Why do we have to do that to "Democrats", too ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:17 AM on September 23 [9 favorites]


Hillary was the wrong candidate at the wrong time, completely out of touch with a large swath of America and with an elitist smugness so great that the smuggest, most egocentric person in America was able to defeat her. Wrap your head around that pickle.

Seriously? Clinton has an "elitist smugness"?

I mean, Hello, we have Obama. The Harvard Law grad that brews his own craft beer and loves dijon mustard, arugula, and The Wire. And most people still love him.

And Clinton lost because she's elite and smug. Right.

And why do we continually underestimate Donald Trump? If Clinton is the wrong candidate at the wrong time, couldn't Trump be the right candidate at the right time?
posted by FJT at 8:19 AM on September 23 [18 favorites]


The enthusiastic embrace of white supremacy on the right and coded misogyny on the left has left me pretty despondent, post-election.

Don't forget the big stinking piles of coded white supremacy (and cis-het supremacy) on the left! Only things that middle-aged rural white men like are okay to talk about! None of that "identity politics" stuff, thanks!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:19 AM on September 23 [18 favorites]


> But the unspoken etiquette was that you would retire from public life once your time running for president was done, to let other people move forward and to prevent these bitter divides from happening.

It is flat out false to claim there has ever been even an unwritten rule about this.

I cited three prominent examples where this was not the case at all, and demonstrated that one of your counterexamples in fact stayed very prominent. How much flak has John McCain taken for staying so involved in politics that he can decide whether or not millions lose healthcare? Did Mitt Romney have to preface his famous 2016 speech where he called Trump a "fraud" with a disclaimer about how we should take nothing he says seriously because he was a losing loser who lost?

You are being completely non-responsive to the ample evidence that there has never been such a standard. Citing a couple of counterexamples for whom no such exit from politics was ever demanded does not negate the claim that Hillary is the first one to face such demands.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:21 AM on September 23 [20 favorites]


Because of the DNP's bullshit of allowing Hillary to self-nominate and the activities the DNP engadged in to remove Bernie as a candidate, the national Democratic Party lost a generation of life-long voters who realize that their caring and vote is worthless.

Which bullshit? Allowed how? By letting her be on the ballot in primaries and get the most votes?
posted by PMdixon at 8:25 AM on September 23 [15 favorites]


Speaking of Hillary Clinton, she's being interviewed right now on Morning Joy.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:25 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]


It's not the end of America, it's not the end of equal opportunity for anyone. Americans are not consistent in anything but our inconsistencies. The Republic will endure

[citation needed]


Charles II of Spain
was so inbred and malformed that he could barely chew or talk, and was substantially delayed in learning to speak or walk. Every one of his ancestors for 5 generations descended from two people - his family tree was more like a stick.

Anyway, he ruled Spain for 35 years - which went predictably poorly. But, you know, Spain still exists.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:26 AM on September 23


Anyway, he ruled Spain for 35 years - which went predictably poorly. But, you know, Spain still exists.

And as we all know, 17th century Spain is perfectly comparable to the present day United States of America with respect to economic, technological, and geopolitical circumstances.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:31 AM on September 23 [13 favorites]


Charles II of Spain never launched his nukes, so why should we worry this time?
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:34 AM on September 23 [15 favorites]


This is an exception for me, in a Metafilter thread. I have not read most of the comments above mine. I've been a faithful follower of politics threads for well over a year, I have more than spent my time in the trenches, I know what most of you think.

But I'm not really interested in what other people, both those paid for their opinions and the rest of us common folk, think about this book or the person who wrote it any more. I've reached my limit; I'm just profoundly tired. Maybe that's a factor of my mostly lurker nature, I don't know. Honestly I should probably erase this and continue my day.

I'm going to read the book for myself. I'll form my own opinion. Thanks if you read this, no offense if you skipped it. I'm stepping out now.
posted by rewil at 8:37 AM on September 23 [8 favorites]


Hell, I give Bush a pass because of PAPFAR. He didn't lose an election, but he's done more to help humans exist on this planet over the past ~15 years than any other ex-president (and based on his presidential policies, not his post-presidential work) than any other living ex-POTUS.

He also destabilized the entire southwestern Asian region imperiling as many millions of lives as PEPFAR has saved. He drowned New Orleans. He promoted the anti-marriage-equality initiatives of 2006. Arguably his administration allowed NK to destabilize more than it would have on its own. He appointed Roberts and Alito, who between the VRA and ACA decisions are responsible for gross crimes. If we're playing ethical calculus, then for every person in Africa who's received HIV treatment because of his actions there are 5 dead elsewhere. The fact that you are willing to give that man a pass but not Clinton speaks to something really, really ugly.
posted by PMdixon at 8:41 AM on September 23 [30 favorites]


I watched her on AM Joy today and really want to reemphasize the “fuck y’all haters” sentiment.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:44 AM on September 23 [7 favorites]


it's not the end of equal opportunity for anyone.

Trump signs ban on trans recruits

Latest iteration of the muslim ban

Trump ends DACA

Devos ends Obama policies covering trans students under Title IX

Any other pearls of wisdom you want to drop for us?
posted by PMdixon at 8:45 AM on September 23 [52 favorites]


I haven't read the book, but I've listened to her Fresh Air and Pod Save America interviews. She comes off as genuinely thoughtful and reflective, but seems to have a real blind spot when it comes to Bernie Sanders.
posted by panama joe at 8:47 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]


Christ, seeing the number of people who I'm supposed to believe have my back spouting bullshit seeking to say Clinton lost because she deserves it makes me feel real good about how much support I can expect when I'm targeted for being a faggot.

("He did drink a lot, you know. And he wasn't good at connecting with people around sports. Kind of a slut, too. I mean, yeah, I'm opposed to putting people in concentration camps or forced ECT, but you need to look at the particulars of the situation. I want to protect people's rights, but it's got to be the right people, you know? Especially because if you stand-up for someone and then it turns out they're not a saint that completely eliminates all efforts to protect the rights of anyone anywhere in this universe or any hypothetical ones.

And, I mean, he really should have had the grace to shut the fuck up when he lost that discrimination suit against his landlord. Everyone else who's treated like shit has the dignity to follow the etiquette of shutting up about it and not make anyone else uncomfortable.")
posted by PMdixon at 8:55 AM on September 23 [28 favorites]


One of the people in this thread who believes Hillary should go away forever because of a completely imaginary long tradition of doing so is over in the megathread lauding John McCain for his "repentance". I can't even with this shit.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:58 AM on September 23 [24 favorites]


Dearest White Guys: I get it. You love your mom and your sisters and your women friends and maybe your girlfriend or wife if you're hetero. You think Elizabeth Warren is nifty. You like Tina Fey and Maria Bamford and have even argued with those folks who say women can't be funny. You get a little weepy when you think about Ripley or Hermione or Katniss or Furiosa saving the day. Maybe you even have a daughter who you are raising to be an awesome Mighty Girl. You have an original hot-take on what's wrong with Hillary that you are sure has absolutely nothing to do with her being a woman.

Stop and consider, just for a moment: It is possible that, despite your best efforts, you have soaked up some of the misogyny you have spent your whole life surrounded by? Is it possible that your original hot-take on Hillary has been influenced by the misogyny of the millions of commentators over 25 years whose own hot-takes on her you heard or read, accidentally absorbing their misogyny, too? Is it possible that because you live in this world, you are not actually coolly rational and objective when it comes to our former Secretary of State and her book about a completely unprecedented historic series of events?
posted by hydropsyche at 8:59 AM on September 23 [87 favorites]


Bernie Sanders is presently leading the 'medicare for all' campaign. Is that a pony for everyone?

HRC was the first candidate for nomination who said that evolution should be taught in schools because it is a fact. No qualifiers. I think it was around '07. And yes, she was not preceded by Mr. Inconvenient Truth who danced around the question. Maybe I am the only one in the world with this particular bee in his bonnet but there it is.
posted by tirutiru at 9:04 AM on September 23 [8 favorites]


Ultimately I think Hillary maybe should have waited a little longer before writing her book. I think maybe she'd be able to put the Bernie stuff in better perspective.
posted by panama joe at 9:12 AM on September 23


Probably no-one living in range of DPRK's artillery gives a rat's ass about some shit Clinton said or did twenty years ago.

I can guarantee that the majority of them do not care right now. Nor did they care 20 years ago. The Republican obsession with a blowjob was viewed with bemusement and disdain, and it was impossible to explain why it MATTERED SO MUCH in Korean to my relatives.

Incidentally, it was impossible to explain why it mattered so much in English, too.

---

It's not the end of America, it's not the end of equal opportunity for anyone. Americans are not consistent in anything but our inconsistencies.

I hear this a lot from people I know who are well-insulated based on their economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, skin tone, and place of residence. Indeed, one person told me I had nothing to sorry about because the administration was so feckless nothing bad was really happening. Except, of course, all the things that someone who is a minority would face.

People pay attention to different things due to their identity.

You're right. For "educated", "middle-class", cis white men, their "equal opportunity" will not end.
posted by anem0ne at 9:14 AM on September 23 [28 favorites]


It might even get more equaler than others. (twisted orwell)
posted by puddledork at 9:27 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]


Bernie Sanders is presently leading the 'medicare for all' campaign. Is that a pony for everyone?

Retirees are generally opposed to expanding Medicare, because they enjoy it now in full and can't afford the tax increase to pay for everyone else. Hillary ran a campaign that was based on the middle class and Obamacare (which taxes expensive health plans to subsidize basic plans), but this left her open to attack from populists (one real and one fake). They echoed each other in scorn, and it worked like a perfect storm with both left and right speaking for the poor and rich, leaving her fighting on two fronts. The other problem is that the more Democrats who are elected, the more conservative the party becomes, because of the way they barely win those extra seats in conservative-leaning districts. So much for American populism.
posted by Brian B. at 9:34 AM on September 23 [2 favorites]


Ultimately I think Hillary maybe should have waited a little longer

Oh look another chapter title for my book about 21st Century American history.
posted by Etrigan at 9:41 AM on September 23 [17 favorites]


I'll have more to say on this later, because I'm going to try to get together some links later today - but I want to say that, while Hillary Clinton was not my Perfect Progressive Luxury Gay Space Communism candidate, I was more enthused about voting for her than I was about Gore or Kerry. So were most of the people I knew. And that was the impression I got reading Facebook, MeFi, political websites, etc. She may have been wildly unpopular in some quarters, yes, but there were those who really liked Hillary for who she was and weren't holding their noses to vote for her (as, face it, many of us did with both Gore and Kerry). We thought she'd do a good job, even if an obstructive Congress meant she couldn't do the great job she had potential for. (And it's important to remember that - unless we get a Luxury Gay Space Communist Dictator, Congress can hamstring a president if they want to. Just ask Barack Obama.)

Being the Old that I am, I remember the 2000 and 2004 elections and no way did Gore or Kerry inspire much enthusiasm, at least from my vantage point. Gore was embraced later, after the fact and after he released Inconvenient Truth and became a spokesman for the environment. I recall that a lot of people (me included) felt that Kerry was foisted upon us by the Democratic establishment. HRC was "foisted" on us much less than Gore or Kerry.

I am not in the mood to blame HRC, who has had to put up with so much more horrible press than just about any other human being other than Judas Iscariot. I am, however, greatly in the mood to blame the press. I think they, more than anyone, are responsible for us having the Oozing Baby Man in the White House.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:53 AM on September 23 [64 favorites]


I read most of the reviews linked in the post, and the most irritating thing about them to me is the wide criticism of her either for not apologizing for the right things, or not apologizing for the right things in the right way. Sure, she takes responsibility for her loss, but not the way she's supposed to.

I agree with the view that she would have won despite her mistakes if the Comey letter hadn't come out in late October, and all of this coulda woulda shoulda would be trivia.

I remember two occasions were TV stations cut from her actually giving a speech to show thrilling footage of a podium where Trump was about to give a speech. Broadcast news shows spent a combined 32 minutes covering policy issues in 2016.

She lost Michigan by 11,612 votes (0.3%), Wisconsin by 27,257 (1.0%), and Pennsylvania by 68,236 (1.2%).
posted by kirkaracha at 9:54 AM on September 23 [18 favorites]


My future son-in-law was considering not voting earlier this year because liked neither Macron nor LePen. I told him "If you can't hold your nose and vote for the lesser of two evils, you will get the greater evil." Too bad it took our election for that idea to appear concrete. He voted for Macron.
posted by Miss Cellania at 9:54 AM on September 23 [13 favorites]


It never ceases to amaze me how the things I heard Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones saying about Hillary Clinton when I was a teenager in the 90s somehow manage to show up on MeFi coming from the keyboard of self-described leftists. It's almost as if repeating things for 25 years causes people to eventually accept them uncritically as they circulate around and lose their original unhinged sourcing.

I'm sure I'd be in the same boat if I hadn't heard it all direct from the sewage outfall that was (and still is, but I quit listening a very long time ago) right wing hate radio.

There are some more modern complaints, like the Goldman speech and other supposedly terrible instances of working for money like the vast majority of us do, usually without subsuming our own ethics to those of the company/ies that pay us.
(Any CEOs present excepted, of course) Obviously, they sound pretty much like a minor remix of the old album to me.
posted by wierdo at 10:07 AM on September 23 [38 favorites]


Her husband had an affair because he didn't take his vows, or his oath of office, seriously.

I understand why an affair would be evidence of the former claim, but not the latter. Those are two separate oaths in two separate areas of the man's life. I think you have made a rather bold claim there.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:08 AM on September 23 [10 favorites]


Quantum Leap reboot time: Washington DC, 1973. Sam leaps into a woman whose best friend has just failed the bar exam, is having a crisis of confidence, and thinks maybe she should just go back to her college boyfriend. Sam succeeds in helping her get her mojo back. Hillary Rodham passes the DC bar on the second try, never sees Bill again, skyrockets to success on her own merits, and takes over the goddamn world.
posted by Flannery Culp at 10:11 AM on September 23 [12 favorites]


It never ceases to amaze me how the things I heard Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones saying about Hillary Clinton when I was a teenager in the 90s somehow manage to show up on MeFi coming from the keyboard of self-described leftists.

That's a hell of an accusation. Which Limbaugh or Jones quotes are MeFites using?
posted by lalochezia at 10:12 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]


Hello, we have Obama. The Harvard Law grad that brews his own craft beer and loves dijon mustard, arugula, and The Wire. And most people still love him. And Clinton lost because she's elite and smug. Right.

To the best of my knowledge, Obama avoided crafting bon mots like "basket of deplorables" or "geriatric hippy", and avoided publicly stating that it's acceptable to tell your Wall St funders one thing and your voting constituency another. When people talk of Clinton's smug elitism, I don't think they're thinking about craft beer.
posted by Coventry at 10:14 AM on September 23 [13 favorites]


Her husband had an affair because he didn't take his vows, or his oath of office, seriously.

I understand why an affair would be evidence of the former claim, but not the latter. Those are two separate oaths in two separate areas of the man's life. I think you have made a rather bold claim there.


I think there's a fairly solid claim that could be made that by abusing a position of power and authority for his sexual pleasure, he was violating his oath to perform the office of President faithfully.
posted by corb at 10:14 AM on September 23 [2 favorites]


Same could be said for JFK, but nobody talks about him in these terms.
posted by hippybear at 10:16 AM on September 23 [7 favorites]


To the best of my knowledge, Obama avoided crafting bon mots like "basket of deplorables"
"They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
Not identical, but same message, and was used against him in the same way.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:17 AM on September 23 [39 favorites]


And another thing I want to point out, especially to pessimists and people who are (understandably) despairing - Hillary Clinton won the popular vote - and by more than Al Gore did. If it weren't for the Electoral College, we'd have President Clinton.

HRC simply could not have been as unpopular and reviled as the press would have it, if she won the popular vote.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:18 AM on September 23 [17 favorites]


Ultimately I think Hillary maybe should have waited a little longer

Oh look another chapter title for my book about 21st Century American history.

As a kid, I didn't get why Hillary didn't run in 2004, when it seemed like the Democrats had a clown car of uninspiring squabbling candidates stumbling over each other. And in the end Bush the warmonger, the idiot king, the Trump before Trump still won. Maybe that would have been her perfect time.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:20 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]


I, for one, think this book obviously needed to be written, and I think this is absolutely the best time for HRC to have written and published it, but I don't want to read it until ten years from now.
posted by maggiemaggie at 10:35 AM on September 23 [10 favorites]


Not identical, but same message, and was used against him in the same way.

Rejecting people with name calling is a whole other level of smug over describing why some people are hard to reach, and still committing to reach out to them. The context for the quote you pulled:
our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Um, now these are in some communities, you know. I think what you’ll find is, is that people of every background — there are gonna be a mix of people, you can go in the toughest neighborhoods, you know working-class lunch-pail folks, you’ll find Obama enthusiasts. And you can go into places where you think I’d be very strong and people will just be skeptical. The important thing is that you show up and you’re doing what you’re doing.
posted by Coventry at 10:35 AM on September 23 [2 favorites]


Is "tone deaf" also some kind of subconscious knock on the literal tone of her voice? Am I just extra sensitive about this because my voice is also female and Chicago-inflected?
posted by Ralston McTodd at 10:38 AM on September 23 [6 favorites]


Bernie Sanders is busting his ass trying to get universal health care for this godforsaken country, while Hillary Clinton is engaging in petty score-settling for profit

Can it genuinely have escaped your attention that Clinton attempted to gain office to execute her policies, but was rejected? And now, unlike Sanders, does not receive a regular check for a role in running the country?

If you don't hire someone, you don't get to complain that she didn't come back later to help you for free.

Also, it's amazing how she can simultaneously be doing too little (not saving this country from its political system's choice of Demented Racist Grandpa for president) and too much (existing in public at all, apparently).
posted by praemunire at 10:38 AM on September 23 [65 favorites]


The context for the quote you pulled

There was plenty of context for "basket of deplorables", too. Let's not pretend that Clinton is unique in choosing a few words out of many that didn't play well when cherry-picked.
posted by Etrigan at 10:40 AM on September 23 [16 favorites]


Rejecting people with name calling is a whole other level of smug over describing why some people are hard to reach, and still committing to reach out to them.

Yes, if only HRC had reached out more to white supremacists (the context of her "basket of deplorables" comment, if we're talking contexts). I hear there are good people on that side!
posted by praemunire at 10:42 AM on September 23 [28 favorites]


> The context for the quote you pulled:

There was similar context for Hillary's "deplorables" quote, as well. I don't see how using a noun to summarize almost the same idea Obama was going at with his longer phrase elevates Clinton to a new level of smug. They were both expressing the same idea, and it's one that happened to be correct in both cases.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:46 AM on September 23 [11 favorites]


There was plenty of context for "basket of deplorables", too.

And here it is. It's entirely a flat-out rejection of people.
I know there are only 60 days left to make our case -- and don't get complacent, don't see the latest outrageous, offensive, inappropriate comment and think, well, he's done this time. We are living in a volatile political environment. You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic -- you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people -- now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks -- they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.
posted by Coventry at 10:47 AM on September 23 [4 favorites]


Yes, if only HRC had reached out more to white supremacists

That's a straw man. We were discussing whether Obama got a pass for being smug and elitist because he drank craft beer and attended Harvard. I'm arguing that these remarks of Clinton's are what people think of, when they think of her being smug and elitist.
posted by Coventry at 10:51 AM on September 23


You didn't finish the quote:
"... But the other basket -- and I know this because I see friends from all over America here -- I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas -- as well as, you know, New York and California -- but that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they're just desperate for change. It doesn't really even matter where it comes from. They don't buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won't wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroine, feel like they're in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well."
posted by hydropsyche at 10:51 AM on September 23 [39 favorites]


Has "smug" been defined down so much that rejection of racists, sexists, xenophobes, etc. qualifies?
posted by tonycpsu at 10:52 AM on September 23 [39 favorites]


Not relevant. If anything, it only makes her look even more smug.
posted by Coventry at 10:52 AM on September 23


Is "tone deaf" also some kind of subconscious knock on the literal tone of her voice?

No. It's referring to stuff like being uncomfortable about using slave labor not because it's slave labor but because they're criminals or "We came, we saw, he died," stuff that would be tone deaf in any voice.
posted by edeezy at 10:58 AM on September 23 [6 favorites]


Holy shit, this thread is full of the dudes who, after being bitten by a misogynist zombie, just don't tell anyone in their group because they think they're special and they can totally handle having the misogynist zombie virus and they actually have REASONS for why they hate her and MFMMFMDJD CLINTON BRAINS

Like some of you have been eagerly waiting for a reason to come through and explain so that we'll all understand that you hate her and you are right to hate her and we're wrong for thinking you might be sexist. Just so so eager.

Let me tell you: you are not helping your case. This shit is flat out amazingly irrational. Just pure lizard brain zombie rage.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:04 AM on September 23 [67 favorites]


Coventry, if you're wondering why, on matters involving race, I don't think you generally argue in good faith and suspect your motives, this is precisely why.
posted by anem0ne at 11:05 AM on September 23 [23 favorites]


Trump elevated the nation's id and emboldened it beyond belief. A Nazi in America killed a woman by running her over with a car not two weeks ago, for fuck's sake. "Deplorables" wasn't strong enough of a word. But the amount of shit she got for saying it!

It's OK to be a racist, it's not OK to be called one. I've never understood why, but there it is.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:10 AM on September 23 [33 favorites]


That's a straw man

No, it's not. She was literally talking about "the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic" people.

YOU ARE COMPLAINING THAT SHE DIDN'T REACH OUT TO THESE PEOPLE MORE. YOU ARE SAYING SHE WAS SMUG AND ELITIST BECAUSE SHE DIDN'T PRETEND THAT THESE PEOPLE WEREN'T A HUGE PART OF TRUMP'S SUPPORT.

Well, guess what? They were. As it turns out, more than even most people thought.

When you say "elitist" here, what you mean is "not willing to be racist/sexist/etc. enough for these people." That's not elitism, that's human decency. I guess we can have an argument over what amount of decency we're willing to sacrifice for electoral victories, but let's not dress this up as a moral/emotional failing on HRC's part.
posted by praemunire at 11:13 AM on September 23 [68 favorites]


lose a kid to heroine

Given the topic of the thread, I love this typo.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:16 AM on September 23 [6 favorites]


Dukakis keeps busy.
posted by theora55 at 11:17 AM on September 23 [4 favorites]


Interesting to think about the previous elections. As hard as this has been for Sec. Clinton, it was brutal for Gore, who actually won.
posted by theora55 at 11:20 AM on September 23 [3 favorites]


Is there any criticism of Clinton that won't be labeled as sexist?

I mean, I didn't vote for Sarah Palin as VP in 2008, apparently because of sexism. I didn't support Marine Le Pen in the French election, because of deep sexism. I hope that Frauke Petry and AfD do poorly in the upcoming German elections, because, I dunno, I am super sexist?

I REALIZE THAT CLINTON WOULD HAVE BEEN LIGHT-YEARS BETTER THAN ANY OF THESE OTHER PEOPLE, BY THE WAY. But isn't it possible to have some criticisms of a woman candidate beyond her womanhood?
posted by dhens at 11:28 AM on September 23 [12 favorites]


I actually think the basket of deplorables thing was perfectly reasonable on Clinton's part and the media are at fault for blowing it out of proportion and not putting it in context. Recent events have shown that she probably low-balled the proportion of Trumpists who are deplorable.
posted by dhens at 11:30 AM on September 23 [8 favorites]


I would think that a phrase like that "basket of deplorables" is just begging for the opposition to abuse it and the context in which it was originally used. And that's what happened.

You can view it as a tactical error—which goes to the basic idea that you don't want to say something that comes across as smug because that won't win you votes—or that you're just speaking your truth. Like you want to say, there really are racists and refer to them as such.

The problem is they're not compatible approaches. You express yourself which can come across as aggressive to the other, or you choose your words differently (like Obama did, in the above quote which really shows the inequivalence of their rhetorical examples). Maybe we should recognize that there are different costs to each approach. And just because they said it this one time doesn't mean it's their approach all the time, etc.
posted by polymodus at 11:37 AM on September 23 [3 favorites]


Is there any criticism of Clinton that won't be labeled as sexist?

I mean, I didn't vote for Sarah Palin as VP in 2008, apparently because of sexism.


Not off to a great start, my dude.
posted by melissasaurus at 11:40 AM on September 23 [48 favorites]


But isn't it possible to have some criticisms of a woman candidate beyond her womanhood?

Maybe when you feel you have to ask this question for the fifth time in the same thread, you'll realize that maybe it's not everyone else with the issue.
posted by Etrigan at 11:40 AM on September 23 [28 favorites]


Is there any criticism of Clinton that won't be labeled as sexist?

This is such a disingenuous way to avoid engaging with the very specific criticisms of your "criticisms" that people have already carefully articulated at length in this very thread. AND it's the most common avoidance tactic. "I guess I just can't say anything at all!" And then you walk away with the comforting notion that all those people who said things that made you uncomfortable were just being unreasonable.

I mean, bullshit. Yeah, there are legitimate criticisms of HRC, but to make them you have to be sufficiently aware of the cultural milieu in which she operates. You have not demonstrated such awareness.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:43 AM on September 23 [35 favorites]


> or you moderate your words (like Obama did, in the above quote which really shows the inequivalence of their rhetorical examples)

I said from the beginning that they were not identical. Obviously calling a group deplorable and merely describing their deplorable views and actions are different, but it's a difference of degree, not kind. I just don't see how one is "smug" and "elitist" and the other isn't. It's also entirely false to say that Obama's version didn't draw a similar amount of ire -- it was just that Obama's was in April during the primary, and Hillary's was in September during the general.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:48 AM on September 23 [2 favorites]


Coventry, if you're wondering why, on matters involving race, I don't think you generally argue in good faith and suspect your motives, this is precisely why.

I have no idea how this conversation relates.
posted by Coventry at 11:49 AM on September 23


I mean, I didn't vote for Sarah Palin as VP in 2008, apparently because of sexism.

Not off to a great start, my dude.


I see that you didn't read the rest of comment. Thanks.

Maybe when you feel you have to ask this question for the fifth time in the same thread, you'll realize that maybe it's not everyone else with the issue.

Clinton was (and still is) the victim of a massive amount of sexist garbage, most of which came from a 25+ year long smear campaign from the right, and, yes, a few Bernie Bros. It is ugly and disgusting. I have no doubt that if she were Harold Clinton with a similar résumé, she would be president now.

BUT: Is it sexist to say that she shouldn't hang out with Henry Kissinger? Is it sexist to say that she shouldn't have called children "superpredators?" Is it sexist to say that speaking to big banks for lots of money in the aftermath of the 2008 crash and then being defensive and not releasing those transcripts might look bad?
posted by dhens at 11:50 AM on September 23 [11 favorites]


Bernie Sanders is busting his ass

Bernie Sanders is doing the job he was elected by the people in Vermont to do. This fanboyish lionization of him for that unnecessary.

Is there any criticism of Clinton that won't be labeled as sexist?

Sure. But if one considers Hillary Clinton a sellout conservative Democrat but not Joe Biden they probably have some issues. If one blames Hillary Clinton for the foreign policies failures during her time as Secretary of State but not Barack Obama, they probably have some issues. If one thinks Hillary Clinton should shut up and go away but didn't feel the same away about Al Gore or Mitt Romney, they probably have some issues. And if one thinks Hillary Clinton should stop talking about the issues in the election she lost but doesn't ask the same of Bernie Sanders, they probably have some issues of their own to address.

BUT: Is it sexist to say that she shouldn't hang out with Henry Kissinger? Is it sexist to say that she shouldn't have called children "superpredators?"

It is if you only "care" when it's Hillary doing it.
posted by asteria at 11:52 AM on September 23 [37 favorites]


> I see that you didn't read the rest of comment. Thanks.

It contains nothing exculpatory. Acknowledging that Hillary would have been better than Palin and LePen is the faintest possible praise. Even if the praise were stronger, the dynamic you've set up where people are assuming all criticism is sexist in nature exists only in your mind.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:54 AM on September 23 [14 favorites]


There are plenty of Sexism 101 threads on this site and elsewhere on the internet if you're really that confused. Women aren't responsible for your education.
posted by melissasaurus at 11:54 AM on September 23 [18 favorites]


But if one considers Hillary Clinton a sellout conservative Democrat but not Joe Biden they probably have some issues. If one blames Hillary Clinton for the foreign policies failures during her time as Secretary of State but not Barack Obama, they probably have some issues. If one thinks Hillary Clinton should shut up and go away but didn't feel the same away about Al Gore or Mitt Romney, they probably have some issues. And if one thinks Hillary Clinton should stop talking about the issues in the election she lost but doesn't ask the same of Bernie Sanders, they probably have some issues of their own to address.

I was a critic of Biden in 2008 (before I was on MetaFilter). See above. I did not want him to run in 2016.
I did not vote for Gore in 2000 (if the Gore who made An Inconvenient Truth had run in 2000, I probably would have).
Mitt Romney is ridiculous.
I think that Sanders has said a lot of really stupid things in the aftermath of the November election, and continues to focus too much on the so-called "white working class" and I certainly don't see him as my leader. Anyway, he is 74 and I don't think he has any future ahead of him but Senator from Vermont.

And yeah, maybe I was a bit too forgiving of Barack Obama for things like the continued use of drones. I'll own up to that.
posted by dhens at 11:56 AM on September 23


Even if the praise were stronger, the dynamic you've set up where people are assuming all criticism is sexist in nature exists only in your mind.

compare to

Is it sexist to say that she shouldn't hang out with Henry Kissinger? Is it sexist to say that she shouldn't have called children "superpredators?"

It is if you only "care" when it's Hillary doing it.


Sigh. I am going to duck out of this thread. Later.
posted by dhens at 12:03 PM on September 23 [2 favorites]


Like Obama gave Kissinger a Distinguished Public Service award but few people who "care" about Hillary's fondness for Kissinger remember little things like that.

Or how Bernie actually voted for the damn crime bill that Biden sponsored/wrote (can't remember which.)

And yeah, maybe I was a bit too forgiving of Barack Obama for things like the continued use of drones. I'll own up to that.

That's the point! You let it slide because he was a guy and a charming and intelligent and thoughtful guy and the media loved him for that and a lot of people loved him for that despite his beliefs.

But when it came to a woman with those same questionable beliefs who lacked the easy charm so many male politicians posses? Welp.
posted by asteria at 12:03 PM on September 23 [40 favorites]


Bloop.
posted by asteria at 12:04 PM on September 23 [1 favorite]


But if one considers Hillary Clinton a sellout conservative Democrat but not Joe Biden they probably have some issues.
As a Senate voter, Hillary was the 11th most progressive member of the Senate. Obama was 26th. She is a lefty.
538: Clinton was one of the most liberal members during her time in the Senate. According to an analysis of roll call votes by Voteview, Clinton’s record was more liberal than 70 percent of Democrats in her final term in the Senate. She was more liberal than 85 percent of all members.
posted by xyzzy at 12:04 PM on September 23 [44 favorites]


I still believe the whole post-election introspection/self-immolation schtick is based on faulty assumptions and missing the real story simply because the truth is too uncomfortable and scary to face: Feds report to DHS that 21 Election Systems were attacked by Russian Hackers but "most weren't successful."

In close low turnout elections like the kind we consistently have now due to the successes of Republican voter disenfranchisement efforts and Russia's propaganda campaigns to undermine American faith and confidence in democracy and voting, all it takes is precisely manipulating votes at the margins, hitting the right points to exploit anti-democratic flaws in the logical design of the American electoral system.

And I call BS on the idea it's really even possible to know the full extent to which our election systems may have been compromised: many of the systems don't even provide adequate security controls to make it possible to detect intrusion or security breaches--that's exactly the critical flaw in those systems that security researchers have been warning and raising alarms about, so even if those systems had been compromised, it's very likely there'd be no direct evidence left behind to find.

I still don't buy it. I think the Russian mob has its hooks into election processes in key battleground states with Republican administrations. I don't care if that seems conspiratorial. There really is a conspiracy underway on the part of Russia and its allied political interests and their aim is to make Americans lose faith in democracy. How better to do that than fake a mockery of an election result that feels intuitively wrong and corrupt and doesn't agree with most people's deepest instincts ad intuitions about how the election would go? The point I believe was and has always been to create self-doubt and effectively gaslight the American voting public en mass to further discourage voter participation and stoke cynicism and mistrust among Americans, exacerbating existing social and cultural cleavages like the urban/rural divide.

Tl;dr: I don't want to read this book because I think Clinton won.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:04 PM on September 23 [35 favorites]


Aw, man, and all I had left on my bingo card was "I love women! I have daughters!"
posted by Etrigan at 12:05 PM on September 23 [10 favorites]


I know I said that I would duck out this thread, but

Like Obama gave Kissinger a Distinguished Public Service award but few people who "care" about Hillary's fondness for Kissinger remember little things like that.

I literally did not know that. fuck.
posted by dhens at 12:05 PM on September 23 [2 favorites]


Tl;dr: I don't want to read this book because I think Clinton won.

Me too, actually.
posted by asteria at 12:06 PM on September 23 [2 favorites]


Aw, man, and all I had left on my bingo card was "I love women! I have daughters!"

I'll just leave this here.
posted by dhens at 12:11 PM on September 23


All those conventional Republicans only lost to Trump due to the Clinton's campaigns pied piper strategy.

American electoral margins are so slim that Clinton could've won in tens or hundreds of ways, but the top few include merely campaigning harder in the states that even Bill Clinton warned them to campaign in, or the FBI being slightly less the fascist Republican stooge that it always is.

Yes, Clinton would won if she adopted more of Sanders message and spoke more to the lower middle class and working poor. We know Clinton is a neo-liberal to her core though, so that'd take some work, but her saying "basket of deplorables" is completely irrelevant. It's equally clear Clinton could've won without any policy changes that might inconvenience her relationship with Goldman Sacks, military contractors, etc. though too, but instead she spent money in the wrong states.

Yes, Russia played some small role because they wisely exploited Facebook's targeted ads with their soft money, but they were nothing like Comey's last minute sabotage. All the leaks targeting Clinton did nothing except to keep far-left info-junky Sanders supporters mad, not enough people to impact the election, and maybe keeping Clinton name associated with the word email. Comey was vastly more influential than Russia though. Yet, her campaigns poor targeting decisions even more influential still.

If we must single out one top reason Clinton lost, and abstraction like "detached from reality" are off the table, then the clear winner is her campaign's pied piper strategy, which pitted her against a media savvy populist.

We laughed (left) or complained (right) throughout the early Republican primary that Trump received all the media attention. I'm sure Trump's media savvy helped significantly, but all that Trump coverage hinged on media bosses friendly to the Clinton campaign who believed that covering Trump the Clinton campaign because the Clinton campaign had told them so! They all thought "Oh this Trump guy is both good for rating and covering him helps Clinton!" Those media outlets were hooked on covering Trump's buffoonery by time for the general.

I blame John Podesta and Comey for Trump, and Trump's own people of course. Yes, Clinton picked Podesta, but she did so within the confines of the same utterly corrupt nepotistic DNC that picked her over Sanders. Yes, Bill and Hillary Clinton have both helped make the DNC that way, but they share that blame with so many others, like Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

It's clear Hillary Clinton has done terrible things, especially starting the war in Libya, but afaik the only mistake that led to Trump that she should "own" is not involving Bill Clinton more on the campaign strategy side. Yes, Bill is as out of touch as she is politically, but he is much less a theoretician than her, Podesta, etc.

tl;dr We cannot blame Clinton for still believing in her flawed neo-liberal views or whatever. We can blame John Podesta, and DNC folk, for picking Trump and botching Clinton's campaign.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:14 PM on September 23 [4 favorites]


You can view it as a tactical error—which goes to the basic idea that you don't want to say something that comes across as smug because that won't win you votes

Which brings up a funny bit of cognitive dissonance, as that kind of decision would have been real, actual political correctness in its originally intended form, not the "omg you said a nice about the gays" kind of "political correctness" that Dems including Hillary are accused of. Hillary Clinton told an extremely un-PC truth and everyone flipped the fuck out.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:14 PM on September 23 [14 favorites]


I said from the beginning that they were not identical. Obviously calling a group deplorable and merely describing their deplorable views and actions are different, but it's a difference of degree, not kind. I just don't see how one is "smug" and "elitist" and the other isn't. It's also entirely false to say that Obama's version didn't draw a similar amount of ire -- it was just that Obama's was in April during the primary, and Hillary's was in September during the general.

The simple truth is that as bona fide, overeducated elitists, we are taught not to use labels. It's why we're hated as elitists because we use more words to make people just as angry at us.

It's just something we're strongly socialized to not do. At the bottom of this very thread, is an admonition to talk about issues and not members. Or the general idea that it is better to talk about behaviors, and not the people. Or I can quote the attribution fallacy from psychology—the psychological idea that people trigger their own biases when they think others have some essential quality that makes them that way. Theory of mind, entity theories, blah blah.

Which is funny, because I come on this site and people use name-calling which is completely against my cultural sensibilities. You can look through my comments, I don't use clever names at people. Name-calling behavior gives me real anxiety. Of course, you can turn that around and accuse me of being condescending or smug regardless; I'm just doing it differently.

So yes, both quotes can come across as smug. But as elitists, we nevertheless make a distinction that we actually believe in, as part of the general idea that how you convey your idea matters. We believe there is no such thing as a person being smug. It only appears smug to the other person, and part of our affective labor is skills in managing that. But in many cases, the rhetoric fails its intended effect, despite elitists' supposed knowledge. In Obama's case, he messed up because he used more words—but because of the particular political timing and because his language was more obscured, it could not be leveraged so it affected him less. In Hillary's case, her catchphrase was very easily decontextualized and re-appropriated. Labels and catchphrases are powerful, which is also why they backfire harder. At this point you can say that this isn't something she is responsible for, that her words speak the truth in face of racism which is real and misogyny which is real, etc. Sure.

When winning over votes, the political individuals are doing a much more pragmatic thing. People are not smug, and words are not smug. What matters is the perception of those that you as a politician want their votes. I.e. it matters what they think of you, for these purposes.

So why do many progressive elitists believe this? Because behavioral science says so. Because our classroom language instills it in us. How am I magically aware of all this? Expensive elitist therapy, maybe.

I had fun writing my comment, please take what I said with a grain of salt.
posted by polymodus at 12:15 PM on September 23 [4 favorites]


All those conventional Republicans only lost to Trump due to the Clinton's campaigns pied piper strategy.

So strange that the sorceress Hillary, who had previously shown such a masterful control over the media and Republicans, failed to exercise that control on election day.

(Seriously, if you think Hillary or her campaign created that strategy I don't know how to talk to you because that is some astounding lack of knowledge.)
posted by asteria at 12:19 PM on September 23 [17 favorites]


TLDR, I had reservations about Clinton for most of the same reasons that I did about Gore in 2000 (and for which I did not vote him), but after the debacle of 2000 I knew that voting third party was a bad idea.

Anyway, Joe Biden looks to be running in 2020 on an explicitly anti-leftist platform which blargh.
posted by dhens at 12:33 PM on September 23 [2 favorites]


It's Podesta who orchestrated the pied piper strategy, asteria, not Clinton herself. And she did not receive that email.

We all commented the excessive media attention Trump received throughout the early Republican primaries, including by news media friendly to the Democrats. It worked. Podesta, et al. played a decisive role in Trump's nomination.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:34 PM on September 23 [3 favorites]


I did not vote for Gore in 2000

I didn't either, which is one reason why I didn't make the same mistake in 2016. I saw what happened as a result.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:36 PM on September 23 [6 favorites]


It's so easy for people to disagree based on hypotheticals that didn't happen. Like whether any other Republican could have beaten Hillary Rodham Clinton. I personally feel that Trump was the weakest candidate to go up against her; any 'generic Repub' might have actually matched her popular vote total, and then, we'd have the Party dominating everything in Washington with a halfway-competent President, pushing most of the same awful pro-corporate/anti-people policies with greater success.

Why the Democratic Party didn't go all in on fixing or replacing the Electoral College after 2000 is (in retrospect) the stupidest political non-move of the Century. (For the record, I voted for Gore, because, except for his boneheaded choice of running mate, he seemed to me to be working hard to campaign to the Left of Bill Clinton)

Why didn't Hillary run in 2004; she only had 4 years in the Senate before she could try to become a true breakthrough candidate - like Obama had and was in 2008. When she lost to Obama, there emerged an image of her as Totally Entitled to be NEXT, that she could bypass the Vice Presidency (which would've been an awesome if "risky" ticket), do 4 years in a highest-profile Cabinet job then the next 4 years campaigning full-time, which included actions to make sure she didn't have any competition from "major" members of her party, only to find an almost-total-outsider who wasn't even registered as a Democrat get 40+% of the primary votes (almost as high a percentage as Trump got among the Reps). That should've been a big "uh oh".

If I respect Hillary Clinton less than Warren, Klobuchar, Harris or other women in the Democratic Party, (remember this list from 4 years ago?) there are three reasons.

(1) America is really late out of the gate in getting a woman into our highest political office. And the concept of "the first Woman President has to be married to a Former President" is a tradition more of the less-enlightened nations that have been that route.

(2) Bill didn't have "an affair", he had a long pattern of infidelity, treating their marriage as 'more like a business partnership' and so did she. The only reason that ONE affair was so important, was his insistence on denying the obvious could be turned by the Republican Ratfuckers into grounds for Impeachment. Hillary never had the courage to DTMF, which would have raised MY respect for her significantly. Or if it's really "a Marriage of Political Convenience", be more honest about it. Yeah, it's a 'Private Lives' issue that shouldn't be relevant, but in this country, with the hypocritical opposition, it is.

(3) ...and this is kind of personal for me. When Bill was elected, he put Hillary in charge of shepherding Health Care Reform (probably because it was the one most Liberal plank in his platform and he was signaling that she was more Liberal than he). Anyway, she failed and still the Democrats paid as high an electoral price in the midterms as Obama did 16 years later when he kind of succeeded. And during that 16 years inbetween, I was one of those driven to bankruptcy by medical bills (even with Employer Provided Health Insurance). So I felt that she had failed me personally.

And DESPITE all that, Hillary Rodham Clinton had my full support in the November 2016 election (but living here in California where it doesn't really matter). I agree it would have been a "continuation of the Obama years", and not in the best way - the Republican Ratfuckers would have spent so much time trying to get her impeached, nothing else would get done, and the ninth seat on the Supreme Court probably would still be unfilled.

I hold out a lot of hope that Trump will destroy the Republican Party like he did to Atlantic City and his other business enterprises and America will finally get a chance to outgrow some of its most terrible tendencies. But it requires us all to work hard, spending a minimum amount of time and effort on "What Happened" and the maximum amount on "WHAT HAPPENS NEXT".
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:38 PM on September 23 [4 favorites]


Enh, I don't care about Bill Clinton in relation to Hillary Clinton's political career, just like Benghazi and emails were totally ridiculous non-scandals.
posted by dhens at 12:41 PM on September 23 [2 favorites]


In many ways, 2016's electoral result is eerily similar to 2000, complete with the electoral vote trumping the popular vote, allegations of voter fraud, gnashing of teeth over third parties, etc. And both campaigns had the Democratic candidate pledging to more or less stay the course of their predecessor's popular - if still polarizing - presidency, except bigger and better and more of it. And both candidates were defeated at the electoral college by Republican candidates seen as anti-intellectual and appealing to emotions.

Maybe in some ways the Democrats were inevitably going to lose in 2016, no matter who the final candidates are- in this current cycle of American politics, how many candidates from the same party as the two-term incumbent are able to win the election? Truman- but he didn't have to win an election to become president in the first place. Ditto for LBJ- both won reelection campaigns. So who does that leave- George H. W. Bush? H.W. was the only continuation candidate to be elected?

Maybe the minority of Americans who actually vote simply don't like having the same party in power in the White House for too long, no matter the consequences. Blame it on lack of information or lack of taking politics seriously or poor attention spans or reckless novelty-seeking or whatever you want- it seems unduly difficult for a candidate from the same party as the sitting president to succeed that president, regardless of how bad their opponent is. More voters just want change, any change, even for the worse.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:52 PM on September 23 [4 favorites]


Is there anything particularly ant-leftist there besides opposition to basic income, dhens? Just Joe Biden's allegiance to the credit card companies?
posted by jeffburdges at 12:53 PM on September 23 [1 favorite]


Anyway, she failed and still the Democrats paid as high an electoral price in the midterms as Obama did 16 years later when he kind of succeeded. And during that 16 years inbetween, I was one of those driven to bankruptcy by medical bills (even with Employer Provided Health Insurance). So I felt that she had failed me personally.

FUCKING REALLY?

You blame her? For trying to make things better? Not any of the actually elected officials who could, at any fucking time, have made that push? Who could have fucking helped? Not the batshit insane abusive republicans who staged a witch hunt? You blame...then woman?

IS THIS FUCK REAL, DO YOU PEOPLE READ WHAT YOU WRITE
posted by schadenfrau at 12:54 PM on September 23 [59 favorites]


Is there anything particularly ant-leftist there besides opposition to basic income, dhens? Just Joe Biden's allegiance to the credit card companies?

Well, he talks about not casting businesses as the enemy, and calling for more and better job training as if lack thereof is the only, or even the most important, source of economic inequality in the US.

More generally, Biden is to the right of HRC, and while he has been good on some issues (domestic violence and LGBT rights) he has also been problematic on others, and is especially hawkish. I mean, if he is the D candidate in 2020 I will vote for him, but, ugh.
posted by dhens at 1:01 PM on September 23


Maybe the minority of Americans who actually vote simply don't like having the same party in power in the White House for too long, no matter the consequences.

I've used this like half a dozen times already, but here goes:

In non-incumbent Presidential elections, the candidate with more elected experience has lost every time since 1896. Not a typo. Eighteen hundred and ninety-six -- McKinley over Bryan.

Slight kind-of exception: Kennedy and Nixon had each been in elected office continuously since January 3rd, 1947.
posted by Etrigan at 1:06 PM on September 23 [10 favorites]


All my adult life, I have wanted politicians to tell me what they can deliver rather than promising me pie in the sky and blowing sunshine up my ass. I have wanted candidates who didn't talk to me like I'm stupid.

In the primary, I was given the choice between a woman who limited her promises to what she believed she could deliver and recognized the difficulties ahead, or a man who ran his campaign on constant double standards, who did the absolute minimum to curb the uglier behavior of some of his followers, and who steadfastly refused to do actual math. And then I saw people complain that the woman, who was consistently shown to be the most honest person in the field across both parties, wasn't "inspiring enough." Because, you see, she didn't promise what she couldn't deliver, but everyone else in the field did.

And the bitterness of that primary damn well did carry over into the single ugliest and dirtiest general election of my lifetime, leading to the single dirtiest and ugliest candidate ever getting the White House.

She was up against all the normal difficulties, plus a 24-year irrational hate campaign, bitterness from a primary she decisively won, voter suppression in several states, a media that continually shoved its head ever-deeper into its own ass, unprecedented Russian interference, and the goddamn FBI, and she still got a bigger popular vote tally than anyone save Obama. But I'm supposed to think she's the problem here? I'm supposed to think she was lacking?

Yeah, I'm still angry about that.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:09 PM on September 23 [91 favorites]




Jesus, this fucking thread. The truly aggravating thing about the past couple years in politics has been that we can't accept basic disagreements over who we support. Differences are always reflective of some deep personal flaws. If you like Clinton, it's only because you can't see how she's been bought and sold by Wall St. If you don't like Clinton, it's only because you can't see that you've bought the misogynistic line about her. I've seen or received enough of both arguments to last a lifetime.

Enough, people. We've got to be able to talk about this stuff without attributing every disagreement to deep character flaws. It's infuriating, and it seems like things will just be going in circles forever. HRC is a politician, and we can't keep acting like there's one Correct way to see her. It's making conversations about politics a billion times more tedious than they need to be.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 1:14 PM on September 23 [31 favorites]


A Nazi in America killed a woman by running her over with a car not two weeks ago, for fuck's sake.

In case you too are suffering from acute Trump-induced time distortion, this happened a month and a half ago.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 1:23 PM on September 23 [7 favorites]


Hillary never had the courage to DTMF, which would have raised MY respect for her significantly.

wow this is gross
posted by poffin boffin at 1:32 PM on September 23 [68 favorites]


Enough, people. We've got to be able to talk about this stuff without attributing every disagreement to deep character flaws.

I don't mind the attributing if it's self-directed. For instance, let's shut the f*** up about what he-she-they did wrong last November and talk instead about what we did wrong.

Did you not vote? Did you opt for a protest vote, because both main party options were equally ugly? Did you opt for a protest vote because of what the Dems did to Bernie? Did you not not take the Trump threat seriously enough and just assume that we'd all be waking up on November 9th to America's first female president (that would be me)? Did buy into some fake news and believe you were doing an informed thing when you did whatever you did on election day?

What the fuck did YOU do wrong? Because it takes a nation of millions to elect a venomous, egotistical dotard.
posted by philip-random at 1:34 PM on September 23 [14 favorites]


I can't vote, but I could have done more. I went up to NH to GOTV for Hassan, and encouraged people to vote for Clinton when they brought the presidential race up but didn't really push her because I thought Trump was cooked.

I thought the "grab 'em by the pussy" tape would kill him. (Prior to that, I'd thought he had a pretty good shot.) I think participating in the metafilter bubble did cloud my thinking on this, a bit, but that's my responsibility.
posted by Coventry at 1:44 PM on September 23


My conscience is clear. I donated, urged everyone I knew to vote for her, and voted for her. If it's somehow still my fault despite all that, I have to guess there'd be a good number of others with an even larger share of the blame, maybe that's why I'm not feeling particularly like the soulsearching is very helpful. I don't really feel like anybody who did all those things has any reason for self-recrimination or deserves any share of the blame.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:47 PM on September 23


If you don't hire someone, you don't get to complain that she didn't come back later to help you for free.

Right but President isn't a regular job. It's an enormous responsibility. Anyone who is willing to take it on without the commensurate deep commitment to the well-being of the American people is kinda a gross person. So one would expect that serious candidates would, even upon losing, continue to demonstrate a deep commitment to the well-being of the American people.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 1:47 PM on September 23




I have seen a whole bunch of pullquotes and I know that if I tried to read the whole book, I would probably go apoplectic between the out-of-touch-ness and the continued defense of wonkishness and centrism.

"I know everyone hates Clinton because all my friends hate Clinton."

"She won the popular vote, but obviously she is a giant failure who lost and should go away."

"I know her book is terrible because I don't like these sentences pulled from a book that is 492 pages long."

"I haven't read her book, but here are my favorite reviews of the book I haven't and never plan to read."

"Here is what Clinton thinks went wrong. No, I have not read her book nor am I going to read or listen to these interviews with her. But I know."


You know what, if you hate Clinton that's fine. But if you're going to talk about why you hate Clinton, then at least base it in factual evidence. I am fucking sick of people who have decided based on their pre-existing feelings and their friends' pre-existing feelings that they know what Clinton is thinking, who she is, what she believes, and how everyone else feels about her--and then using those conclusions to further justify said feelings.

If you refuse to fully engage with anything Clinton actually says or her full political record in favor of things written by the Onion or somebody on Twitter or your friend at a bar or an article in the New York Times or Salon or whatever, you're allowed to do that.

But consider: does it drive you nuts when a Republican argues that a healthcare bill must protect pre-existing conditions, because after all, all those conservative politicians are saying it does? Do you ask them if they actually read the bill, and then want to explode when it's clear they haven't and don't plan to?

SO WHY ARE YOU DOING THE SAME GODDAMN THING
posted by schroedinger at 1:53 PM on September 23 [44 favorites]


God, how many people commenting and linking reviews have actually read this book?

You know what? I don't even require you to read her actual speeches. Or take in her actual, complete legislative history. Or take in any of her interviews in full. But if you are going to critique her book, at least read the goddamn book.
posted by schroedinger at 1:55 PM on September 23 [6 favorites]


BUT: Is it sexist to say that she shouldn't hang out with Henry Kissinger? Is it sexist to say that she shouldn't have called children "superpredators?" Is it sexist to say that speaking to big banks for lots of money in the aftermath of the 2008 crash and then being defensive and not releasing those transcripts might look bad?

Not if you, at the same time, make sure to point out that Donald J. Trump hangs out with convicted child rapists, and the preponderance of evidence shows he may have raped a 13 year old girl in 1994.

And make sure you point out that Donald J. Trump even after being found innocent, still thinks the Central Park 5 is guilty. That's more than "superpredator".

And you need to point out that Donald J. Trump declared bankruptcy 6 times, and his defensiveness with respect to not releasing his tax returns looks even worse.

Then it wouldn't be sexist. It would demonstrate how much better Hillary Clinton is.
posted by mikelieman at 1:59 PM on September 23 [12 favorites]


SO WHY ARE YOU DOING THE SAME GODDAMN THING

I've been in-and-out of this thread, and my sense is that it's actually a space for everyone to unload all this Clinton angst. And Clinton deserves better.

But fucking 2017, AGAIN.
posted by mikelieman at 2:01 PM on September 23 [3 favorites]


It's not de facto misogynistic to not like Hillary Clinton

But if you need to evangelize to other people about how your dislike is based on objective facts and that dislike of Hillary Clinton should be a sentiment universally shared by all right-thinking people, well, brother
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:03 PM on September 23 [32 favorites]


I was a Bernie supporter, so my defense of Clinton is not *too* fervent, but I'd genuinely like to know what she thinks about what happened. Why not?

Tone deaf? Look, I'm an old Leftie who used to protest and get arrested and stuff. That one time Clinton's speech was interrupted by BLM protestors? She responded by giving them a long piece of strategic advice. It was fantastic advice. I understood it completely and agreed with it, from my battered old perspective now. The protestors didn't, but they are young and fiery still. Clinton's problem, honestly, is that she is always looking for the feasible and do-able. It's a skill that the older and sadder among us can appreciate, but it did not work in this instance. I feel for her.
posted by acrasis at 2:03 PM on September 23 [20 favorites]


Then it wouldn't be sexist. It would demonstrate how much better Hillary Clinton is.

I voted for Clinton this past November (an adventure which took 2 hours thanks to a county clerk mix-up), and I wake up literally every day wishing that she had won. When it became clear that she was going to win the primaries, I stopped posting critical things about her on FB or even saying them in public because, holy hell, I did not want Trump to win the general. From then until the present, my FB is basically full of things about how Trump is a howling void of pure ego, greed, and violence at the center of our public life.

This thread is about Hillary Clinton and her book. This is why I was talking about her.
posted by dhens at 2:06 PM on September 23 [8 favorites]


We've got to be able to talk about this stuff without attributing every disagreement to deep character flaws

Plenty of characters are flawed and should be called out as such.
posted by PMdixon at 2:06 PM on September 23 [3 favorites]


I did not want Trump to win the general.

If I can piggyback off of my own comment, I do think that if she had been Harold Clinton, then there would have been more NeverTrump Rs who would have voted for Clinton. She was absolutely 1000% a victim of a very long sexist campaign as well as underlying sexist attitudes.
posted by dhens at 2:13 PM on September 23 [5 favorites]


BUT: Is it sexist to say that she shouldn't hang out with Henry Kissinger? Is it sexist to say that she shouldn't have called children "superpredators?" Is it sexist to say that speaking to big banks for lots of money in the aftermath of the 2008 crash and then being defensive and not releasing those transcripts might look bad?

No one is saying it's sexist to criticize Hillary Clinton, my god.
posted by Mavri at 2:17 PM on September 23 [2 favorites]


This thread is about Hillary Clinton and her book. This is why I was talking about her.

Except you didn't read the book. You have issued judgments about what her book is like and what it says about her, but you haven't actually read the book.

Nobody here is claiming you prefer Trump to her as POTUS. But I sure as hell would like an explanation as to why you, and anyone else in this thread, have decided the existence and content of this book is further reason to condemn her without ever reading it.
posted by schroedinger at 2:21 PM on September 23 [6 favorites]


And by the way, if you believe "It's a good idea to read a book before assuming you know exactly what is in the book and then condemning an author based on that assumption" are the radically biased words of someone living in a Shill Bubble, then Christ. Maybe turn off your computer and phone and sit in a dark room and muse on what that says about you.
posted by schroedinger at 2:26 PM on September 23 [5 favorites]


It's kinda obvious what the book is about, no? I personally wish she'd use her influence and the great regard her supporters have for her to meaningfully contribute to the existential fight we're all waging against the forces of racial/ethnic/religious hatred and deadly incompetence.

Maybe just me tho
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 2:26 PM on September 23 [1 favorite]


No one is saying it's sexist to criticize Hillary Clinton, my god.

Hard to read some of the comments in this thread any other way. I mean, apparently I'm a misogynistic racist because I think she's smugger and more elitist than Obama.
posted by Coventry at 2:29 PM on September 23 [5 favorites]


I personally wish she'd use her influence and the great regard her supporters have for her to meaningfully contribute to the existential fight we're all waging against the forces of racial/ethnic/religious hatred and deadly incompetence.

... Via the avenue of? The secret 0th 'do-over in case of foreign interference' amendment to the constitution?
posted by PMdixon at 2:30 PM on September 23 [1 favorite]


... Via the avenue of? The secret 0th 'do-over in case of foreign interference' amendment to the constitution?

She has a ton of money and she's insanely prominent. Hmm, what could she possibly do to make the world a better place

I guess only be president, I guess that's the only thing
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 2:33 PM on September 23 [1 favorite]


Yeah I guess she could help fund some kind of charitable foundation, maybe name it after herself or something.
posted by PMdixon at 2:35 PM on September 23 [30 favorites]


But I sure as hell would like an explanation as to why you, and anyone else in this thread, have decided the existence and content of this book is further reason to condemn her without ever reading it.

Is anyone doing that? I mean, it's a discussion forum. People are discussing the book reviews and the excerpts of the book we have access to. And because the book concerns the recent campaign, which people have many opinions about, there is discussion of that, too. I imagine most of the people in this thread are political junkies and will be reading the book sooner or later. I plan to. I don't plan on spending 15 bucks on it. And because political polemics of this sort are as much publicity campaigns as they are books, there's plenty to discuss. Much of the material has been discussed by HRC herself in the various interviews and press opportunities that are part of the tour.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:41 PM on September 23 [2 favorites]


Or even revisit her positions on many of these issues in....

Wait for it...

Her current fucking book and interview tour because she is not just “whining” but addressing substance.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:41 PM on September 23 [6 favorites]


All I asked is if your comment could have been made in 1999 by Andrew Sullivan in The New Republic or Juan Williams on Talk of the Nation, maybe consider that it's not a hot new take on Hillary and that, no matter how unbiased you perceive yourself to be, it's possible that you have totally accidentally absorbed some of the misogyny that's been in the air about her for the past 25 years. If you have carefully considered that, and you are positive that your hot new take is a totally genuine, unbiased hot new take, then go for it.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:45 PM on September 23 [13 favorites]


Anyone who is willing to take it on without the commensurate deep commitment to the well-being of the American people is kinda a gross person. So one would expect that serious candidates would, even upon losing, continue to demonstrate a deep commitment to the well-being of the American people.

So...you run for president and you've committed your entire life to unpaid public service forever, regardless of the result? Or else you're a bad person? An entire adulthood in public service, culminating in the complete sacrifice of two years in an attempt to become president...that's not enough to demonstrate commitment to the well-being of the American people? Exactly how many years is required, anyway? She's 69 years old now--is there a retirement age, or does grossness lurk even at the very doorstep of the tomb?

Do you think Mitt Romney is a "gross person?" John Kerry? No? How did they get across the finish line?

In case you all are wondering why so many of us see misogyny inflecting so many criticisms of HRC, it's stuff like this. Regurgitated takes that, when challenged, get ever more frantically far-fetched til it becomes embarrassingly obvious that they're just post-hoc rationalizations of a bad feeling about her.
posted by praemunire at 2:54 PM on September 23 [32 favorites]




without attributing every disagreement to deep character flaws

I would say that the conception of misogyny, racism, etc. as only a "deep character flaw" is in itself a serious problem. As long as you consider, e.g., holding a misogynistic belief as strictly the province of those with deep character flaws, you will never be able to recognize those beliefs in yourself or those around you. Because you're not bad people, right? And, indeed, you're probably not (there are very few people about which I think it's meaningful to say that they are "bad people," although 45 is one). But that doesn't mean you haven't spent your entire life living in, and probably benefiting from, a culture that is saturated with injustice. You're not uniquely saintly, either.
posted by praemunire at 3:00 PM on September 23 [14 favorites]


I will point out that some of the criticisms by (assumedly lefty) people here about Clinton are definitely gendered and/or double standards, and are gross and not helping™.
posted by dhens at 3:01 PM on September 23 [2 favorites]


It's kinda obvious what the book is about, no?

Actually, apparently it isn't. Because it is not a list of grievances. It is a deep analysis of her failings, her campaign, the evolution of her own political thought and how that shaped both of campaign and her failings, the evolution of politics in the USA and her interpretation of where they stand now and how that interpretation has changed as a result of the campaign and Trump's election, her analysis of how outside forces magnified her own failings to create a perfect storm, and a warning for both the American people and US citizens about the external forces that threatened our democracy and a plea for us to not brush them aside.

There is no way to read this book and think Clinton believes herself blameless. The time she spends acknowledging the existence of real forces outside her control that hurt her and her campaign is dwarfed by the time she spends on self-analysis, thinking about the election in general in a larger sociopolitical context, and agonizing over her miscalculations and mistakes, not just during the campaign but long before it.

That is why I am frustrated with the people who are dismissing the need to read the book. It's like those claim she never talked about jobs and yet have never read a single speech from her campaign. Their opinions are based entirely in what they've cherry-picked from people who themselves may have cherry-picked. And then this information cascade of skewed interpretations and assumptions is in of itself a tributary of the larger information cascade about Clinton that's been operating for decades.

Go ahead and sit here and dismiss all of that--but fundamentally, the heart of your opinion is based in nothing you actually know.
posted by schroedinger at 3:04 PM on September 23 [56 favorites]


Here's the thing it boils down to which I feel like people are being obtuse about:

If something is repeatedly said about a woman that is basically never said about similarly situated men, it is most likely driven by sexism, even if no gendered stereotypes are explicitly referred to.
posted by PMdixon at 3:11 PM on September 23 [42 favorites]


apparently I'm a misogynistic racist because I think she's smugger and more elitist than Obama.

Yes, that is why people are criticizing you. Not because you've asserted that it was smug and elitist of her to reject white supremacy. Nope, they're just mad because you think she's more elitist than Obama.


Is anyone doing that? I mean, it's a discussion forum.

I mean, do you want me to pull the comments where people said the book was whining, a list of grievances, tone-deaf, self-serving, etc etc, and all without having read the book? I am not sure how complaining that she has written this book and about the content of the book and its reflection on her is not a condemnation.

All I ask is that, at minimum, is that before criticizing the content of her book one actually reads the book.

(also that one can fancy oneself a "political junkie" while neglecting to consume primary sources before opining on them about sums up what's wrong with US politics)
posted by schroedinger at 3:16 PM on September 23 [13 favorites]


Lumping a large fraction of Trump's supporters together with white supremacists and misogynists and writing them off as "deplorable" is exactly the smug aspect of it. Clinton herself sees it as an error.
posted by Coventry at 3:25 PM on September 23


If I read like 10% of the book and quit because it sucked could I criticize it or how much do I have to read before I can have an opinion
posted by edeezy at 3:25 PM on September 23 [3 favorites]


All I ask is that, at minimum, is that before criticizing the content of her book one actually reads the book.

Do you think this should be a site-wide standard? For whatever reason, it never seems to be an expectation when we're discussing a book that Milo or Hannity has written.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 3:26 PM on September 23 [1 favorite]


Ok, what about the list of reviews and excerpts the man of twists and turns cited in the post? Are those allowed for discussion?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:26 PM on September 23 [1 favorite]


I would say that the conception of misogyny, racism, etc. as only a "deep character flaw" is in itself a serious problem. As long as you consider, e.g., holding a misogynistic belief as strictly the province of those with deep character flaws, you will never be able to recognize those beliefs in yourself or those around you. Because you're not bad people, right?

Yes yes yes, this. It is not the end of the world if you do or say or think something sexist or racist and accept that you did it and try to do better because that shit is the air we breathe. Like, it sucks, but so do a lot of things we all do unintentionally without examining, and the only time it gets into deep character flaw territory is for the most part when someone is actively embracing sexist or racist behavior. Sexist or racist actions are not cool but if you're genuinely trying to do better, like, you're ok. You're not blameless but everybody does shitty stuff, learn and do better, because these things are not the exclusive domain of the deplorables and it's dangerous to think they are, we've all got to keep our heads on a swivel. I talked over a woman unintentionally like two days ago, totally aware that that's a shitty look for a guy but I wasn't thinking in the moment, and I did it in a multicultural sensitivity professional development workshop, it sucks and I sucked in that moment but it's also not like omg the struggle between good and evil, every action will condemn you to either intersectional heaven or maga hell. It's just the background radiation of our culture and you've gotta keep trying. This stuff is everywhere.
posted by jason_steakums at 3:29 PM on September 23 [11 favorites]


Yes, Clinton made mistakes, but what candidate hasn't? I honestly don't think that Clinton's mistakes, Butter Emails, BEN-GHA-ZEEEE!, you name it, were the horrible career-ending mistakes that should have cost her the Presidency.

Instead, it was her treatment by the media - and its corresponding elevation of Trump, who never deserved to be anything more than a LOLareyoukiddingme? candidate - which cost her the Presidency. It was a toxic stew of misogyny, IOKIYAR (It's OK if you're a Republican), media dislike of Democrats in general, and Let's Bend Over Backward To Prove We Have No Liberal Bias.

- Hillary Clinton had been collecting media enmity and bad press since she was First Lady of Arkansas back in the 1980's. That is a long time for bad press to be ginned up and the endless scandals and -gates and allegations of corruption and and and has been dripping into the public consciousness ever since. (I'm sure that if Kamala Harris or Kirsten Gillibrand ran for President, there would be negative coverage and misogyny galore, but the press has not had the 25+ year head start with them that they had on HRC.) David Roberts, Vox: She [HRC] navigated a twisted hall of mirrors.

- Clinton Cash was a smear job and a passel of lies, but the mainstream "liberal" media ate it up with a spoon and spun all kinds of anti-HRC stories out of it.

- Donald Trump got all kinds of free and fawning press from the "liberal" mainstream media which gave him a platform he otherwise would not have had.

- The media's conservative bias is nothing new. They loved Bush and hated Gore; not that the latter wasn't flawed or unpopular, but the mainstream media - the same ones who took Clinton Cash for the gospel truth - ripped him to shreds without much justification (Evgenia Peretz, Vanity Fair). John Kerry was successfully swiftboated - that's how the term originated - with the media barely raising a peep.

- Finally, here is a paper The Media and the Crisis of Democracy in the Age of Bush by Douglas Kellner, peer-reviewed, scholarly and everything, that details that yes, there is a conservative bias in the media.

I don't think HRC is to blame for her loss. I think there is something very broken in our democracy and especially our media. Her "gaffes" and her mistakes were pretty much nothingburgers which the media and societal misogyny inflated to big old somethingburgers. I wish HRC could kick the media in its collective nuts.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 3:32 PM on September 23 [41 favorites]


Epic post! Thorough as usual, tmotat!

This pull quote from the book (that I found in the final link) pretty much summarizes what I find really off putting about the Democrats as they've existed during my adult lifetime, with Hillary Clinton as the exemplar:

I’ve always believed that it’s dangerous to make big promises if you have no idea how you’re going to keep them. When you don’t deliver, it will make people even more cynical about government.

I'm curious if there is social science research on this question. I'm certainly willing to hear that I'm wrong, but I feel strongly in the opposite. It's this incrementalist, starting from a position of compromise, refusing to take a bold stance on anything-ism that has completely alienated me from mainstream politics. Hillary's arguments during the primaries, that we should primarily be realistic, it is just the most un-mobilizing sentiment I can imagine. A lot of this was simply the bad luck of her moment, but in this election cycle, bold vision, for better and for worse, was enormously more mobilizing than a politics of keep-everything-pretty-much-as-it-is-ism. And Trump proves you can make the unbelievable possible. Just two years ago, absolutely no one would believe we would be where we are now.

I believe in my heart we're at the tail of the project of the United States; all empires end. But we'll probably get a few more presidents before it's over. Hillary Clinton is smart and driven and competent, but if we get another Democrat before this is all over, I do hope that the one anointed to represent 'my side' comes with more vision.
posted by latkes at 3:42 PM on September 23 [6 favorites]


The word smug is defined as "having or showing an excessive pride in oneself or one's achievements."

So when it's applied to a woman, in the context of our misogyny-saturated world, it's highly suspect at best.

Might as well say she's shrill or hysterical.
posted by melissasaurus at 4:08 PM on September 23 [24 favorites]


Is it sexist to say that she shouldn't...

A lot of the criticism that Clinton seems to attract (Bill's sexual assaults, Goldman-Sachs speeches, Kissinger friendship, super-predators, 'smug elitist', etc) all seem rooted in the idea that Clinton is a person of generally low character.

Low character did not cost Clinton the election. How do I know? Because Mr Low Character himself currently occupies the fucking White House. Maybe Clinton's problem was she just wasn't appalling enough, you know? Maybe she should have arranged to have a tape leaked where she can be heard laughing and saying "yeah I was furious with Bill but let's face it those women were basically asking for it". Why not? People just assume that's what she thinks anyway, and 2016 kicked off the Era of the Garbage Person. Could have won her the election, and then we could reasonably discuss what a wretched person Clinton is.

Please. If you want to criticize Clinton's campaign, go right ahead. She could have made different strategic choices there maybe and turned her popular vote victory into an Electoral College victory. But you cannot expect to go on about her character whilst Mr Toad is president, because yeah that comes across as kinda really sexist.
posted by um at 4:25 PM on September 23 [12 favorites]


Just want to add: I'm not trying to tu quoque Clinton criticism by whatabouting President Fuckhead. What I'm getting at is that good character was clearly not a commodity in high demand last year, so complaining about Clinton's character or lack thereof smells funny.
posted by um at 4:30 PM on September 23 [8 favorites]


Clinton Cash was a smear job and a passel of lies, but the mainstream "liberal" media ate it up with a spoon

Clinton Cash had a number of inaccuracies, but was hardly the pile of garbage you're suggesting. Seasoned investigative journalists at the Times and the Post went nuts over it because it contained so much verifiable data about sketchy behavior. And Clinton helped the buzz along by refusing to address the apparent conflicts of interest:
Clinton’s tone-deaf response to the steady drip of revelations only deepened their impact because it conveyed a sense of entitlement that was off-putting even to many Democrats. Confronted over her failure to disclose foreign donors, Clinton and her aides stonewalled, or scolded reporters for not focusing instead on the foundation’s good works, or claimed it didn’t matter. When The Boston Globe discovered that a local branch ofthe Clinton Foundation had “uniformly bypassed” Clinton’s agreement with the White House to disclose foreign donors, a spokeswoman told the paper that they “deemed it unnecessary” to reveal those names, and refused.

Rehearsed in the rigors of right-wing attacks, Clinton’s aides went after the source of so many of them: Peter Schweizer’s book. They tried to discredit Clinton Cash as they had successfully done to numerous anti-Clinton polemics in the 1990s. But their efforts mostly failed because Schweizer’s book was not filled with outlandish rumors and blind quotes, as the earlier books had been; it contained documentable facts that reporters could check out for themselves.
For another perspective on "what happened," Devil's Bargain (source of this quote) is very illuminating.
posted by Coventry at 4:32 PM on September 23 [3 favorites]


Wow, looks like some of you really don't like the suggestion that they might not have the foresight to know the content of that book, huh?

Lumping a large fraction of Trump's supporters together with white supremacists and misogynists and writing them off as "deplorable" is exactly the smug aspect of it.

This seems to indicate you don't actually believe Trump supporters should be labeled as misogynist or racist, and that's why people are objecting to you. Because with the racism in particular, every study of the attitudes and motivations of Trump supporters indicate they were driven by racism and xenophobia. And this narration that this wasn't the primary driver, or it was all "economic anxiety", is a pretty good indicator that the person arguing this point might be blind themselves to the realities of being a POC in the USA and the history of race in this country.

One might not call it "smug" so much as "accurate". Call it a political miscalculation, sure, but "smug" implies she was wrong.

----

Do you think this should be a site-wide standard? For whatever reason, it never seems to be an expectation when we're discussing a book that Milo or Hannity has written.

Interesting. So, here's something: the reason one can be reasonably sure that Hitler is an anti-Semitic shit without reading Mein Kampf is because he consistently demonstrated in every action and word that anti-Semitism was a central driver of his political philosophy. The reason one can be reasonably sure that a book written by Hannity or Milo is probably chock-full of racism and misogyny is because they've consistently demonstrated through every action and word that those are central drivers of their political philosophy.

Is your argument here then that Clinton's past words and actions are similarly so lacking in nuance, so consistently driven by a craven, repulsive political philosophy that devoting any time to actual primary sources is a waste of time? And by extension--if I go by the justifications for not reading this book in this thread--that political philosophy is "whining"?

Though--I think it is a safe assumption that many of her critics on this site at least have probably spent more time consuming the primary sources of Milo or Hannity via hate-reading or hate-watching than they have consuming actual things Clinton has said or written.
posted by schroedinger at 4:42 PM on September 23 [21 favorites]


Clinton Cash had a number of inaccuracies, but was hardly the pile of garbage you're suggesting.

If you are defending something written by Peter Schweizer and enjoyed so much by Stephen Fucking Bannon that he turned it into a movie, then you should really re-evaluate your objectivity on an issue.
posted by schroedinger at 4:45 PM on September 23 [19 favorites]


Have you read it?
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 4:46 PM on September 23


Clinton Cash? Yes, and it was so fucking terrible and biased that it was one of the reasons that I began to seriously reconsider why I was so lukewarm about Clinton.
posted by schroedinger at 4:48 PM on September 23 [17 favorites]


Joe Biden looks to be running in 2020 on an explicitly anti-leftist platform

Anti-populist, if you follow the click-through. So I'll probably cross the aisle and vote for him, because nothing has persuaded me of the dangers of populism more than the last hell-year we've been living through.
posted by corb at 4:49 PM on September 23 [5 favorites]


If your argument is that nothing Schweizer or Bannon claims could possibly have a shred of truth to it, that's almost the definition of a lack of objectivity.
posted by Coventry at 5:11 PM on September 23 [1 favorite]


oh no i guess have to give another chance to the man who wants to put me in a gas chamber bc otherwise someone on the internets will say i lack objectivity
posted by poffin boffin at 5:23 PM on September 23 [51 favorites]


Joe Biden looks to be running in 2020 on an explicitly anti-leftist platform

Here's one way we'll identify misogyny; people who didn't support Clinton because she was "too centrist" but support Biden, who is far more centrist than Clinton.

Note: I will vote for Biden so hard even though he utterly fails my "doesn't remember JFK" test.
posted by Justinian at 5:31 PM on September 23 [13 favorites]


[Coventry, you've made your points and we don't need a rehash of your behavior in the primary threads, so please give this thread a break now and quit digging in.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:33 PM on September 23 [6 favorites]


Well, all I can say is, I'm definitely a radical feminist (I even spent a summer on women's land!), and I hated Hillary Clinton's politics, just as I hated Obama's and Bill Clinton's and Al Gore's. Of all those "centrists" (meaning neoliberals), the only one I voted for was Hillary! Because this election was so scary I held my nose in the general and voted for her. But I critiqued them all because I felt they stood for nothing but the status quo which is killing us all - some of us more quickly than others.

There was surely sexism and misogyny aimed at Hillary Clinton, but every criticism of her is not based in misogyny. I'm not dumb: I know it would have been meaningful and important to have a woman president, similarly (though different) to how important it was for our country to have a black president, but her politics were not my politics.

We have the worst president in the history of presidents right now, so of course I'd rather we had her, but I still feel frustrated at who gets chosen to represent the left in this country. They don't represent me, nor the majority of us, who are suffering from the worst inequality this nation has seen in almost a century.
posted by latkes at 5:49 PM on September 23 [25 favorites]


This I know: with every word uttered by the other two contenders (the winner and the other loser) and every word uttered by those who are offended that HRC dares to continue to speak I am even more satisfied with my vote for her than I was before. And my real-world friends and acquaintances who also voted for her, for whom MetaFilter doesn't even exist, feel the same.
posted by kimberussell at 5:51 PM on September 23 [22 favorites]


[How about if there's a derail all y'all just flag it instead of responding to it complaining about its derailing ways?]

[On a related note, any comments inviting the relitigation of Kerry, Gore, Carter, et al,
will be summarily deleted. Your mod team may have to suffer through the relitigation of the 2016 primaries in this thread, and believe me we are not happy about it, but by God and Cthulhu we are not going to relitigate Nader or SO HELP ME ZOD.]

[And if everyone could crank down the performative outrage and personally attacking language and exaggerated non-quotes and so on, that'd be great, because I am rapidly, rapidly running out of patience and deleting that sort of bad behavior on sight.]

posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:02 PM on September 23 [24 favorites]


[Rock 'em Sock 'em, you have been here long enough to know not to complain about moderation in-thread. Take it to the contact form, and don't have in-thread tantrums about ongoing moderation where I'm trying to clean up a whole mess of bad behavior -- in which you participated liberally -- and I haven't gotten to one of the offending comments fast enough to please you. You're making it take longer. Please throttle your behavior in this thread way back, or take a break until you can.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:06 PM on September 23 [1 favorite]


Lumping a large fraction of Trump's supporters together with white supremacists and misogynists and writing them off as 'deplorable' is exactly the smug aspect of it.

The only people she lumped together with white supremacists and misogynists are "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic" people.

Jesus Christ this deplorables stuff angers me. I have a close relative who's gay, zen, and right-wing Republican (I know!) and she's still angry that Clinton "called her deplorable." I wonder which of those deplorable groups she identifies with? (She is a bit Islamaphobic, but I dunno if she'd admit it.)
posted by kirkaracha at 6:18 PM on September 23 [11 favorites]


it's 2017 and white people still think being called a racist is worse than their actual racism
posted by poffin boffin at 7:15 PM on September 23 [48 favorites]


It sounds to me like it might even be the majority of players taking a knee to protest police racism and/or the President being a dickface racist tomorrow. I think his head is going to explode.
posted by Justinian at 7:32 PM on September 23 [3 favorites]


We have the worst president in the history of presidents right now, so of course I'd rather we had her, but I still feel frustrated at who gets chosen to represent the left in this country.

Well, even Trump during the primary campaign kinda was at times playing a dark not-so-funhouse mirror version of a populist left candidate. It didn't help that the media compared Trump and Sanders as two sides of the same coin. Social media also certainly didn't help as you always discovered or heard about some supposedly Bernie/Trump people that rallied around hating Clinton.

It sounds completely crazy now, but way back in the primaries I was afraid that someone was eventually going to figure out that being angry + blaming China & Mexico for everything wrong + free health care was the winning cheat code for the election that would draw enough of the electorate from both sides of the aisle. It certainly seemed at one point those were the three things that everyone in the country could agree upon in some form.
posted by FJT at 7:33 PM on September 23 [3 favorites]


I would say that the conception of misogyny, racism, etc. as only a "deep character flaw" is in itself a serious problem. As long as you consider, e.g., holding a misogynistic belief as strictly the province of those with deep character flaws, you will never be able to recognize those beliefs in yourself or those around you. Because you're not bad people, right?

Yeah, I guess that was bad phrasing, but that's really not what I meant. For one thing, I wasn't talking only about racism and misogyny. The first example I gave was "you can't see how she's in the pocket of Wall St," which, even if you believe that about someone, is probably not exactly a "deep character flaw."

Anyway, I totally agree that this stuff isn't solely the domain of deeply flawed characters. My point, hidden by lazy rhetoric, was just that it's easy to highlight something about the other person as the explanation for why we disagree with them. It's not enough to just disagree, it has to be attributable to something they could improve on, even if it's something relatively minor like "well, I used to be young and impulsive, too." I wasn't trying to say racism and misogyny are intrinsic problems that only deeply flawed people have, but that it seems like we cannot comprehend political disagreement unless we make it personal.

I'm not even trying to say it's not always warranted, or that it's always this hugely unreasonable thing. I'm not even trying to say I've got the key to solving politics. I'm just saying that it's frustrating. You can make of that what you want. I am, frankly, terrible at rhetoric, so I know I send the wrong message sometimes.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 7:40 PM on September 23 [2 favorites]


Low character did not cost Clinton the election.

This seems to rely on the inference that voters in states Trump won by the narrowest of margins who thought Clinton had character issues (partly thanks to the Comey letter, in addition to everything else going back decades) voted instead for Trump (rather than voting third party or not at all), which is faulty reasoning. Perceptions of character issues probably DID in fact cost Clinton the election in those key states.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 8:24 PM on September 23 [3 favorites]


Perception is not reality.
posted by Zalzidrax at 8:42 PM on September 23 [2 favorites]


Perception is not reality.

If the perception is sufficient to get fifty thousand voters to stay home or vote for Jill Stein instead of Clinton? Then it may as well be reality. Pretending it isn't is just wilful ignorance.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 9:06 PM on September 23 [7 favorites]


Hillary got more votes than the other guy, which means she's a better campaigner, and it is undeniable that she would have been far, far better at the job than him, too.
posted by bigbigdog at 9:22 PM on September 23 [2 favorites]


Hillary got more votes than the other guy, which means she's a better campaigner

unfortunately that's not how this works, and Lord knows I wish it were. You tailor your campaign and candidacy to win electoral votes.
posted by lalex at 9:29 PM on September 23 [5 favorites]


So.... this book. Any good? An interesting read, or a slog? My wife is a big Clinton fan but not a book lover, and I'd like to get this for her birthday this week. I was kinda hoping I'd find some discussion of the merits of the actual book here, that put some context into all the hyperpartisan reviews other than "if you hate Clinton you'll hate the book, if you love her you'll love it".

Instead I've found Hillarycare, superpredators, the DNC, Berniebros, her emails, Comey, the Russians, sexism, whataboutism, comparisons to JFK, Gore, Dole....

Is it even possible to have an evenhanded review of the book?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:27 AM on September 24 [8 favorites]


I'm enjoying reading the book. I was hesitant at first, but then a friend said it was cathartic and not more depressing politics. I agree with that so far. It reminds me why I was excited about voting for her, and her enthusiasm for public service is motivating. It would be a nice gift for your wife, GhostintheMachine.
posted by dog food sugar at 6:11 AM on September 24 [11 favorites]


I hesitate to post in this thread because I read the book. At least I didn't read most of the linked reviews.

To answer GhostintheMachine, it's a very uneven book. Most of it is easy reading. Some of it reads like the acknowledgment sections in the beginning of other books where she says nice things about all the people who helped her campaign. I usually skip those sections of books and I figure she's obligated to thank those people by name, but it was not that much fun to read them. In my opinion, the best part of the book is her discussion of sexism. I was surprised to head she even knew about "emotional labor." Maybe she reads MeFi.

I also liked reading some of her policy ideas. Clearly she likes discussing the details of policy, even as she admits that Bernie was right in that people respond better to big ideas (though she continues to criticize him for not giving the details).

She also talks more like a leftist than she is usually portrayed and is puzzled by that portrayal.

However, she attempts to defend Bill's welfare "reform" and prison policies which (in my opinion) are indefensible (and goes to explaining why she isn't perceived as a leftist.)

I also think she still doesn't get her encounter with Black Lives Matter activists. She argues that she was poised to help them but they continued to insist she admit she was part of the problem. She can't understand why they might not trust her.

In the end, if you like Hillary, you'll like the book. Is it possible to have an evenhanded review? Not really.
And if you could, the reader of the review couldn't read it evenhandedly.

What happened? [non-spoiler alert ] I don't think Hillary knows any better than we do. But it's interesting to hear her talk about it from her perspective. I trust she believes what she's saying but I don't think she understands as much as she thinks. She can get how sexists are blind to their sexism, but somehow thinks she isn't blind to things because of where she sits in the culture.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:13 AM on September 24 [24 favorites]


If I can manage to get past feeling like it's a mistake for Clinton to devote too much energy to looking for where she went wrong because of my conviction she would have won if the election process had been fair and square, I might be able to stand reading it. I'll consider buying it for others as a gift but it's still too much of a sore spot to me for now. I think self-criticism isn't really helpful here because it just feeds into and helps normalize the perception Dems and Clinton legitimately lost the election which I don't believe.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:26 AM on September 24 [6 favorites]


The more I think about it, the more I realize that the topic of the book really encapsulates a lot of the challenges I have with Clinton. Instead of a book that could have been about a way forward, she wrote about what happened in the past. And yes, that self-reflection was necessary - but publishing it probably was not. Just as we ask white people to shut up and let others speak for themselves, or ask that men listen more than they talk at times, she really should be letting others, younger, with perhaps a more nuanced view of America, speak for themselves and take the lead with the Democratic Party. Does the Democratic Party offer scholarships or mentorships to a new, younger generation of Americans interested in public service? She would be such an invaluable resource as a mentor and elder.

That all of the American political leaders I am aware of are so *old* is such an odd thing. That, and the fact that America apparently has no Left wing party.

I realize she has put in her time, and she is capable, and was thwarted by sexism, but sometimes you don't get what you think you deserve. That a privileged person is encountering that pushback should inspire empathy for others that similarly haven't gotten what they deserve out of life. I don't feel that coming from Clinton.
posted by saucysault at 7:19 AM on September 24 [4 favorites]


[timidly opens Clinton thread expecting full RLoTP]
[discovers synechdoche of election threads, complete with "no you're the sexist"]
[groans]


A. I'm not sure how not voting for Gore is something anyone would present as evidence of good faith/bona fides. Someone wrote upthread that if you don't vote for the lesser of two evils, you are guaranteed the greater evil. If you couldn't see in 1999 that Bush was infinitely worse than a tepid conservative Democrat, surely you can in the postmortem.

B. I keep seeing interpretations of the book's title as though it's a question rather than a statement. That simple and obvious misunderstanding feels like a heuristic for understanding the entire American psyche WRT Clinton (something about eating crackers).

C. "my sense is the exact opposite, which is that either of these candidates would have been trounced by Generic Opponent"

Very much in RLTP territory, and maybe reading too much into "Generic Candidate," but I waffle between this and the distinct impression that as a group the American voter is not interested in policy but affect (in which skin color/genitalia play a part, more's the pity). I'm increasingly convinced our average facebook voter sucks at research, doesn't have time for it anyway, and just "likes" away at opinion-reaffirming clickbait. Clinton sure as fuck didn't lose because of her policies.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:00 AM on September 24 [4 favorites]


"Do you want me to go through the history of the decline and decadence of the Democratic Party? I’m going to give you millstones around the Democratic Party neck that are milestones."

I'd absolutely expect the Democrats to continue doing badly in the House, or possibly even doing worse.

Right now, the Republican party is extremely healthy because the Koch brothers' money creates a relatively level playing fields if you're already a rich white guy with political ambitions and right wing sensibilities. As a result, the Republicans are overflowing with young political talent. At the same time, the Democrats cannot field strong candidates because the DNC funnels contributions to the top rather than supporting lower level races. And they require far too much proof-of-loyalty, compromise with big business, etc. I doubt the Democrats can win the House until that gets reversed.

All those revolutions the Republicans keep facing, like Perot, Newt, Tea party, etc.? That's healthy politics. We need a strong populist left-wing party that severely damages the existing Democratic party enough that many neo-liberals quite to join the Republicans and when the two merge the resulting party runs more idealistic people, generates more respect, etc.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:40 AM on September 24 [3 favorites]


> All those revolutions the Republicans keep facing, like Perot, Newt, Tea party, etc.? That's healthy politics.

Yeah, that's working out great for them right now. There's a difference between being electorally successful and politically successful. Just because we're losing doesn't mean they're winning. We're all losing.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:37 AM on September 24 [15 favorites]


I'm not sure how not voting for Gore is something anyone would present as evidence of good faith/bona fides. Someone wrote upthread that if you don't vote for the lesser of two evils, you are guaranteed the greater evil. If you couldn't see in 1999 that Bush was infinitely worse than a tepid conservative Democrat, surely you can in the postmortem.

That was me. That was my first election and I was, admittedly, young and naïve. My point was that I disliked Gore as a candidate for a lot of the same reasons that I disliked Clinton, which presumably did not have to do with Gore's gender. I did point out on multiple occasions that I have never voted third party since then.
posted by dhens at 10:04 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]


GhostintheMachine, I read the book and loved it. Cried a couple of times, and came away feeling .. heartened is too strong, hopeful is definitely too strong, but, resolute, I guess. And grateful for her service.

Obscure Reference is right that it's somewhat uneven. There's a fair bit of naming-and-thanking, the policy stuff now feels entirely irrelevant, and the parts where she recaps aspects of her early life are a bit of a snooze: people who have followed her for a long time will have already heard e.g. the stories about her mother, Arkansas, etc.

But the remainder, the bulk of the book, is excellent. She is candid about what she was feeling and thinking during the campaign, and clear-eyed in examining why she lost. I've read a ton of the 2016 post-mortems and have gotten pretty frustrated by all the people who are touting pet theories that are entirely unsupported by data, and/or who are cherry-picking data that suits them and ignoring everything else. By contrast, I found Clinton's own post-mortem excellent: she doesn't ignore key evidence, she lays out the fundamentals, she acknowledges her own errors, and she is critical of others in ways that synch up with the more thoughtful and data-informed analysis I've read -- e.g., from 538, Berkman, Brookings, etc.

She is very critical of Bernie Sanders, Comey, Wikileaks, and the media --- but in ways that fit with the evidence. All her claims are supported by stuff I've read elsewhere.

The other part that's really great is the way she thinks about gender: not just in the context of herself and how sexism has affected her in her career, but more broadly. If your wife is a feminist, and especially to the extent she has similarities to Clinton (e.g., is white, older, a professional, etc.) that part will likely really resonate for her. I found it much more explicitly feminist than I expected, and much more informed by current thinking and concepts. I guess I expected her to be kind of stuck in second wave feminism but I was wrong; she has been thinking and learning.

So. If your wife likes Hillary Clinton she will like the book. It is very readable, smart, blunt, and sometimes very affecting.
posted by Susan PG at 10:41 AM on September 24 [19 favorites]


On second thought, I think I conceded too much above re: being "electorally successful." Despite these many so-called "revolutions", the GOP is basically a nose ahead of Democrats in terms of control of the Presidency, the Senate, and the House This of course depends on when you start the clock, but 1992 seems reasonable since it counts all of the above GOP insurrections, but doesn't count most of the period when Democrats owned Congress for decades.

Eyeballing the data from 1992-2018 gives us 26 years (we'll say 28 for the purposes of the Presidency since it's extremely unlikely to change hands before 2020.) The score there is as follows:

Presidency

R: 12 (8 for GWB, 4 for Trump or a GOP replacement)
D: 16 (8 for Clinton, 8 for Obama)

Senate
R: 14
D: 12

House
R: 20
D: 6

That all adds up to a R: 46, D: 34 score, but it seems odd to weigh the Presidency and each chamber of Congress equally, as the veto pen is kind of a big deal.

If we weigh the Presidency and the entirety of Congress equally (by cutting the scores in each chamber in half) we get R: 29, D: 28.

Obviously, arguments can be made that this way of weighing things doesn't account for the different dynamics when a party has control of both chambers and the Presidency, vs. control of both chambers without the Presidency, etc. but I think however you measure it, the state of electoral politics in the last ~30 years doesn't look to me like one where the GOP is crushing it. They were getting crushed more often than not in the decades between WW2 through Reagan. Since then they've evened the score, but they really haven't gotten anything close to the kind of success people seem to want to credit them with. How much power do Perot, Gingrich, or the Tea Party have right now when they have unified control of government?
posted by tonycpsu at 10:46 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


I have to say that as someone who has observed a LOT of primaries, and was almost neutral on Sanders, Clinton, and Sanders vs. Clinton, I did not think the 2008 presidential primary was particularly nasty.

From the excerpts I've read, the nature of her criticisms of Sanders' primary campaign don't really help with the idea that she was expecting an easy path to the nomination and, frankly, are extremely similar to criticisms lobbied at her campaign in the 2008 primary.
posted by lalex at 12:44 PM on September 24 [5 favorites]


Hillary's refusal to leave the stage drives me nuts because I think she may still be just well-received enough that the democrats will be convinced that this time it'll work. Nerds on the left invoke Harry Potter a lot, but Hillary feels more to me like the Death Star the Empire builds three fucking times. "You guys, this is such a great idea! Sooner or later, it'll win us the war! There's no way they can find the secret flaw now! Not this time!"

Like, maybe it's sexism, maybe America is anti-intellectual, maybe Hillary has some crazy kind of anti-charisma, maybe she's too far to the right, maybe, maybe, maybe, but who really cares? If she can't win, she can't win, and she can't win, obviously. Perhaps we should focus on finding somebody who can.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:15 PM on September 24 [5 favorites]


> Like, maybe it's sexism, maybe America is anti-intellectual, maybe Hillary has some crazy kind of anti-charisma, maybe she's too far to the right, maybe, maybe, maybe, but who really cares? If she can't win, she can't win, and she can't win, obviously. Perhaps we should focus on finding somebody who can.

Um, "we" are? Hillary is never running for office again. This book has nothing to do with any desire on her part to be on a ballot. That doesn't mean she has to shut up forever or not talk about politics again.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:27 PM on September 24 [32 favorites]


Hillary's refusal to leave the stage drives me nuts because I think she may still be just well-received enough that the democrats will be convinced that this time it'll work.

I think she still potentially has a lot to contribute (perhaps even as an elected official), and while there'd be a slightly better chance of her getting another Presidential nomination than Gore or Kerry, I don't think Clinton herself, the DNC, or Democratic primary voters would be foolish enough to try. There's no reason to try to force her from the stage.
posted by Coventry at 1:51 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


while there'd be a slightly better chance of her getting another Presidential nomination than Gore or Kerry

I admire your ability to distinguish between "zippo", "zilch", and "fuck all". We may as well speculate about individuals with a better chance of getting the nomination, such as Batman, Beyonce, or Kodos.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:11 PM on September 24


Um, "we" are? Hillary is never running for office again.

Why on Earth would you believe that?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:28 PM on September 24 [4 favorites]


What do you think this whole book tour is for? What do you think Chelsea's book and tour were for?

We as a society, for better or worse, are not done with Clinton politicians.
posted by graventy at 2:30 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


She still won the popular vote but . . . who is president now? Not Hillary,

Because of the DNP's bullshit of-


No. Because there wouldn't of been a United States if the south wasn't guaranteed a voting system where the majority couldn't do away with slavery.
posted by dances with hamsters at 2:39 PM on September 24


In the sentence you chopped, "DNP's bullshit" wasn't an explanation for Hillary's failure.
posted by Coventry at 2:57 PM on September 24


DNP? Is that the new DNC?
posted by Justinian at 3:04 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


If not a typo I'm guessing it stands for Democratic National Party.
posted by lalex at 3:06 PM on September 24


What do you think this whole book tour is for? What do you think Chelsea's book and tour were for?

Um ... to sell their books?
posted by Orb at 3:40 PM on September 24 [12 favorites]


in fairness, there have been balloons floated about Chelsea running.
posted by lalex at 3:56 PM on September 24 [2 favorites]


In fairness, the original question was about Hillary running. I never said Chelsea, Buddy IV, or Socks VIII weren't running, but any time something about an individual Clinton comes up, people feel free to respond with examples of The Clintons (tm) to support their position.

Chelsea may run some day. I would put the chance of that happening at less than one percent, but, sure, it could happen. Hillary, however, will not ever run again. The only reason so many people want to believe it is because they don't want to give up the hateboner they have for her and the rest of the family. So, in that sense, I'm sort of glad he specter of her running exists as a means of identifying people I'd rather not have a conversation with.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:03 PM on September 24 [22 favorites]


The only reason so many people want to believe it is because they don't want to give up the hateboner they have for her and the rest of the family.

This is untrue. And wildly uncharitable!
posted by lalex at 4:05 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]


If Chelsea runs, there will still be assholes everywhere who will say they don't like her because her father had an affair. FML.
posted by frumiousb at 4:05 PM on September 24 [8 favorites]


I'm about 15 years into my career, having graduated from college in 2002.

I was an English major and floundered a bit trying to figure out what to do with myself, but I'm a hard worker and catch on quick, so I've found some solid jobs. I break my career into 2 parts:

1. The first 6 years that I worked in a male-dominated industry and had to put up with comments about the length of my skirt and size of my boobs. I regularly sat in meetings with men yelling at each other, but on the one occasion I got upset, I was asked why I was "hysterical".

2. The next 6 years I worked in fashion, which is a female-oriented world. We have a bad reputation for being superficial and catty, but I have never been yelled at, harrassed, or demeaned in the way I was when I worked with men. Sometimes I feel judged if I wear sneakers instead of heels, but ultimately I feel supported and connected to the women I work with.

The night of the election I laid in bed and sobbed. All the bad memories of working with intitled, selfish men came flodding back. All the things that men did to belittle and demean me seemed ok now, like the whole country supported some rich asshole "moving on me like a bitch".

I can't even imagine the feelings that Hilary has about her experience, and the fact that she wrote this book that is both informative and entertaining (loved the goldfish part), is amazing. She didn't need to do any of this, and she doesn't have to go away.
posted by elvissa at 4:29 PM on September 24 [34 favorites]


[I feel like we've exhausted the topics of whether HRC will run again, whether Chelsea will ever run for anything, and hateboners in general.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:40 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]


Can we go back to whether or not it's ok to discuss the linked material in the OP in this thread? I'd liked an answer to that one.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:09 PM on September 24 [2 favorites]




> Can we go back to whether or not it's ok to discuss the linked material in the OP in this thread? I'd liked an answer to that one.

Why not just be the change you seek instead of lobbing passive-aggressive shots at others?
posted by tonycpsu at 5:34 PM on September 24 [5 favorites]


Sometimes when Im trying to talk to people about how subconscious biases affect how we feel about Hillary Clinton, I ask them to think of one of their favorite dinners. Sushi, vegetable lasagne, steak, whatever.

Then I ask them to imagine they're staying with a friend who is making breakfast and offers them a choice of cereal, yogurt, eggs, or [vegetable lasagne]. In this scenario they're all equally easy to prepare.

Most people wouldn't pick the "dinner" food for breakfast, and the thought of eating the "dinner" food for breakfast elicits a vague aversion. People come up with reasons why their dinner-for-breakfast aversion makes sense ("spaghetti is too heavy for the morning") but the fact of the matter is, if you take out the difficulty-of-preparation, which for the purposes of this exercise I have, they're pretty arbitrary categorizations ("ok, but do you ever eat pancakes and bacon?")

This isn't a perfect analogy, lots of people like dinner foods for breakfast and there can be xenophobia around what other cultures eat for breakfast. But the thing I'm trying to get at is that from the moment of birth, we are taught that women belong in some roles and men in others and my point with the breakfast analogy is that you don't even have to think women are inferior to feel a vague aversion to seeing one "out of place." Most of us don't have exposure to women in positions of authority or leadership after we leave school. Even if you have a have women boss, statistically almost nobody has women division-heads, CEOS, senators, congresswomen, governors, etc.

We haven't even really had any huge pop culture representations of women as presidents. Media portrayals of black men are just as -- if not more -- wildly problematic than of white women, but one of the few media black male archetypes beyond criminal, athlete or rapper is black male leader/hero -- think of any role in which Will Smith, Morgan Freeman or Denzel Washington is a cop, soldier, or regular honest guy doing his best to save the world or make it a slightly better place. (Here's another little thought experiment if you don't think this matters -- imagine a short, slight, Asian man in a business suit as the American president. If you experience a frisson of dissonance it is likely because, again, these are not actors we ever see cast to play these kinds of roles).

All of which is just to say, I think it really is easy to underestimate the role Clinton's sex plays in how he we see her. We've never even had a woman get as far as being a major party candidate, and people are acting like we're all just over the whole gender thing already. What up being frustrating for me is hearing a bunch of lefty men say the equivalent of "I don't see gender" and it's just not true. We all see gender, we all see color, we're indoctrinated with it under this white supremacist patriarchy, and the best we can do is try to look at how it's affecting our vision.
posted by mrmurbles at 5:36 PM on September 24 [41 favorites]


anyway, a meteor
posted by poffin boffin at 5:37 PM on September 24 [5 favorites]


Sure. I never got a response to my post.

If we're talking about your comment, this:
Though--I think it is a safe assumption that many of her critics on this site at least have probably spent more time consuming the primary sources of Milo or Hannity via hate-reading or hate-watching than they have consuming actual things Clinton has said or written.
is gross and almost certainly untrue. Let's please move forward in this thread without making broad assumptions about or assigning motivations to the other people engaging in this conversation.
posted by lalex at 5:51 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]




Has HRC acknowledged that Bernie himself made it clear that sexist comments about her from his supporters were Not Cool...which Obama failed to do in 2008.
posted by brujita at 6:15 PM on September 24


Oh yeah, let's relitigate THOSE primaries. Woooohooooo!
posted by ActingTheGoat at 6:44 PM on September 24 [2 favorites]


"lock her up lock her up I don't trust her as far as I could throw a Mac truck".

I can't believe I forgot also how real it seemed back in November that Donald as president would attempt to bring Hillary Clinton to trial and throw her in jail. Just by the fact that she's going around the talk show circuit to promote a book she wrote while not in prison just shows another one of Donald's broken promises.
posted by FJT at 7:39 PM on September 24 [4 favorites]


We may as well speculate about individuals with a better chance of getting the nomination, such as Batman, Beyonce, or Kodos.

I want to be grown-up enough to tell you that I wouldn't vote for Beyonce, but I probably would, whether she ran for actual office or like, Supreme Intergalactic Space Empress.
posted by thivaia at 8:41 PM on September 24 [4 favorites]


I think we should pre-litigate a Beyonce vs Clinton primary to get it out of our system, just to be safe.
posted by Coventry at 9:28 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


[A few deleted. Please don't troll, nor feed the troll.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:13 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]


I think we should pre-litigate a Beyonce vs Clinton primary to get it out of our system, just to be safe.

Steve Harvey should be DNC chair by then. First debate is moderated by Johnny Galecki.
posted by rhizome at 10:16 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


is gross and almost certainly untrue. Let's please move forward in this thread without making broad assumptions about or assigning motivations to the other people engaging in this conversation.

I didn't say they liked them. I meant it's quite possible they've encountered more of their work than HRC's, simply over the course of seeing clips or tweets or links to articles that ws asere put there by people condemning Milo/Hannity. This assumption comes because in general it seems people on the left are better able to cite and summarize primary sources from Milo/Hannity (i.e. remember videos they made or articles they wrote, etc) than they are of anything produced by Clinton. There appears to be a general tendency to spend less time reading speeches or her work than spending that time reading what other people had to say about it. Which, of course, means that your opinions end up being filtered through the lens of whomever you're trusting to shape your opinion.
posted by schroedinger at 12:34 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]


Sure. I never got a response to my post.

A box and a stick and a string and a bear is a different poster than me.

Why not just be the change you seek instead of lobbing passive-aggressive shots at others?

It doesn't seem passive aggressive to me, it seems pretty germane as to whether threads like this can even work.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:48 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]


Anyway, Joe Biden looks to be running in 2020 on an explicitly anti-leftist platform which blargh.

From much earlier in the thread, but this makes my skin crawl. Biden is a scam artist and the platonic form of everything Hillary critics say was bad about her. He is a passive racist, a chickenhawk, a corporate henchman, and he truly and deeply hates the poor of all colors. I absolutely will not vote for him, holding my nose or no.

People like to lob around accusations of sexism, but this would be a good test. If you aren't ten times more critical of Biden than Clinton, you are definitely sexist.
posted by FakeFreyja at 8:07 AM on September 25 [4 favorites]


> It doesn't seem passive aggressive to me, it seems pretty germane as to whether threads like this can even work.

You're asking if it's okay to discuss something that is being discussed in great detail already. Several folks have weighed in on the book itself and the reviews thereof. You supplied a link to another review, and I thought it was a good addition to the conversation. What exactly are you wanting to occur here that isn't already? If this is the kind of meta-discussion that's going to take over the thread, it probably needs to go over to the grey.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:14 AM on September 25 [5 favorites]


He is a passive racist, a chickenhawk, a corporate henchman, and he truly and deeply hates the poor of all colors. I absolutely will not vote for him, holding my nose or no.

Wait, whut?

What is this complete dismissal and character assassination of Biden based on? I mean, I agree there's not much real political space between Clinton and Biden--presumably that's why they've been staunch political allies within the Democratic party and have worked so closely together for so many years, so how do you get to it being rooted in gender bias to dislike Clinton but not Biden? How can you justify tearing down Biden's role in public life but not Clinton's when there's (as far as I know) never been any serious political gap or rift between them? Or is there something I'm missing that Biden has done to set himself apart from Clinton other than being male?
posted by saulgoodman at 8:30 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


Faintest of golf claps.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:32 AM on September 25


From much earlier in the thread, but this makes my skin crawl. Biden is a scam artist and the platonic form of everything Hillary critics say was bad about her. He is a passive racist, a chickenhawk, a corporate henchman, and he truly and deeply hates the poor of all colors. I absolutely will not vote for him, holding my nose or no.

1. I'm not sure what this has to do with Hillary's book.
2. A no vote for Biden, even of the opponent is Trump? Okay.
posted by anem0ne at 9:23 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


if the dems ran an angry baby with a knife against trump in 2020 i would vote for that baby wholeheartedly and without reservation
posted by poffin boffin at 10:26 AM on September 25 [23 favorites]


Sure poffin look at you showing off your "grasp of reality" and "ability to understand that Trump is a bad president" and shameful willingness to overlook that Clinton is not pooping rainbows and ghostwriting your journal. Outrageous I tell you. Can't you at least hold off on committing until we get a guarantee that the baby will be an actual canonized saint?
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:09 PM on September 25 [3 favorites]


I think Biden is at least as problematic if not more so than HRC, and I was opposed to him being Obama's VP, but I will still vote for either of them (though, as mentioned, HRC has said she doesn't plan to run again) if they win the Democratic primary process in 2020.
posted by dhens at 12:18 PM on September 25


Australian here.

I would have happily voted for Hillary. I don't think she would have been perfect, but she would have been a hell of a lot better than who you currently have. I'm a bleeding-heart leftie, a greens member, and think it's outrageous you guys still don't have Universal health care. I still blame Bernie in part for her loss. He was a big loudmouth with no concrete ideas and I wish he would go away. I loved Obama. He was the best you could have had, and you replaced him with- that monster? How did you go from the cream of the crop to the very bottom of the dump?

I still wake up and remember what happened last November in the US and want to cry. I don't know if I'll ever stop mourning what could have been or what happened to your country.
posted by daybeforetheday at 12:40 PM on September 25 [19 favorites]


if the dems ran an angry baby with a knife against trump in 2020 i would vote for that baby wholeheartedly and without reservation

At this point the dems could run Skynet and have my vote.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:01 PM on September 25 [4 favorites]


Sure poffin look at you showing off your "grasp of reality" and "ability to understand that Trump is a bad president" and shameful willingness to overlook that Clinton is not pooping rainbows and ghostwriting your journal

You know, I really don't think this kind of comment helps anything, but what do I know.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 1:12 PM on September 25 [3 favorites]


I'm actually pretty sure that comment is what caused Trump to win last year, so it depends how you define helpful I guess.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 1:14 PM on September 25 [5 favorites]


America deserves Trump.

You know, I kind of get what people are trying to say with this, but to me it seems precisely wrong in every way. Americans of color do not deserve a white supremacist president who thinks Mexicans are rapists and black people shouldn't be allowed in his buildings. LGBTQ Americans do not deserve a president who's always looking for a new excuse to draft an EO to remove more of their civil liberties. Women in America don't deserve a sexual assaulter as president who wants to make sure they have no reproductive rights. Muslim Americans don't deserve an Islamophobic president who'd like to see them all forcibly removed.

As for the white, cis, straight, Christian males of his base, they abso-fucking-lutely do not deserve to have a president who will coddle and condone all their fucked up feelings of supremacy over every other kind of person.

I just don't see how you can say "America deserves Trump" when literally no Americans deserve him.
posted by solotoro at 12:20 PM on September 26 [17 favorites]


That woman who voted for him because all the illegal immigrants need to go away and then got upset when her illegal immigrant husband got deported deserves him.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 9:48 PM on September 26 [6 favorites]


I just don't see how you can say "America deserves Trump" when literally no Americans deserve him.

Ezra Klein said shortly after the election: "But America can be okay without Americans being okay."

Similarly, America and Americans aren't always the same thing. America can deserve Trump, while Americans don't deserve him.
posted by FJT at 10:46 AM on September 27


I am late to the party on this post but I want to thank those who in their comments defended HRC. Literally nothing she could do, did do, will do or can do is right for the haters and she is held to a different standard than any other politician. I, for one, was, am and will always be a huge fan. She has a steel will, a formidable mind and a kind personality - she is my hero. I would've been proud for her to be my president. And her book is the next thing on my to-read list.

And, NO, America did not deserve Donald Trump and I believe that most of the people who voted for him were deceived.
posted by bluesky43 at 2:08 PM on September 27 [9 favorites]


"One of the big reasons why I get so het up with What Happened is that I am a Democrat by necessity and a democratic socialist by inclination. So when I read stuff like this, it seems to me like not only does she see centrism as a good tactic, but that she is in fact ideologically opposed to leftist goals."

Just as a comment on something way above that I still feel like I can respond to charitably (as I'm also a Democrat by necessity and a democratic socialist* by inclination, and a former Michigan Nader voter), rather than getting pig-biting mad about some of the idiocy further down:

She's explicitly identifying as a progressive there, which is worth expanding out in a couple ways. First, it's backed by her platform, which was the most progressive of any major party general election candidate ever. Second, it's something that highlights the poverty of the two-dimensional, ostensibly regular-scaled political divide between "right" and "left." From your quote, you're collapsing down "socialism" to "democratic socialism," and equating that with the left, but that eliminates distinctions in radicalism that are important — something that both the "right" and "left" do in America.

It's part of a myopia on a lot of the American left about the huge range of political systems and options that actually exist, and a lack of clarity about what the actual goals of these options are, as well as a general ignorance of other countries' histories with politics. (See more on Sanders' use of the term here.)

At the same time Teddy Roosevelt was leading the progressive wing of the Republicans, you had both reformist and radical socialists, both state and libertarian socialists, and all of them can claim some legitimate attachment to both "socialism" and "democratic socialism." You have the same today, though in smaller proportions, and honestly, the biggest divide between the Clinton campaign and the "left" as it's often framed is that Clinton is a reformist. Sanders is too, but Sanders used revolutionary rhetoric to fire up supporters. But the policy goals that Clinton and Sanders espouse are pretty close together in almost all cases.

One of the more frustrating things about the rhetorical divide is that most folks seem to want revolutionary rhetoric, but don't actually want radical revolutionary results — most just have a romantic and ignorant view of what revolution would mean in a practical sense. Think about the massive harms that came just from our recent temporary government shut-downs, or the fallout of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Actual, successful revolutions where a significant portion of state institutions change radically are the exceptions, not the rule, and most devolve into authoritarian situations pretty quickly. Hugo Chavez deserved more credit than he got, but he was starting from a position of strong institutional continuity from the most stable branch of Venezuelan state and
civil society — the military — and still managed to leave a huge hatful of shit to Maduro, who has promptly put it on his own head.

It's worth noting that FDR is a progressive hero for his New Deal — basically, the blueprint for Sanders' policies, and itself a play on Teddy's "Square Deal" — but for at least a vocal minority of leftists, FDR deserves blame for saving capitalism in America rather than letting it fail, a radical argument against reformists. So when you say that Clinton is ideologically opposed to leftist goals, without clarifying that, it seems like the same charge could be brought against FDR — and it was, by many of his contemporary leftists. If you really think that radical revolution is the only solution to things like the inherent violence and exploitation of capitalism, FDR was ideologically opposed to leftist goals.

To bring this back around to my asterisk above: I'm a democratic socialist because I believe that democratic means are the best way of making legitimate political decisions, and that the proper role of the state is to ensure that the benefits of production are distributed equitably. I believe that because I believe that governments must have the consent of the governed both as a moral and as a practical issue; because I believe that without some intentional apparatus to counteract the obviously unfair results of unfettered capitalism (or any accumulation of power, really) that people suffer unnecessarily; because I believe people's lives have equal inherent worth; because I believe that distributing wealth leads to a more sustainable and productive use of resources; because I believe that the result of unfettered capitalism is lurching from crisis to crisis, concentrating unearned wealth and wreaking havoc on the lives of billions, and socializing the cost of business while privatizing profits. I'm not opposed to revolution per se, but I am skeptical of it and think that it's very rare that its benefits have outweighed its costs, and recognize that those costs tend to be disproportionately inflicted upon the poor and working classes. I also tend to think that while idealists and visionaries are great for inspiring people and making us consider what could be, I tend to fall into the reformist camp because too often radical idealists lack a basic plan for getting us to the place they envision. I also think that there are pretty big changes that could be made to the American and global political systems through reformist means that, while difficult, would have more immediate and likely benefits than the rip it up and start again visions of radicals — things like a constitutional amendment on campaign finance or gerrymandering could be huge, and while they're long shots, they're much closer than dismantling capitalism entirely in America. Clinton's policy papers for her campaign offered a bevy of plausible options for improving America, and while I can understand arguing that she didn't go far enough — in some cases, I'd agree — arguing that she's ideologically opposed to leftist goals seems to only make sense if you see the goals as either being more fundamentally radical or if you think incrementalism precludes progressivism.
posted by klangklangston at 2:56 PM on September 29 [21 favorites]


I guess I'm confused about what you're saying here though klang: I mean, in my dream land, we'd have a revolutionary change, reconstructing society into smaller, democratically run units designed to erase hierarchies of class, race, gender, and types of work we have access to. But when I'm voting for the president of the United States, I'm not really thinking about that pie-in-the-sky goal, I'm thinking, "Which candidate will work to advance the platform that most reduces inequality, most empowers oppressed minorities, most protects our environment? Which candidate will left activists be most able to influence?" I mean, FDR was not a radical, but for various reasons, he put forward a platform that was highly influenced by powerful forces on the labor-left: he was influenceable, which is pretty important. And as a result, her pursued a platform that massively decreased human suffering in a way that lasted for decades.

When I look at Clinton's actual history in terms of what policies she has actively pursued, I don't see the person that most advances the rights of the oppressed - in the given field of candidates. Like other Democrats, she was pushed left on certain issues becuase of activists - gay rights and mass incarceration are two issues that she changed her policy positions on because left activists pushed her to. But she was quite slow to those more progressive positions, behind the curve. And on many issues she did not budge. Like Obama, she seemed to support business as usual for Wall Street influence in economic policy. She showed no interest in changing our policy of endless war abroad.

So I guess where I'm confused is, are you saying Clinton was a progressive and those who want a candidate to the left of her have unrealistic fantasies of revolution? Because, and I'm not talking about just what candidates say, but the actual policies they've worked for, Clinton has pursued aims that I see as fairly right wing (but solidly neoliberal) such as endless war, very slow action on our environmental crisis, and status quo thinking on many other issues around economic inequality. She just didn't seem to stand for progressive change. I'm not asking for a revolutionary, as much as I'd like one, I'm just asking for a candidate who will work toward/advocate for at least Western European style socialist policy changes.

I listened to Hillary Clinton's Terry Gross interview and, some of this is editing and what she was asked, but she rightfully pointed out how she was attacked for being a woman and so forth, but I got nothing of any kind of political vision for a better world. I never heard that in the debates either, and I never saw that in her work as Secretary of State. I don't understand what Hillary Clinton would have done as president except continue the legacy of Bill Clinton and Obama - who we can all agree, were much better than Bush (I & II) but who, policy wise, let us continue to descend into a society ever more divided by economic and racial inequality, while doing little to stem our coming environmental apocalypse.
posted by latkes at 11:17 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


That’s because visions for a “better world” typically are meaningless...
posted by Burhanistan at 11:22 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


Well, when I say "vision for a better world" I mean specific policies that would improve well being for more people. So for example, increasing taxes in order to pay for expanded social services and education. Free or low-cost access to healthcare and education. Reduction in prison populations. Etc.. These are not wild, impossible ideas, but specific policies that would improve lives.
posted by latkes at 11:28 AM on September 30


You do realize that she had been fighting for many of those things throughout her career, especially healthcare? And that she did have detailed policies for those issues planned? This is something that seems to always pop up with Clinton - people say "well, she didn't have policies," but it always turns out that no, the issue was that the person wasn't actually watching and listening.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:40 AM on September 30 [16 favorites]


I think the problem is - you're always changed by the systems you encounter, right? Even if you go in with the best of intentions.

It may surprise people, but when I was 17, I was a member of the Green Party. Last year, I was a Republican. Is it age alone that caused me to change my views? Or is it the fact that I spent ten years in the system of the military, gaining an appreciation for that viewpoint, but also having my own viewpoint shaped by its needs?

Hillary Clinton started as a young activist. We can see that from the historical record - she was starry eyed and full of nothing but dreaming for a better world. And she decided she was going to change the system from the inside, and went about accomplishing it.

But once you become a part of the system, it changes you. It changed her when she changed her last name for political gain. It changed her when she changed her hair, how she looked, despite knowing she wanted a world where that stuff didn't matter. It changed her when she realized that incremental policies had the best chance of being realized.

In many ways, the story of Hillary Clinton is that of intense and profound tragedy. She was a girl with a dream who nearly achieved the power to make all the changes she had wanted - but the compromises she had to make along the way peeled off just enough support at just the right time that the electorate, instead of powering through the Comey letter or trusting that she would do the right thing regardless, did not vote for her in enough states for her to win the election. All of her compromises were for naught.

And that's honestly why it kind of makes me sad to see people fighting about Clinton: good or bad? Because she was both. She was an idealist who was tainted by the poisoned world she touched. As are they all. No one who has been in politics for longer than ten years has remained untouched.

It's done now. We've learned that lesson and it came hard. Let it be. We ruin ourselves by fighting this battle.
posted by corb at 11:48 AM on September 30 [14 favorites]


I know that Clinton had policies. I think her policies were neoliberal and not progressive. I want a candidate with more progressive policies - and there was such a candidate. I understand others may have preferred her policies, or found the other candidate to be an unrealistic shot, but I'm just saying, her policies were rather conservative, when compared to other candidates globally, or US candidates historically.

I know people change: Hillary Clinton started as a Goldwater Republican and grew into a neoliberal new Democrat. She has been involved in politics for basically her whole life, she's very sharp and hard working and I believe she would say, very pragmatic. But I find her focus on 'realism" especially misplaced in today's timeline. It turns out being unrealistic was a winning strategy this time around (caveat that there were many other factors at work such as racist voter suppression, misogyny, the electoral college, Russian targeted interference, etc)
posted by latkes at 12:06 PM on September 30


But yeah, I don't know why I'm still debating about her! Her story is rather tragic (I think it would make an amazing opera) what with what she endured politically, privately, and publicly. Her story makes a good allegory too. I guess I'm still thinking about this race because the result is so horrific, but it's not really about her (or even Trump). Ultimately, the country has been careening toward this for a couple decades, she just happened to be the person running when we hit this point. I hope that we can move forward to something positive, probably it will be lots of somethings, some positive some negative. I agree it's best to move on.
posted by latkes at 12:09 PM on September 30 [3 favorites]


I regret my earlier comment very much, about the "American deserves Trump" line.

I meant to say Trump represents the pervasive but unacknowledged values of America to a much greater extent than Clinton does. I should have stopped at that.

Casting the word "to deserve" around is thoughtless and that's what I did. I apologise for the hurt caused by my language.
posted by runcifex at 12:17 AM on October 2 [5 favorites]


I know that Clinton had policies. I think her policies were neoliberal and not progressive. I want a candidate with more progressive policies - and there was such a candidate.

I mean, things wouldn't have ended by electing Hillary Clinton. There was still a lot of pushing and work that could be done. There is always another election around the corner. Even in the ever shrinking space between elections there are decisions and actions to be done that would affect what happens. I think that was one of the takeaways during the last 8+ years.

For me, I realize I'm going to have to sit through at least another 10 of these presidential election things. So going forward, I pretty much decided I'm going to try to avoid negative news about a Democratic candidate and especially avoid passing any negative news about a Democratic candidate. Because I don't want to ever be in a position where I completely check out and take my ball home because a former rival is now someone I have to pull the lever for.
posted by FJT at 12:21 PM on October 3 [3 favorites]


I want a candidate with more progressive policies - and there was such a candidate.

Who, Trump? That was the choice. Her or Trump.*

Voting for her was a vote towards more progressive policies, even if they aren't as progressive as you want.

Voting for Trump, voting for someone else, or not voting are all ways to make more progressive policies less likely.

* In the general. Voting for the most progressive candidate is fine in the primaries--and Sanders helped pull Clinton to the left--but in the general either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton was going to become president.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:14 PM on October 3 [9 favorites]




As demonstrated in this thread, I really dislike Clinton, but boy is Julian Assange on an obsessive, bizarro-land campaign against her at the cost of the survival of the United States. He has a weird hard-on for republicans and he gets more unhinged by the day. Move on bro.
posted by latkes at 9:21 AM on October 5


Assange remains one of the more insightful commentators around, despite being locked up on twitter in a small room for quite a while, with basically only the U.S. State Department and English fascists' pride keeping him there. Yes, he exhibits particular dislike for Hillary Clinton, maybe took specific action against him while secretary of state, or maybe the war she started in Libya to make herself look presidential wrecked stuff he thought was developing nicely. I would not be surprised if Assange exhibits similar dislike for specific high-ranking Republicans after 8 years of Trump too, although Republicans are transient though Republicans have more transient careers in public service with the next Koch fed batch eager to replace them.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:36 AM on October 5


Almost all "terror" plots are created by the FBI as part of its business model.

What is the business of the FBI? Extracting tax. What does it need to do that? A stable threat. Prob? Real terrorists are sporadic & make FBI look weak. Solution? Make them.


This is insightful?
posted by PMdixon at 10:49 AM on October 5 [5 favorites]


Assange remains one of the more insightful commentators around

...are you kidding? He's descended with stunning speed into naked white nationalism, anti-semitism, and misogyny even more virulent than one would have thought from a man who has raped multiple women.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 10:52 AM on October 5 [14 favorites]


Not to mention that he's most likely on the Russian payroll.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:55 AM on October 5 [5 favorites]


Assange wants to burn the US nation state. That sounded cool to me back in my anarchy loving drugged out teen years, but seeing how that actually can play out and hurt people sure makes him look like a giant stupid prick to me.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:41 AM on October 5 [6 favorites]


I suppose this is kind veering off topic, but..   The FBI has always operated a political theater, PMdixon. Among many other thing Hoover had them find stolen cares because doing so required no work and let them report a large number of cases solved. ATF and DEA exist partially because the FBI did not want to do harder jobs. Actually catching terrorists is hard work, especially if they do not exist.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:41 AM on October 5


You'll probably get a ton more mileage out of "I think the FBI's habit of cultivating and then entrapping unbalanced nobodies is wrong" then you are out of "Julian Assange is a thumbs up duder", is the main thing there. Assange is hardly the first person to take exception to the moral dubiousness and troubling motivation in that kind of set-em-up-and-bust-em-down plot-in-a-box bullshit.
posted by cortex at 11:49 AM on October 5 [6 favorites]


Assange is hardly the first person to take exception to the moral dubiousness and troubling motivation in that kind of set-em-up-and-bust-em-down plot-in-a-box bullshit.

Or to plagiarize from anonymous, there is much he says that is novel and much that is true, but what is true is not novel and what is novel is not true.
posted by PMdixon at 11:53 AM on October 5 [3 favorites]


jeffburdges, what do you find insightful about his recurring comments about Jewish media conspiracies, or dismissal of white supremacist rhetoric, or palling around with avowed anti-Semites, or his portrayal of white men as victims?

do tell
posted by schroedinger at 4:35 PM on October 5 [9 favorites]


To be less snarky--I would argue there are certain belief systems that so thoroughly warp one's perception of reality that it makes it extremely difficult to claim that one has an objective, fact-based perspective on politics and world events. Believing a Jewish Media Cabal exists and one is the target would be an example of one such system. It also happens to tie in with Assange's pattern of sympathies (or lack thereof)--the Clintons have long been accused of being a tool of the Fabled Jewish Illuminati (because George Soros), while Putin's Russia is not exactly . . . balanced when it comes to its feelings about anything tied to Judaism.
posted by schroedinger at 5:24 PM on October 5 [3 favorites]


Assange could be throoughly odious and still make the occasional intersection with common sense, or, "what if I told you...the squirrel blinded itself?"
posted by rhizome at 5:52 PM on October 5


...but I got nothing of any kind of political vision for a better world.

The one candidate who actually anticipated a better world didn't convince enough people with all those boring outlines and spreadsheets on her website. Meanwhile, a dystopian candidate won with fake news stories geared towards stupid people who read below the tabloid level; while the idealistic interloper who promised free tuition got support from most college kids, precisely because he dodged all attempts to explain that the money would come from taxing their parents.

Almost all "terror" plots are created by the FBI as part of its business model. What is the business of the FBI? Extracting tax. What does it need to do that? A stable threat. Prob? Real terrorists are sporadic & make FBI look weak. Solution? Make them.

Julian Assange sounds like he just went to his first prepper meeting and took bad notes, then tried to reason through it, but awkwardly like someone who never bothered to learn much, and who hides his ignorance with daddy's drunken conspiracies. The days of the paranoid internet personality warning us to fear everyone but hackers and Russians are gone. They weren't just wrong, it seems, but also spreading confusion and lies for their agency handlers.
posted by Brian B. at 10:42 PM on October 5 [6 favorites]




I guess it's a good thing she didn't listen then. I don't think I've ever heard a POTUS candidate openly discuss white supremacy, and certainly never bring up figures like the Mothers of the Movement to showcase their message of racial justice.
posted by schroedinger at 9:30 PM on October 6 [14 favorites]


Oh, hey, this thread is still open and I just came back from seeing Hillary Clinton!!!1111!!!!

The setup: it was supposed to start at 7:30, I went over there after work and they had the whole place pretty much fenced off and they said they wouldn't let anyone through security until 6. Security appeared to be manned by the local college kid security team, I wasn't seeing cops or anyone looking Secret Service-y at the time. Did find out there was a secret "photo opportunity" going on but since I'm a peon, didn't get to do that. Nobody really knew where to line up for the metal detectors, exactly, so people milled around and three newsvans filmed people milling around. I saw various "I'm with her," or "I'm still with her" or other campaign shirts and some pussy hats, which made me wish I'd thought to bring mine.

Going through security originally wasn't too bad, we weren't allowed to keep water bottles but otherwise they just vaguely felt up the bottom of my bag and made me walk through the metal detector without the phone in the pocket. I thought I had scored by getting through security without too much drama, because I was pretty much expecting an anal probing or something. I found a bench and was reading a book when I got told by two ushers that nobody was allowed to bring any kind of purse or coat into the theater. I was...really unthrilled to say the least about this (was trying to be polite but really wasn't able to totally mask my cheesed-off-ness) and when I was forced to check my bag and coat, I said that it really would have been nice to have gotten any kind of warning about stuff like this say, from Mondavi/put on the website/whatever. She said "they didn't tell us this was happening until an hour ago." Geez, Secret Service. Then of course when i got to my seat, I saw people who were allowed to have purses and coats. Grrr again. I'm specifically mentioning this if anyone else ever goes around a situation like this for the first time, now you know, because I didn't.

For the record, despite someone on the stage saying the place was crawling with Secret Service, I really just saw the two dudes in suits at each doorway by the stage and that was about it. if there were more than that they weren't dressing like I've seen on television. There were far more police outside along with the security 20somethings when we left more than anything else.

Anyway, Hillary had on a lovely pink shiny checkered jacket on. She did a talk by herself for about 35-40 minutes which was pretty recappy of the book in some respects (we all got copies with our tickets but not everyone had picked them up and finished ahead of time), but I liked it. It was a combination of recap, honesty, and rallying cry a bit. She expressed sympathies for our fires and the other disasters going on right now and how ah, someone should be doing something about that. She said she came here because Bill really really loved it when he came here before (he's come 3 times) and still raves about it being the best event ever. She wrote the book because now she can let her hair down, as it were. She talked about how we need gun control and cannot accept 270 mass shootings (so far) this year as normal. She said she didn't like being asked how she was doing for a while but eventually said that as a person she was doing ok but as a citizen she's worried (and still is).

She summed things up as having found four lessons that are applicable to the situation.
1. I get knocked down but I get up again (she didn't sing Chumbawamba but it sure went through my head), a.k.a stay involved, active, and fighting. She admitted to staying in bed/yoga/nostril breathing/Chardonnay/wood walks and yelling at her TV for awhile, but it helps to go channel emotion into something constructive. The people who wish she'd shut up apparently have not been paying attention for years.

She's concerned about health care and the CHIP(spelling?) program being defunded and the lack of bipartisanship going on, what does it say about us to let a children's health care program go defunded.

2. "There is no such thing as an alternative fact." She certainly has a lot to say about Russian interference, hacking, those targeted Facebook ads (lots to say about that), the birth control ban. "Sometimes I do feel like Alice down the rabbit hole."

3. The only way we will get sexism out of politics is to get more women into politics. It's a tightrope women have to walk and it's "depressing but fascinating." Men get success/are likeable, women get hated if they get success. It's only okay if a woman advocates for others, but not herself. "People like me when I'm serving in a supportive role," she said, with a long smirk. But if you want to lead...all women in politics have stories. But it can be deeply rewarding. She noted that picture of all the white guys deciding about women's health care and her favorite meme about the dogs deciding on feline health care. Just by being at the table you make a difference. She quoted LMM about the room where it happens and that representation matters. "You can't be what you can't see."

The election was a perfect storm of circumstances that are still with us. Her e-mails got "more coverage than WWII." She called the Russians a clear and present danger and we should all be disturbed at the targeted ads, because negative ads work. "Putin is not interfering in our discourse just because he's bored," though he likes to play bored as a strategy. He has a grudge against her (for saying that Russia should have free elections) and wants to destroy Western democracy. The Internet is the new kind of cold war and it's just getting started--wars in cyberspace.

4. If you take nothing else away from tonight--"we cannot just move on." We need to learn from this, bridge the divide.

After that there was a Q and A with a guy named Scott-- never caught his last name. Scott found the book to be a revelation because she was being so blunt in it. She talked about her second debate and the dilemmas she had going through her head the entire time--it's one thing to practice running from the Trump impersonator ("if there's ever a course on Trump, this man should be guest lecturer") and figuring out what to do if he started yanking on her, but it's another to have it happening in practice. She wanted to speak up but knew what kind of horrible reactions she'd get if she didn't. She'd get called "angry" and people would say she couldn't take it, etc.

Nobody was prepared for running against a reality TV candidate, they agreed. "I couldn't figure out how to break through." What do you do when a guy takes pride in not being prepared? She did comment that the news focused too much on Trump's drama rather than policies--"I would give a speech and he would insult somebody. And that's what got covered." She said that she still reads the Times and thinks they were bewildered and did not know what to do. On the other hand, she made a crack that if Trump ripped off his shirt and she lost a button the headline would be "Both candidates suffer wardrobe malfunction." She also said the Times were clearly paying attention, but just didn't tell their readers.

They talked about Hillary's mother and her past history--the night ended with Scott asking Hillary to read from the book the part in her victory speech about her mother.

Why did she lose? She cited Comey's October Surprise and says she still has no idea why he did that. Why did Giuliani seem to know about it two days in advance? Why was the FBI investigating Trump but wouldn't say anything a bout that "too close to the election?" She felt validated by Rosenstein's memo, but also sick. Comey has no satisfactory explanation for what he did.

The Dutch, French, and Germans have learned from what happened to us with Russia and are taking precautions. "It's pretty clear Putin doesn't respect women." She recounted how Putin made sure he brought a giant dog around Angela Merkel. "I really don't care if he likes me or not," but she does care that he doesn't like America. Does she think this is bigger than Watergate--yes, back then it was just a simple burglary. Now they're hacking election systems, there's voter suppression going on all over the place, "voter fraud" is a tiny problem that they are trying to substitute in instead. She pointed out the voter suppression in Wisconsin, Michigan, and North Carolina specifically and said that "blue" states don't do that. Suppression is the problem, not voter fraud.

What would she advise other female politicians? You need to have a high pain threshold due to the double standards. You need to push that sort of thing out into the daylight, don't let people just sigh and forget about it. Don't be afraid to talk about it. She talked about how Elizabeth and Kamala persisted (noting that after Elizabeth was kicked off the Senate floor it was perfectly fine for a man to read that letter and nobody said anything) and how Kamala got "Hillary'd" in the pressed. Also, be prepared for really horrible things being said about you. "They accused me of everything." Also, "I'm the most amazing serial killer you've ever met." She recounted the whole Pizzagate shooting and was hard pressed to not call the guy what she wanted to say--I think for a long time she was just kind of silently floundering until she came out with "susceptible."

Let's define sexism vs. misogyny!

Sexism: everyday bigoted comments, dismissive attitude, women can't do their jobs well, "threaded within quilt of society."
Misogyny: hated of women, virulent, rooted in power relationships. She brought up GamerGate and the level of hatred Zoe Quinn got for saying that there should be more women in games--that's misogyny.

What happened to the white women voters? Well, she did get the college educated vote, but posits that the Comey letter got a lot of white women to back off, especially if they were getting social pressure to not vote for her. Also, women of color "just can see through things better."

She talked about Mothers of the Movement for a while, saying this was insane stuff, like shooting kids for playing loud music in a car like teenagers are gonna do. How can this happen, why are we letting this happen--that's why she's highlighting these stories.

And like I said ahead of time, she finished off by reading about her mother.

So there you go. The hippie liberals of my town liked it and gave several standing O's.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:34 PM on October 9 [21 favorites]


"I guess I'm confused about what you're saying here though klang: I mean, in my dream land, we'd have a revolutionary change, reconstructing society into smaller, democratically run units designed to erase hierarchies of class, race, gender, and types of work we have access to."

First off, I'm saying that's nice and everything, but practically useless without a plan to get there, and getting there means disassembling a HUGE number of institutions that act as buttresses to stability in politics and economics.

Second off, I'm saying that you're espousing radical goals but acting on a reformist program.

"But when I'm voting for the president of the United States, I'm not really thinking about that pie-in-the-sky goal, I'm thinking, "Which candidate will work to advance the platform that most reduces inequality, most empowers oppressed minorities, most protects our environment? Which candidate will left activists be most able to influence?" I mean, FDR was not a radical, but for various reasons, he put forward a platform that was highly influenced by powerful forces on the labor-left: he was influenceable, which is pretty important. And as a result, her pursued a platform that massively decreased human suffering in a way that lasted for decades."

Great, then you voted for Clinton in the general.

For the primary, an important consideration that you didn't list is the likelihood that this candidate will actually be able to effect their plans. Having a candidate that can be influenced by the left is important, but you have to balance that against the ability of that candidate to influence the overall political system.

But something I was getting at that you're eliding is that contemporary leftists and progressives had very mixed views of FDR. And we're not just talking Emma Goldman — Huey Long decried the NRA as having all of socialism's problems and none of its benefits. FDR came from wealth, had deep connections to banking and finance, and was largely seen as inadequate by many progressives at the time. That meant both Long's populist-style Southern progressivism, but Al Smith's Northeast good-government progressivism, that saw the New Deal as a corrupt sop and a return of the patronage politics that Smith crusaded against (a complicated guy, he was also the candidate of the Tammany Hall machine). But if you were concerned about minority rights in 1932, Al Smith was your guy, as FDR sold out on civil rights to preserve the support of Southern Democrats, including running John Nance Garner as his vice president. Garner was further right from both median and FDR than Lieberman was from Gore — Garner supported calling in federal troops to stop labor strikes, supported poll taxes and was described in 1940 as a staunch conservative Democrat; John L. Lewis called him a labor-baiting, poker-playing, whiskey-drinking, evil old man."

Which was something else I was getting at: progressives tend toward massive hindsight bias, failing to understand what contemporary critique of now-lauded historical actors looked like.

"When I look at Clinton's actual history in terms of what policies she has actively pursued, I don't see the person that most advances the rights of the oppressed - in the given field of candidates. Like other Democrats, she was pushed left on certain issues becuase of activists - gay rights and mass incarceration are two issues that she changed her policy positions on because left activists pushed her to. But she was quite slow to those more progressive positions, behind the curve. And on many issues she did not budge. Like Obama, she seemed to support business as usual for Wall Street influence in economic policy. She showed no interest in changing our policy of endless war abroad."

So, wait, FDR was pushed left by labor activists, and that's good, despite stopping short of many of the positions that Huey Long, let alone Eugene Debs, advocated a decade earlier. And beyond that, you're just wrong on Clinton's actual Wall Street policy proposals. She actually advocated a more detailed and comprehensive plan than Sanders, but Sanders' rhetoric of 'break them up' carried the day. The claims that she has "no interest in changing our policy of endless war abroad" are both over-simplified and in direct contradiction to the professed admiration of FDR — it's not like there weren't plenty of people who thought we shouldn't attack Germany even if we retaliated against Japan. I disagree with Clinton on many of her foreign policy decisions — I think her weak support for Arab Spring revolutions helped her skepticism become a self-fulfilling prophecy — but the distance from 'interventionalist' to 'endless war' is a pretty huge one, especially given that Sanders voted for war in Afghanistan.

"So I guess where I'm confused is, are you saying Clinton was a progressive and those who want a candidate to the left of her have unrealistic fantasies of revolution? Because, and I'm not talking about just what candidates say, but the actual policies they've worked for, Clinton has pursued aims that I see as fairly right wing (but solidly neoliberal) such as endless war, very slow action on our environmental crisis, and status quo thinking on many other issues around economic inequality. She just didn't seem to stand for progressive change. I'm not asking for a revolutionary, as much as I'd like one, I'm just asking for a candidate who will work toward/advocate for at least Western European style socialist policy changes. "

I'm saying that declaring that Clinton is ideologically opposed to leftist goals both makes unsupportable assumptions about what "leftist goals" are, specifically in truncating "leftist goals" to only include a sliver of what the reformist left would consider goals, and that it requires ignoring a lot of her actual record and policy positions in an ahistorical manner.

I'm also saying that no, you probably wouldn't like a revolution, that it doesn't sound like you (or many of the left) have a clear idea of what a revolution would entail, or a clear idea of what the path is to the things you cite as leftist goals, that you don't seem to have a very good grasp on what policies are actually right wing or what Clinton's record is. (She opposed NAFTA, she voted against CAFTA, she's had a mixed record on post-Breton Woods institutions, she opposes banking and finance deregulation — supports more regulation, in fact! She believes in international institutionalist economic and social policies, and realist, interventionalist military policies.)

"I listened to Hillary Clinton's Terry Gross interview and, some of this is editing and what she was asked, but she rightfully pointed out how she was attacked for being a woman and so forth, but I got nothing of any kind of political vision for a better world. I never heard that in the debates either, and I never saw that in her work as Secretary of State. I don't understand what Hillary Clinton would have done as president except continue the legacy of Bill Clinton and Obama - who we can all agree, were much better than Bush (I & II) but who, policy wise, let us continue to descend into a society ever more divided by economic and racial inequality, while doing little to stem our coming environmental apocalypse."

So, your problem was that she gave a ton of detailed descriptions of things that would make the world better, but didn't articulate that (to your knowledge) into an integrated description of that better world overall?

Further, blaming Bill and Barack for "let[ting] us continue to descend" requires a bunch of unsupported assumptions, like that they actually had the power to prevent the increased inequality and environmental danger, while ignoring the places that they did make actual progress (and gets into the tricky territory of assumed counterfactuals, where both the magnitude of danger they averted, e.g. the Great Recession, is discounted and the presumed positive influence they could have had is magnified).

I don't say this as a way to paper over legitimate mistakes they made or differences in policy preferences, but rather to point out that you don't seem to have a very clear idea of what a plausible left alternative looks like, and that you say you don't know what Hillary Clinton would have done except continue Bill and Barack's policies kind of sounds like you didn't bother to actually engage with Clinton's (voluminous) position papers or policy proposals. You seem to be arguing from the "great man" theory of history, so in that sense it's consistent to blame Hillary for not making sure you were specifically educated on her positions, but at a certain point, many of your critiques of her seem like things you could have addressed yourself or based on a prior animus toward her.
posted by klangklangston at 12:17 PM on October 10 [16 favorites]


"Assange remains one of the more insightful commentators around, despite being locked up on twitter in a small room for quite a while, with basically only the U.S. State Department and English fascists' pride keeping him there."

Dude, he's got multiple sexual assault claims against him, and thinks Lincoln was one of the worst presidents because he didn't prevent the Civil War. That he says some things you agree with does not make him insightful, nor absolve him of being a skeezy idiot. Harvey Weinstein says lots of stuff I agree with. That doesn't mean he's not a shitbag on balance.
posted by klangklangston at 12:24 PM on October 10 [11 favorites]


She opposed NAFTA

That's a bit of a stretch tbh
posted by edeezy at 1:06 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


Wow Klang. What the heck? It sounds like you have a lot of knowledge of Roosevelt era politics which is awesome! I always love to hear more about that stuff! It also sounds like you feel comfortable with Clinton's politics and policy agenda. Right on! More power to you! Based on my understanding of the available evidence, I don't. You can disagree with my analysis without dissing. It may surprise you to learn that I have also heard of the Great Man theory and don't agree with it. But who is president does make a difference. So yes, I take the reformist action of voting in presidential elections, even as I know that won't lead to my ultimate goal of large level social and system change, which you say I don't understand anything about. Please don't Radical-splain my own politics to me!

Sheesh. Let's disagree without personal attacks.
posted by latkes at 2:10 PM on October 10


Holy crap, Klang. That was excellent.

Also, jenfullmoon, that's a great summary. Also heartbreaking.

Sheesh. Let's disagree without personal attacks.

Latkes, I think you've missed Klang's point. Klang just gave a *fascinating* overview of Roosevelt era politics ... and, in the process, showed that a lot of your claims are founded upon false historical premises.

This isn't Radical-splaining. This is historical background that suggests that you need to go home and reevaluate your politics. The beliefs you had about FDR are false, and that means that you should reconsider whether the conclusions you've drawn are correct, because the evidence suggests that they *aren't*.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 4:53 PM on October 10 [7 favorites]


Well I guess I'm misunderstanding because I don't even know what beliefs you think I have about Roosevelt! I certainly don't think he was on the radical left. If you disagree with my beliefs about voting strategy, fine. If you think I'm a know nothing who would obviously agree with you if only I understood your analysis well, shrug, I don't.
posted by latkes at 6:13 PM on October 10


This is historical background that suggests that you need to go home and reevaluate your politics. The beliefs you had about FDR are false, and that means that you should reconsider whether the conclusions you've drawn are correct, because the evidence suggests that they *aren't*.

Yes: politics is not just a preferred state of the world. It's also whether and how you get enough people to sign on to make it happen. Otherwise we're just in a sub-niche of ethics.
posted by PMdixon at 6:13 PM on October 10 [2 favorites]


I don't even know what beliefs you think I have about Roosevelt!

Presumably that he's distinguishable from Clinton at least as far as the criticisms of her you lay out a few sentences after referencing him go. Which suggests that either you have misconceptions about the politics of the 30s or draw lines in places most people don't.
posted by PMdixon at 6:16 PM on October 10 [2 favorites]


If you think I'm a know nothing who would obviously agree with you if only I understood your analysis well, shrug, I don't

I'm not declaring you a "know nothing". I am assuming you are acting upon good faith, and therefore are willing to change your mind upon finding out you are wrong. You have been proven wrong about several things, ergo, you should be reconsidering the things you consider to be true.

You have made factual claims to justify your statements regarding Clinton. Those factual claims have been called into question and shown to be incorrect.

Your reaction hasn't been silence (which is common), nor is it an attempt to double down upon your beliefs. Your reaction has been to pretend that the facts you've been presented with are somehow irrelevant and that correcting your factual statements is somehow equal to a personal attack. Your reaction has, in fact, been to trivialize the labor others have put in to correcting your errors.

Either your beliefs are founded upon facts or they are not. If they're not founded upon facts, then communicating with you is an exercise in futility. If they are founded upon facts, then you ought to be willing to reexamine them.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 6:58 PM on October 10 [6 favorites]




« Older The Linguistics of AAVE   |   If you are not paying for it... Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.