You see the quote above. This is a section of one of the excerpts being doled out to the media and public to build interest in Clinton’s latest book. In the excerpt she blames Bernie Sanders, among others, for her defeat, saying that his attacks against her during the primary caused “lasting damage” and laid the foundation for “(Donald) Trump’s ‘Crooked Hillary’ campaign.”
1 As with her earlier excerpt about how she wishes she had acted more assertively when Donald Trump was “stalking her” during a debate, Clinton displays the opposite of leadership instincts here. Although she was the one offering herself as the leader of the free world, she whines that she was rendered powerless by the advice of others and the recommendation of President Obama. Saying that she felt that she was “in a straitjacket” is simply admitting that she was indecisive and accepted the judgment of others over her own. However, that decision was hers; she was not in a straitjacket, and she is accountable for the ultimate decision to “lay off Bernie.” She can’t credibly blame anyone else.
2. Bernie Sanders was as inoffensive and respectful as opponent as Hillary could have possible drawn for the Democratic Party nomination. His obvious reason for running was to get a national platform for his far-left, Socialist positions. He was too old, he was eccentric, and he wasn’t even a Democrat. Like Barack Obama, who also ran against Hillary believing that he had no chance, Hillary’s lack of charisma, chilly public persona and inherent untrustworthiness suddenly made Sanders’ underdog candidacy viable. Nonetheless, as Ethics Alarms discussed during the campaign, Sanders never behaved as if he was committed to winning. Most remarkably (and unforgivably for his supporters), he gave a pass to Clinton on her e-mail server scandal, saying more than once that he didn’t care about her “stupid e-mails.” Since Clinton was lying about, double-talking around, spinning and ducking the issue almost daily, this was a gift that no other serious candidate would have given her. Yet she’s blaming Bernie now for not being even less competitive.
3. Bernie’s plans that Hillary now calls a “pipe dream” happen to be core fantasies of her party’s stalwarts. Clinton is essentially admitting that she was a stealth candidate, advocating or passively signaling approval of far Left policies that she knew could not work. This is another reason “Lying Hillary” was so effective for Trump. What does Clinton really believe? It depends on who she is addressing, and what angles she is calculating at the time.
4. Candidates have an obligation to educate potential voters during campaigns. That’s one of the important civic functions of campaigns in a democracy. If one candidate spouts dishonest or unrealistic nonsense, as Sanders did more or less non-stop, other candidates have an obligation to take those statement apart like tinkertoys. If a candidate allows someone sharing a stage with her to mislead the public, that candidate is ethically complicit in the deception. Why didn’t Hillary point out to her audience that Bernie’s economics were absurd? Why didn’t she explain why simply ignoring the national debt and spending like a drunken sailor on free college for all and national health care would be disastrous? Why didn’t she lay out why Bernie’s blather about appointing Supreme Court justices to overturn Citizens United showed shocking ignorance of the judicial system?
5. The answer, of course, is that she assumed the nomination was wired, which, in fact, it was. The Democrats had given her a token challenger so what was always a long-planned coronation wouldn’t appear to the public as if the fix was in, and she almost lost anyway.
This is like Apollo Creed blaming Rocky for going the distance.
6. Finally, you have to wonder how Hillary could be so tone-deaf as to believe blaming Sanders for her defeat accomplishes anything now but cementing the conclusion that she was and is unfit for leadership. Why is she publishing this book? Is it just greed? Does she crave money so much that she is willing to sell her dignity and self-respect with a book equivalent of Basil Fawlty shaking his fist at the heavens when he encounters an entirely deserved catastrophe, or the literary version of Basil attacking his car?
Lingering delusions anyone still has regarding how the U.S. lost an opportunity to elect a wise, strong female President of personal courage and admirable character will surely be reduced to mist by “What Happened.” That, I suppose, will give it some value at least.