Monday 10 December 2018

Hillary Clinton - the politician who didn't know when to leave the party

Time to put your hands up: Hillary refuses to be ushered out the door
Time to put your hands up: Hillary refuses to be ushered out the door
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

For most people, growing up means learning new things and remembering old lessons.

The lessons tend to be both similar and simple. Don't lie. Don't cheat. Don't steal. Perhaps, most crucially of all is the moral code which dictates that when you screw you up, you put your hands up and don't try to blame anyone else.

We all know someone like that - the person who has never done anything wrong, or to be more accurate, the person who has never put their hands up, admitted their mistake and accepted responsibility for their actions.

Now take that person and multiply it by a factor of several million and you begin to get somewhere close to the almost pathological disdain Hillary Clinton has for the concept of personal accountability.

Even people who supported Donald Trump, or who could at least understand those folks who voted for him, will have spent much of the last few weeks wondering if they had made some terrible, gigantic mistake.

But every time that happens, Clinton oozes out of the woodwork to remind the world of the terrible, demented alternative she would have provided.

It's important to remember that the election of 2016 was a defeat for Clinton even more than it was a victory for Trump - she was the ruthless, anointed one who felt that the big gig was hers by right and nobody, not Bernie Sanders, not Donald Trump, not the dissidents in her own party, was going to take it away from her.

Skimming through the excerpts of her new book, What Happened (surely that's missing a question mark at the end?) will provide proof to all but the most fanatical Hillary supporter that while history may still be out on whether it was the right choice to make Trump president, it was certainly the right choice to keep her away from the White House.

In the publicity material for the book, she says: "I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made. I take responsibility" before promptly blaming everyone else for the loss. From the bits I've read - and you can only stomach so much - she blames at least 25 different people or institutions for her defeat, which is an impressive tally by anyone's standards. There has always been something off about Hillary.

Rwandan genocide

I thought she was the smarter of the two during Bill's first term. Her 'No Child Left Behind' policy was an interesting piece of 1990s political thinking. Then I reviewed her early memoirs in which she completely glossed over America's shameful role in the Rwandan genocide and covered the whole affair in a few paragraphs, explaining that Rwandan women are 'inspirational'.

Yes, all politicians are a bit weird, but even by those demented standards, she has always been weirder than most and now that she has been officially rejected by the American people, she seems determined to settle scores which, given the fact that she hasn't ruled out another run in 2020, is quite remarkable.

What's so baffling about the leaked extracts is that not only has she turned on her enemies, she has savaged her own people.

Even those female supporters who marched on Washington after Trump's victory get a lash of her tongue, with her whining: "Where was their passion, their outrage, before the election?"

Bad losers are often unfairly maligned - being a bad loser means at least you care - but not knowing when to leave the party is a grave error. Yet while her former colleagues have been holding her coat and trying to gently usher her out the door before she makes a scene, she insists on sitting right back down and regaling everyone with more tales of her woe.

So who does she blame for her loss? Well, the FBI, the Russians, Bernie Sanders, Trump (obvs), male supporters, female supporters, the media, the internet, her advisers, low information voters (those pesky Deplorables), misogynists, WikiLeaks and even Netflix. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

It is, I take no shame in admitting, hugely entertaining. For decades, critics and supporters alike had said that she was too much of a policy wonk and never showed her human side.

Well, now she has - and her human side is bitter, spiteful, entitled and utterly incapable of either acknowledging or admitting that the reason she lost is because so many moderate Americans have grown to truly, deeply hate her.

Even those Democrats fighting their own Congressional battles are putting as much daylight between her and them as possible - many have specifically asked her to skip their city on her upcoming book tour, such is the resentment and hostility - she is Typhoid Hillary and nobody wants to risk catching a dose.

But she has also done her nation, and the wider world, an unwitting service with her bleating and bellyaching.

Because she has reminded people that while it would be good for America to have a first female president, it would have been a travesty if it was her.

She rode the wave of identity politics as far as she could, and now that it's no use to her, she's quite happy to condemn them for not having done enough - quite a feat of chutzpah from a woman who could have won if she had bothered going to Michigan and Wisconsin.

She ran a dog of a campaign and it ultimately came back to bite her. Let's see her Irish supporters try to defend her after they've read this nonsense...

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