Commentary / World

Hillary Clinton: the perfect one

A self-indulgent campaign memoir does little to get Democrats on track

by Stephan Richter

The Globalist

Hillary Rodham Clinton has put forward a further volume of her memoirs, titled “What Happened.” The woman who was destined to become the first female president of the United States remains true to her long-standing, diva-like line: The fault for any mistakes always lies with others.

Whether Donald Trump, the FBI, the Russians, the U.S. political system, the U.S. electoral system or Bernie Sanders, her internal party rival for the nomination — they are the forces who coalesced to ungraciously put a spoke in the wheel of history, screwing up “HRC’s” triumph. That the race was always deemed “hers to lose” and that she did achieve just that, goes unmentioned.

At the edges, there is a bit of talk about the email mishap, for example, but — this being a story about the Clinton universe — is mainly also taken as a staffer failure.

Unfortunately, the one dimension that Clinton (wife and husband) really excel in is being resistant to advice. The two Clintons don’t just know everything, they also let other people understand that they know everything better.

The extreme arrogance, but also the woodenness of the candidate, is basically left untouched in the laborious 512-page account of what might better be titled “Why I Shouldn’t Have Lost.” The moment for catharsis has been missed. For that reason, the book will only play well among true believers.

No wonder readers are wondering if the real culmination of the writing project is to launch another campaign — to finally fulfill HRC’s historic destiny and become president in 2020. That effort is not helped by the fact that she is polling with even less favorability than President Trump, according to a Bloomberg News poll in July.

In that context, it is a telling fact to recognize a key difference between Trump and herself. Trump obviously has deep contempt for his party. In contrast, Clinton is behaving as if she loves the Democratic Party.

In reality, Trump is actually much more honest in dealing with “his” party. He has always been clear that he is almost exclusively concerned with his own ego and uses the party purely as a vehicle for himself. This is no different in the case of Clinton, except she engages in a lot of pretense, if not full-scale discombobulation. Thus, she — not Trump — is the hypocrite in this regard.

A main emphasis of the new book is to cut Bernie Sanders down to size. The Clinton machine always believed that Sanders should have been no more than a mere “warm up” act for the real candidate — not a serious contender. That Sanders dared to pursue a real candidacy is cast as a shameful ego trip, if not a sexist act toward Clinton.

The fact that Sanders won over large parts of the youth vote (and even many middle-aged voters) in the Democratic Party camp, despite his own advanced age, underscores how much the policy and person of Clinton is considered obsolete or simply disliked.

The disdain for Sanders and the reform camp he stands for also manifests itself in another telling manner: The Clintonites continue to rule the Democratic Party with an iron fist and oppress any “youthful” reform elements to this day, even at the local party level.

Regardless of who becomes the Democrats’ candidate in 2020, the real contest is between the big-money party financiers and the popular forces of the coalition that supported their bete-noire, Sanders.

That big-time campaign financiers demonize and express not just concern, but outright horror over the positions of Sanders is almost comical. They make it sound as if he Sanders is keen on launching a 1789 style French Revolution, taking him far too literally when he calls for a “political revolution.” That Sanders embraces policy positions that are widespread government policy in continental Europe does not change their assessment.

Given the continuing degree of nervousness that is gripping the American middle class, more focus on socio-economic equity and safety nets might also be the key to winning elections.

The Democrats have been far too long the backers of the plutocratic billionaire class of America, thanks to both Clintons.

The two Clintons still gladly call themselves “liberal” in the American sense of the word. But, not least owing to the need to placate their campaign contributors, they have become liberal in the classic British sense of the word, focused on unshackling the powers of capital.

To all related questions, about the impact of this big money on the party agenda, Clinton also has a fitting answer: complete denial. As if to make up for that, around a hundred words in the book are devoted to detailing her favorite yoga breathing exercise.

Based in Berlin, Stephan Richter is the publisher and editor-in-chief of The Globalist.