‘What happened’ in 2016? Hillary still doesn’t know
Nearly 80 million baby boomers will soon begin relying more on the government as they enter into their retirement years. They’ll be eligible to collect from Social Security and from Medicare or Medicaid programs, which already make up 45 percent of federal spending and will increase to nearly 62 percent in 15 years as 10,000 baby boomers retire each day.
The baby boomers have earned their retirement through paying their taxes and Social Security, and they did it the good ol’ American way through hard work. America is reaching a tipping point, because the federal government is tapping into those hard-earned dollars to support everything from illegal immigrants to lazy Americans.
Creating jobs and removing welfare to most would greatly reduce the budget. It is time Washington started protecting the investments of the American people as if they really were the elected servants of the American people.
There is a reason we call it “public service.”
LOS ANGELES — Was this book necessary? Hillary Clinton’s anguished, angry memoir of her presidential campaign, “What Happened,” will be unveiled this week, complete with television appearances and a 15city lecture tour.
Other Democrats have been dreading this moment for months.
“I love Hillary,” Al Franken, the senator from Minnesota, said a few weeks ago. “I think she has a right to analyze what happened. But we do have to move on.”
A backward-looking slog through the disappointments of last year’s campaign is not what most Democratic politicians want to dominate the news this fall.
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. Less justifiably, she also blames Bernie Sanders, and even — in smaller ways — Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
Her decision to relitigate her bitter primary battles with Sanders has especially distressed other Democrats because it rolls a grenade into their not-yet-successful efforts to reunify the party.
The independent senator’s attacks on her big-dollar fundraising made it easier for Trump to paint her as “Crooked Hillary,” Clinton complains. “I don’t know if that bothered Bernie or not.”
Sanders — who, as luck would have it, is on a book tour of his own — fired back. “Secretary Clinton ran against the most unpopular candidate in the history of this country and she lost, and she was upset about it and I understand that,” he said last week. “But our job is not to go backward. ... I think it’s a little bit silly to keep talking about 2016.”
This, of course, is a gift to Trump and his conservative allies. They’d like nothing better than to make Clinton the public face of the Democratic Party again — especially since her approval rating in the polls, at 30 percent, is even lower than the president’s. Fox News Channel is giving the book launch lavish coverage, including segments re-examining the controversy over her emails.
Clinton’s excuse: “I had to get this off my chest!” she writes at one point, an explanation that pretty much covers all 512 pages.
But most losing presidential candidates don’t write books about the experience. And the ones who do normally wait a decade or so before ripping the bandages off their wounds.
Mitt Romney didn’t do it after 2012. John McCain didn’t do it after 2008. (As he noted last week, “You’ve got to move on.”) To find a loser who did memorialize his defeat, you have to go back to Richard M. Nixon in 1960 — not a model you might have expected Clinton to emulate. There’s a reason for that. Airing grievances, even when they’re justified, rarely shows anyone’s most appealing side. For losing candidates, even in arguably stolen elections, the tradition has been stoic silence.
It would be one thing if Clinton’s book delivered new insights about what went wrong. But it doesn’t. Every one of her explanations has been hashed out already.
Here’s the pity: She could have written a different book — a book that briskly summarized the lessons of her loss and suggested a path forward for the causes she loves. It wouldn’t have been a bestseller, but it might have been more useful. Needless to say, the relatively brief, forward-looking part of Clinton’s message has been swamped in media coverage by all the juicy score-settling.
Clinton appears to intend her book to be a vehicle for her reemergence onto the public stage. “There were plenty of people hoping that I, too, would just disappear,” she writes. “But here I am.”
She has set up a new fundraising organization to support progressive causes and serve as her platform. (It’s called “Onward Together,” a name even less inspiring than her campaign slogan, “Stronger Together.”)
But after all her reflection, she still hasn’t quite figured out what went wrong.
“What makes me such a lightning rod for fury?” she writes. “I’m really asking. I’m at a loss.”
With that question unanswered, she might have been better off stowing “What Happened” in a desk drawer. The lesson she’s learning is a harsh one: After a disastrous election, even the supporters of a defeated candidate may not be eager to have her around.
Doyle McManus is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times.
WASHINGTON — For too long, perhaps, Penn State University has lived in its own little world. It’s a school so dedicated to football its leaders turned their backs on what became one of the worst scandals in the history of college athletics. Their unhealthy idolization of their late long-time head coach Joe Paterno led to his disgrace, the incarceration of a deviant former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, who most likely will spend the rest of his life in prison, NCAA sanctions, and the dismissal of the school’s president and athletic director, both of whom are in legal jeopardy. The financial cost to the school has been substantial.
Today, though, not that many years later, the football team is again highly ranked and filling a huge stadium in one of the more difficult college towns to reach.
But with the continuing fallout over the hazing death of a young fraternity pledge, the Big Ten school and Pennsylvania taxpayers may have another costly problem on their hands — despite a judge earlier this month throwing out the most serious charges in a criminal case against members of the involved fraternity.
The prosecutor, left irate, announced he will seek to reinstate the tossed manslaughter charges by challenging the ruling of Magisterial District Judge Allen Sinclair, who took action without explaining his reasoning after days of pretrial arguments in the case against the members of Beta Theta Pi, one of the oldest fraternities in the country. Less-serious charges were left standing.
In case you missed it, the morons who occupied the Beta house appear to have encouraged 19-year-old Timothy Piazza to drink so much booze that he fell down a flight of stairs, badly injuring himself. For 12 hours, they did nothing about it, despite a sense there was something terribly wrong and the urging of at least one person present to call 911, according to the grand jury indictment. They put him on a couch, where he awoke before passing out again, and a video shows them plugging their noses against the smell of his vomit. He died a day later.
What were the frat brothers thinking? About themselves, no doubt.
But why do bad things keep happening at Penn State? One has to wonder if it has something to do with its remoteness, which perhaps protects a fraternity-and-football-focused type of culture many other schools have left for the history books. After all, what else is there to do for entertainment? Problems exist at smaller colleges as well, but rules of behavior are easier to enforce at such schools.
Hazing of freshmen, mainly by fraternities, goes back a long way. It is a self-perpetuating product of immature minds. Federal military academies banned the activity decades ago following World War II. But even today, too many college administrations give only lip service to enforcing rules against the practice.
The Betas are no longer at Penn State, banned from the campus, their house closed. Tough new rules about alcohol, including keg parties, have been instituted by the school’s president — all well and good.
But it’s too early to know the lasting impact of this tragedy, and after the judge’s watering down of the indictment, what should be a wakeup call may not sound as loudly.
Piazza’s parents are furious at the judge, and the school can expect an expensive civil suit no matter what the criminal trial produces. Someone needs to pay dearly. Those who thought about themselves rather than the youngster lying on the couch need to be held up as examples of what such foolishness costs. Obviously, this judge isn’t the one to make that happen.
Penn State might have a good football season, but Piazza and Sandusky’s victims won’t be celebrating.
Dan Thomasson is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service and a former vice president of Scripps Howard Newspapers. Readers may send him email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
www.cecildaily.com Serving Cecil County since 1841 Phone 410-398-3311 • Fax 410-398-4044