The Democrats have a Hil­lary Clin­ton prob­lem

Imperial Valley Press - - OPINION - CARL GOLDEN Carl Golden is a se­nior con­tribut­ing an­a­lyst with the Wil­liam J. Hughes Cen­ter for Pub­lic Pol­icy at Stock­ton Univer­sity in New Jersey. You can reach him at cgolden1937@gmail

As she em­barks on her spread-the-blame tour to juice sales of her book, “What Hap­pened,” Hil­lary Clin­ton risks be­com­ing a car­i­ca­ture — an em­bit­tered sore loser driven by van­ity and in­ca­pable of ac­cept­ing any nar­ra­tive or ex­pla­na­tion that dif­fers from hers.

The re­lease of ex­cerpts and the hype sur­round­ing her na­tional tour and in­ter­views have cre­ated se­ri­ous angst among Demo­cratic Party lead­ers who — un­like Clin­ton — have come to terms with her de­feat and want noth­ing more than to move on with re­build­ing a shat­tered party or­ga­ni­za­tion and po­si­tion­ing it­self for a le­git­i­mate shot at gain­ing seats in the Congress in 2018.

They fear her ef­forts to re­lit­i­gate the elec­tion will ex­ac­er­bate in­tra-party di­vi­sions rather than help­ing heal them and by draw­ing out­sized media at­ten­tion com­pletely over­shadow any at­tempt to de­liver a co­gent, cred­i­ble mes­sage to the Amer­i­can people.

Hers was a text­book case of a can­di­date who be­lieved her own press clip­pings.

The storm clouds gath­er­ing on the hori­zon were blot­ted out by the bliz­zard of rose petals strewn in her path by the party es­tab­lish­ment, poll­sters, ma­jor donors, a syco­phan­tic staff and hang­ers-on, and a sym­pa­thetic — and, in some in­stances, un­abashedly sup­port­ive — na­tional media.

She blew $1 bil­lion on a cam­paign to lose to a thrice-mar­ried New York real es­tate de­vel­oper who spent about half that. Small won­der she’s bit­ter.

To be sure, she won the pop­u­lar vote, but, in pol­i­tics, there’s no such thing as a sil­ver medal.

You win or you don’t.

She again blames her loss on for­mer FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey, al­leged Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence, an in­ept na­tional party or­ga­ni­za­tion, and the flood of em­bar­rass­ing cam­paign emails pub­lished by Wik­iLeaks.

In the book, how­ever, she goes much fur­ther, cas­ti­gat­ing Ver­mont’s so­cial­ist Se­na­tor Bernie San­ders for his au­dac­ity in chal­leng­ing her in the pri­maries, and, to a lesser ex­tent, on Pres­i­dent Obama and Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den for their per­ceived luke warm sup­port.

Her sharp words for San­ders sur­prised some, not so much for the crit­i­cism it­self, but for the in­ten­sity with which it was de­liv­ered.

She ac­cused him of not be­ing a Democrat, sug­gest­ing that she felt it im­proper for him to run, and claimed his only rea­son for en­ter­ing the race was to be a dis­rup­tive force in the party.

He stole her ideas, she claims, and took what­ever she said a step fur­ther in a bla­tant ap­peal to the far left to con­vince them she was in­suf­fi­ciently sup­port­ive of the party’s prin­ci­ples.

It is yet an­other at­tempt in the on­go­ing ef­fort to down­play the dam­age she brought on her­self by main­tain­ing a pri­vate email server in her home and us­ing it to con­vey clas­si­fied State De­part­ment doc­u­ments.

Her con­stantly shift­ing ex­pla­na­tions — “I didn’t want to be bur­dened by car­ry­ing two de­vices to com­mu­ni­cate” was, per­haps, the most in­cred­i­ble — re­in­forced the per­cep­tion that she felt it un­nec­es­sary to abide by the same rules as oth­ers.

Her sup­port­ers, con­vinced they were help­ing, of­ten ac­com­plished the op­po­site.

For­mer Sec­re­tary of State Made­line Al­bright — not renowned for her po­lit­i­cal in­sight — once huffed “there’s a spe­cial place in hell” for any woman who failed to vote for Hil­lary, draw­ing laugh­ter and ap­plause from the can­di­date.

Try that line on the wife of a laid­off auto plant worker in Michi­gan strug­gling with telling her teen-age son the fam­ily can’t af­ford $100 for a new pair of Nikes for him.

Don­ald Trump spoke di­rectly to that woman and mil­lions of oth­ers in the same predica­ment, while Hil­lary air­ily con­signed them to “a bas­ket of de­plorables” who de­served their fate of go­ing di­rectly to Al­bright’s Hades.

Com­ing from some­one who ac­cepted quar­ter mil­lion dol­lar fees for 20-minute speeches and whose for­mer pres­i­dent hus­band flew around the world col­lect­ing mil­lions in speak­ing hono­ria or do­na­tions to the fam­ily foun­da­tion, it was a jolt­ing re­minder of how badly out of touch she was with or­di­nary Amer­i­cans.

The spec­u­la­tion that her book and her pro­mo­tional tour are de­signed to main­tain rel­e­vancy and po­si­tion her for yet an­other pres­i­den­tial run in 2020, as­sum­ing Trump will have self-de­struc­ted by then, can’t be taken se­ri­ously.

Torch­ing all her bridges while blam­ing lead­ers of her party for her loss is a pe­cu­liar strat­egy for some­one looking to the fu­ture.

The words of Oliver Cromwell, Bri­tish mil­i­tary and po­lit­i­cal leader, come to mind when, in 1653, ad­dress­ing Par­lia­ment, he said: “De­part I say and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”

Many hand-wring­ing Democrat lead­ers, faced with Hil­lary’s earth-scorch­ing must be won­der­ing: “Where’s go old Ol­lie when we need him?”

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