Hil­lary Clin­ton most re­spon­si­ble for what hap­pened in '16 elec­tion

The Oklahoman - - OPINION -

AT one point in her new book out this week, ti­tled “What Hap­pened,” Hil­lary Clin­ton won­ders why it is she has trig­gered such strong neg­a­tive re­ac­tions from some peo­ple since the be­gin­ning of her pub­lic ca­reer. “What makes me such a light­ning rod for fury?” Clin­ton writes. “I’m re­ally ask­ing. I’m at a loss.”

There are any num­ber of rea­sons, of course, but two chief ones are her long his­tory of find­ing it dif­fi­cult to tell the truth, and her un­will­ing­ness to ac­cept it.

Her large cat­tle fu­tures pay­days as first lady of Arkansas? All on the up and up. Her han­dling of the Beng­hazi at­tack as sec­re­tary of state? Right on point. Her use of a per­sonal email server while in that highly sen­si­tive job? “It was al­lowed,” she fa­mously said at the time. Of course, it wasn’t al­lowed.

Clin­ton as­serted in 2015 that she used the pri­vate email be­cause she could then use just one dig­i­tal de­vice. Yet her at­tor­neys turned over two Black­Ber­rys to FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tors, and the agency iden­ti­fied 13 other mo­bile de­vices and five iPads that might have pro­cessed clas­si­fied ma­te­rial.

When the FBI asked Clin­ton about im­por­tant events and de­tails re­lated to her time as sec­re­tary of state, she said — 27 times — that she “could not re­call” or “did not re­mem­ber specif­i­cally.”

These episodes and oth­ers con­trib­uted might­ily to Clin­ton’s loss last Novem­ber, al­though she re­mains con­vinced much of the blame falls to oth­ers. Vladimir Putin is among those at the top of her list.

In an in­ter­view with USA To­day, Clin­ton said there “cer­tainly was an un­der­stand­ing of some sort” be­tween Putin and as­so­ciates of Don­ald Trump. She said she’s “con­vinced” there was col­lu­sion by Trump as­so­ciates. How­ever, “I hap­pen to be­lieve in the rule of law and be­lieve in ev­i­dence, so I’m not go­ing to go off and make all kinds of out­ra­geous claims.”

Re­views of the book note that she takes some re­spon­si­bil­ity for her loss, in­clud­ing mis­un­der­stand­ing the elec­torate and un­der­es­ti­mat­ing Trump. But she also spends con­sid­er­able time point­ing fin­gers.

She’s mildly crit­i­cal of for­mer Pres­i­dent Obama for not say­ing more about Rus­sian med­dling in the run-up to the elec­tion. She takes to task fe­males who chose to stay home on Elec­tion Day. For­mer FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey comes in for the most crit­i­cism, with Clin­ton say­ing she was “shiv­ved” by Comey, par­tic­u­larly his an­nounce­ment of a new batch of emails just 11 days be­fore the elec­tion.

Bernie San­ders is a Clin­ton tar­get. San­ders didn’t en­ter the race to put a Demo­crat in the White House, Clin­ton writes, but in­stead “he got in to dis­rupt the Demo­cratic Party.” San­ders’ at­tacks on her dur­ing the cam­paign, she con­tends, helped set the stage for Trump’s strat­egy dur­ing the gen­eral elec­tion cam­paign.

Bri­anna Keilar, CNN’s se­nior Wash­ing­ton cor­re­spon­dent, noted re­cently on the net­work that the crit­i­cism of San­ders “speaks to an is­sue that Hil­lary Clin­ton has had, where she strug­gles some­times to take re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

“She came in with weak­nesses that were com­pletely self-cre­ated,” Keilar said. “And for an op­po­nent to ig­nore those things, to not re­ally cap­i­tal­ize on them, would have been po­lit­i­cal neg­li­gence.”

Sim­ply put, Hil­lary has only her­self to blame for what hap­pened.

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