More bro­ken bones from the Demo­cratic ru­ins

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - BY WES­LEY PRUDEN

Th­ese are just not happy times for Hil­lary Clin­ton, and just when she thought the worst was over, the worst is just now in sight. She has had one of his­tory’s steep­est el­e­va­tor rides, from once “the most qual­i­fied pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates in his­tory” (she told us so her­self) to a “tran­scen­dent spir­i­tual pres­ence” (you could have asked any Demo­crat with a vo­cab­u­lary) who could make grown women weep.

“But that was then, “ob­serves David French in Na­tional Re­view, “when the Democrats be­lieved they were on the verge of a vic­tory that would prove all their politi­cal the­o­ries cor­rect. They were the ‘coali­tion of the as­cen­dant.’ De­mog­ra­phy was des­tiny. The arc of his­tory was bend­ing their way.”

Or maybe not. Maybe that arc was a lash, and it was about to bend not his­tory but the lit­tle lady late of Lit­tle Rock. Her one­time per­ma­nent friends and al­lies, in­so­far as Hil­lary and Bubba have ever had per­ma­nent friends, are com­ing out of the cracks and crevices in the cathe­dral to tell their sto­ries of how the great Demo­cratic party crack-up hap­pened, and who’s to blame. No apolo­gies yet; there may never be any of those. But some of the party stal­warts are stop­ping just short of say­ing mis­takes were made.

Donna Brazile, the one­time chair­man of the party and then a CNN con­trib­u­tor, who leaked the CNN ques­tions at the sec­ond pres­i­den­tial de­bate to the party’s dowa­ger queen, has writ­ten the in­evitable book, called “Hacked,” and it’s a dev­as­tat­ing ac­count of what ev­ery­one sus­pected, how Hil­lary put her own in­ter­ests first, and used fair means and foul (mostly foul) to ab­sorb the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee into her cam­paign — be­fore, not af­ter, she be­came the party’s pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee. She had the na­tional com­mit­tee in her pocket more than a year be­fore the elec­tion, and months be­fore the first party pri­mary. Bernie San­ders was right. The nom­i­na­tion was rigged.

The gritty de­tails of how it hap­pened, which is the point of the book, will seem ar­cane, im­pen­e­tra­ble and ul­ti­mately bor­ing, not worth the can­dle for read­ers be­yond the Cap­i­tal Belt­way, and to a lot of them in­side that con­crete neck­lace, but “Hacked” will be picked over by the party reg­u­lars and in­sid­ers who will never see the dowa­ger queen in the same com­fort­able way again. The most qual­i­fied can­di­date for president in the his­tory of the uni­verse might be ren­dered un­em­ploy­able by what’s be­hind that dam that’s about to break, but if she wants to be a com­fort­able col­lege president to coast into her sun­set years, she might have to be sat­is­fied to be the president of a New Eng­land bar­ber and beauty col­lege.

None of the stuff Mzz Brazile lays out was il­le­gal, but she calls it “un­eth­i­cal,” as if an ethic ever has a chance in­side a politi­cal cam­paign. She says Hil­lary “com­pro­mised the party’s in­tegrity,” which she says was in­evitable, given the Clin­ton fam­ily motto, “Com­pro­mis­ing Demo­cratic in­tegrity since 1992.”

Mzz Brazile’s book is the most dra­matic wave com­ing over the top of the dam, but it fol­lows closely on oth­ers. Stan­ley Green­berg, a strate­gist in sev­eral Clin­ton cam­paigns, de­tails in the mag­a­zine Amer­i­can Prospect, widely read on the cap­i­tal’s pro­gres­sive (they mean lib­eral) ram­parts, how Hil­lary’s er­rors, her mis­man­age­ment of the cam­paign, her in­abil­ity to lis­ten to any­body, in­clud­ing Bubba, and above all scorn­ing — “sneer­ing at” is not too strong — the party’s tra­di­tional work­ing-class base. No one with a glim­mer of smarts, for ex­am­ple, would have told the coal min­ers of West Vir­ginia she was go­ing to put them out of busi­ness.

Su­san Glasser in New Yorker mag­a­zine makes the ob­vi­ous point, which has not yet been no­ticed in most me­dia sa­lons, that while the pun­dits have been gloat­ing over the aches and pains of the Repub­li­cans and the ham­mer that Robert Mueller is soon to bring down on Don­ald Trump, it’s the Democrats whose trou­bles are “get­ting nasty.”

But Mzz Brazile, like most Democrats, still doesn’t get all of it. The ti­tle of her book, “Hacked,” refers to the end­less hacks of party com­put­ers and theft of emails lead­ing up to the elec­tion. “If I had it to do all over again,” she told an in­ter­viewer on the eve of the elec­tion last year, “I would know a hell of a lot more about cy­ber­se­cu­rity.”

The hacks hurt, no doubt, but los­ing the elec­tion — a lock for Hil­lary, ev­ery­body said — was not about stolen emails and pil­fered mes­sages, as im­por­tant as the pil­fer­ing was. The elec­tion of Don­ald Trump was about how the vot­ers, in­clud­ing those for­got­ten Demo­cratic vot­ers in Michi­gan, Wis­con­sin and Penn­syl­va­nia were fi­nally fed up with a party gone to seed. They were look­ing for some­one who un­der­stood that Amer­ica needed to be put back on the rails, and they knew Hil­lary Clin­ton was not that some­one. Mzz Brazile tells what Hil­lary didn’t about what hap­pened. Wes­ley Pruden is editor in chief emer­i­tus of The Times.

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