(Rich Galen, Mullings) – Suddenly, Hillary Clinton is everywhere.
I am reading “Shattered,” the book by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parne which is subtitled “Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign,” in case the title didn’t tip you off.
According to the Kindle app on my iPad, I am exactly one-quarter of the way through the book. It’s a little like watching “Apollo 13.” We already know the ending. The value is understanding how they got there.
At the one-quarter mark, it is the night of the Iowa Caucuses in January of 2016. When all was said and done, Hillary Clinton had beaten Bernie Sanders by 0.25%: 49.84 – 49.59. While that was razor thin by any measure, in Iowa a win is a win. In 2008, remember, Clinton had come in third behind both Barack Obama and John “Big Daddy” Roberts.
In 2008, I was a senior advisor to Fred Thompson’s Presidential campaign. On caucus night, the results showed Thompson coming in third – barely – ahead of John McCain. But, there were a couple of precincts which had not reported due to computer problems.
The next morning, en route the airport, Thompson expressed his fears that when those precincts came in, he will have ended up in 4th place.
I said, in effect, “Not to worry. David Yepsen [then the Des Moines Register’ senior political writer] said in this morning’s paper that you came in third. You will have forever have come in third.”
In fact, Thompson did come in third beating McCain by 424 votes or 0.06%.
You may have heard that Hillary Clinton did not shatter the glass ceiling (hence the name of the book) by becoming the first woman President of the United States. She may be the only person who was otherwise Constitutionally qualified to run for President to find a way to lose to Donald Trump.
It is clear that what is left of the Clinton political team decided it needed to counter the arguments in “Shattered” that the campaign was a succotash of competing power centers, confusing messages, and a candidate whose résumé was exactly the opposite of what Anti-Washington voters were looking for.
In an interview, earlier this week, Mrs. Clinton blamed her loss on Russian hacking, James Comey, and misogyny.
Remember that FBI Director Comey sent a letter to the House and Senate saying the FBI was looking into the thousands of emails had shown up on Anthony Weiner’s laptop computer that were copies of emails from Clinton’s private server. This was widely reported as the FBI “reopening” the investigation – a verb that was violently contested by Clinton supporters.
Vice chair of the campaign (and professional shadow of the candidate) Huma Abedin was married to Weiner. I don’t know that it has ever been fully explained how Huma’s emails ended up on Weiner’s laptop, but the fact remains that if Clinton hadn’t been too clever by half when she was Secretary of State, none of this would have happened.
UPDATE: FBI Director James Comey said (according to CNN.com) “Abedin appeared to have had a regular practice of forwarding emails to Weiner for him ‘to print out for her so she could then deliver them to the secretary of state.'”
Nevertheless, Clinton said the data show her lead in the polls and her lead in early voting returns vanished in the last 10 days of the race in important places like Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin – all of which were won by Donald Trump.
That collapse could be blamed on Comey, or it might be that the Clinton campaign’s turnout operation in turning out early voters was better than it was turning out election day voters.
I haven’t gotten that far in the book.
Hillary Clinton is never so comfortable as when she is portraying herself as America’s Victim. This time the man involved was James Comey, not Bill Clinton, but the pattern remains.
The whole Hillary whine reminds me of the coach of a superior football team that has lost because of a questionable call by the refs in the final seconds of the game.
In both that coach’s case and in Clinton’s case the answer is the same: It never should have been so close that a bad call could alter the outcome.
The very worst thing that can happen to the Democratic Party is for Hillary Clinton to regain center stage. The Dems are short on bench strength to start with (Elizabeth Warren is about the best they’ve got and she scares people).
The stumbles and fumbles of the early days of the Trump Presidency should be a time when younger, newer Democratic faces should be doing their out-of-town tryouts in New Hampshire and Iowa.
Instead, they still have Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.
Time to turn the page.
Mr. Galen is a veteran political strategist and communications consultant. He blogs at www.Mullings.com.