Patterico's Pontifications

5/11/2017

Review of Clinton Campaign Book, Part II

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:03 pm

[guest post by JVW]

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed the first 140 pages of Shattered by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, a book that details the rise and fall of the Past, Present, and Future Next Inevitable President of the United States, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton, hdr22@clintonemail.com. I have since finished the book (honestly, I finished it over a week ago; I just have been too disorganized to write this blog post). I am a bit chagrined that in my earlier review I completely overlooked one of the juicer tidbits from the early chapters, that Her Clintonic Majesty and her slavish couriers downloaded the email communication of her entire 2008 campaign staff in the aftermath of her humiliating defeat that year, and then spent months poring through it in order to determine who was a true-blue ally and who was a back-stabber. It’s Hillaryworld at its most Nixonian, and I thank commenter shipwreckedcrew for reminding me of this delightful insight into her character early in the comments on the original post.

So this time around I was extra careful to flag all of the material that I wanted to relay to you, and to compile a few pages of notes to help me with this post. I will follow the same format of my first post and just present various pieces from the book as I was struck by them. So with that settled, here we go:

1) Even if you don’t think you want to read the entire book, I would urge everyone to read the chapter on election night which was excerpted in the New York Post a couple of weeks ago. We discussed earlier that the authors are almost certainly leftists who two years earlier wrote a rather flattering hagiography HRC on Hillary!’s “rebirth” as she started her campaign, but I promise you that they do a masterful job here of describing the scene as Hillary! went from certain winner to disgraced loser. Do yourself a favor and click on the link to enjoy recapping that momentous night.

2) I mentioned this in Part I of my review, but with these books it oftentimes becomes very clear which characters were the most cooperative with the authors, especially where dishing dirt is concerned. Having read the entire book, I am now certain that it is the Big Sleaze himself, Bill Clinton, who worked the hardest to cultivate the authors’ trust and present events through his prism. At several junctures the authors remind the reader that Bubba continually pushed to get his wife away from the urban areas and to campaign in places where the white middle class and underclass live, to “feel their pain” in the way that he did a quarter-century ago. But, in Bubba’s telling of events, campaign Robby Mook was far too obsessed with data and analytics and thought that Hillary would win by reassembling most of Obama’s coalition, of urbanites, minorities, and comfortable suburbanites.

3) The pivotal moment for candidate Clinton came on the mini-Super Tuesday when she swept the five states in contention: Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri. That became, at least from a mathematical perspective, the moment when Bernie Sanders no longer had a viable shot at securing enough delegates to wrest away the nomination. Yet in the moment of triumph many of Hillary’s aides and donors continued to grouse that the victory margins weren’t large enough, and the professional campaign class with its extended open palm ever demanding payoff kept insisting that she was going cheap on field organization. Mook rarely gets a break in the book, and it seems pretty clear that he is assigned the role of the heavy, largely through the backstage carping by Bubba, John Podesta, Jennifer Palmieri, and other veterans of Clintonland. Hillary meanwhile slips into the conceit that when she wins primaries it is because she is the superior candidate but when she loses it is because her campaign staff fails her. According to the authors, she very seriously entertained firing Mook in March, but still stinging from her 2008 loss she had by then lost faith in her own political instincts. Meanwhile, Obama loyalists David Axelrod and David Plouffe both gossip among Democrats how bad a candidate Hillary is turning out to be.

4) There are lot of interesting tidbits about her Vice-President nominee selection. Podesta started the process right before the mini-Super Tuesday by preparing a list which he shared with Cheryl Mills. Three dozen potential VP candidates were placed into six different categories: Latinos, female Senators, male Senators, military officials, business leaders, and Bernie Sanders. Podesta, Mills, and other close associates added some additional names including Michael Bloomberg, Kristin Gillibrand (in HRC’s old Senate seat), Muhtar Kent (the CEO of Coca-Cola), and Michael Bennett (Senator from Colorado). Kevin DeLeon, the empty-suit liberal who is the leader of the California Senate, was thankfully dropped from contention. Bill wanted his old buddy (and Agricultural Secretary) Tom Vislack of Iowa. Hillary’s underling from the State Department, Jake Sullivan, favored retaining Joe Biden, an idea also pushed by Senator Claire McCaskill, but Clintonites worried that they needed a cleaner break from the Obama Administration.

Hillary apparently flirted strongly with Elizabeth Warren, and her younger aides were wild for the all-female ticket, but HRC worried that the progressive darling can’t be trusted to be pragmatic or constructive. Obama also apparently was anti-Warren. The authors report that he “had become deeply frustrated with Warren, a onetime ally, for what he saw as demagoguing against him on economic issues and for wreaking havoc when he nominated a banker, Antonio Weiss, as an undersecretary at the Treasury Department.” By mid-July the field had been narrowed down to Tim Kaine, Cory Booker, Vislack, and Warren. Warren was quickly dropped, and HRC failed to establish a personal connection with Booker when they met (she also doubted that she needed his help to secure the black vote). Obama spoke highly of Kaine (who was supposedly the runner-up in the VP sweepstakes of 2008), so even though some people in Clintonworld found Kaine to be “dull as a month-old razor” he was offered the spot.

5) Hillary supposedly personally liked Debbie Wasserman Schultz, but by last summer she was one of the few remaining Democrats who did. No one else on her campaign was too fond of DWS, mostly because she had made key decisions about the Democrats’ convention without coordinating them with the campaign. HRC aides lobbied Hillary to get DWS to step down, but Podesta and Hillary demurred because DWS had been an early endorser of Hillary back in 2008. Also, interestingly enough, Harry Reid and Biden were fond of DWS, though Chuck Schumer and McCaskill disliked her. The authors relate a sad and almost comical scene of the Clinton campaign maneuvering to prevent the embattled DWS from appearing on-stage with the candidate at a pre-convention rally in Florida, in order to avoid enraging the Sanders crowd whose votes they were carefully trying to cultivate. All of this ended with DWS painstakingly negotiating her resignation as DNC chairwoman in return for both Hillary and Obama endorsing her for reelection against her Bernie-backed primary challenger.

6) At the actual convention, Sanders had to privately plead with his supporters not to boo Hillary’s speech on the night she accepts her nomination. According to the authors, he was not very successful. Thankfully for him (and for the candidate), what the authors characterize as pretty obvious and significant booing as Hillary was formally nominated was not picked up by the television cameras and microphones, nor was the mass exodus of Sanders supporters from the convention hall once she appeared on stage to deliver her speech. Thanks, mainstream media, for covering that up.

7) Unsurprisingly, Sanders and his supporters continue to be a very sensitive subject for the Clinton campaign. Obama had to be enlisted to tell Bernie that the gig is up and that he needed to fold his campaign tent and climb aboard the Hillary bandwagon, and Sanders was a touch bit resentful about that. Later on, Sanders films a commercial for Hillary in which he tries to convince progressives that she can be trusted. The Clinton people even get him to agree to bless her plan to raise the minimum wage to $12 instead of the $15 that he had been campaigning for, yet after they play the ad to focus groups they are told that the message doesn’t seem authentically Hillary, it seems like she is just co-opting Sanders’ talking points. After working so hard to get him aboard, they shelve the TV ad and only use clips of it in HRC radio ads.

Well, this is long already and there are a few more things that I want to report, so I’ll make this into one more post in the next few days. Feel free to discuss what I have relayed above, and continue to count your lucky starts that these people were not returned to power.

[Update:] Now cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.

– JVW

32 Responses to “Review of Clinton Campaign Book, Part II”

  1. Part III of this will just be some loose odds-and-ends that I found enlightening.

    JVW (2b202c)

  2. I am a bit chagrined that in my earlier review I completely overlooked one of the juicer tidbits from the early chapters, that Her Clintonic Majesty and her slavish couriers downloaded the email communication of her entire 2008 campaign staff in the aftermath of her humiliating defeat that year, and then spent months poring through it in order to determine who was a true-blue ally and who was a back-stabber.

    Well, maybe it didn’t strike you as significant, (any employer can do that, right?) but when you starting reading reviews or other articles that mentioned that, then you thought it important. I wonder what things in it everyybody is overlooking, but then I would wonder what in it is true.

    There’s nothing in the whole book, is there, about Hillary Clinton and her closest advsrer sbeinbg worried about an investigtion, is there?

    Sammy Finkelman (6f9f42)

  3. Great post.

    These guys were the biggest chumps of them all. What really surprises me is how Democrats see Elizabeth Warren. Her career has taken several steps in the wrong direction in the past few years, and you’d think she would be one of their darlings on their amazingly short bench.

    The democrats rightfully will not tolerate what happened in their primary, but Sanders would have lost too. Hillary, for all the talk about her miserable failure, did win the popular vote by a few million. Sure, she ran a horrible campaign and she lost the game that counts, and is a terribly unappealing and insincere sort of person, but she did manage to get a lot of votes anyway. I imagine either party could run Satan and get at least 40% these days.

    Dustin (ba94b2)

  4. I promise you that they do a masterful job here of describing the scene as Hillary! went from certain winner to disgraced loser

    That part there’s no big reason to lie about, so they could honest and tell something interesting. Or is there something to lie about there, or conceal? What about all the calculating about recounts, which no doubt happened? But the authors probably didn’t know anything about that.`

    I am now certain that it is the Big Sleaze himself, Bill Clinton, who worked the hardest to cultivate the authors’ trust and present events through his prism.

    Maybe not personally. He could have orchestrated leaks.

    remind the reader that Bubba continually pushed to get his wife away from the urban areas and to campaign in places where the white middle class and underclass live, to “feel their pain” in the way that he did a quarter-century ago.

    I think that’s a way of saying: “Don’t look at this last race – maybe next time she could win. Mook is expendable and won’t be involved next time.”

    The story about the her Vice-President nominee selection is probably a BIG LIE , although a lot of this head faking probably really did occur.

    Hillary needed somebody at least a little corrupt, but who could pass a investigation. And Tim Kaine fit the bill:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-07-25/tim-kaine-s-160-000-in-gifts-was-legal-unfortunately

    Hillary supposedly personally liked Debbie Wasserman Schultz,

    Well, of course. Wasn’t she trying to help her win the nomination, and wouldn’t she do what the campaign asked, no questions asked, iduring the general election?

    Sammy Finkelman (6f9f42)

  5. What is striking is how This campaign rhymes with 1968, not Humphrey was an honorable man, but he faced a nation in chaos and was found wanting.

    narciso (84d4c5)

  6. Is his name really Mook? Would you hire a guy named Mook to be your campaign manager if you were running for President? I mean, wouldn’t you think “Mook” was a warning?

    nk (dbc370)

  7. I even clicked the link to the excerpt, JVW. Minor schadenboner since I was no happier with Trump winning — “at least one of them lost”.

    Anybody want to point out that the last two Democratic Presidents were relatively young, good-looking, charming (charismatic is too strong), friendly-appearing, and personable, things which Hillary is not, and that hiring a mook to run her campaign may not be the only reason she lost?

    nk (dbc370)

  8. This:

    Hillary meanwhile slips into the conceit that when she wins primaries it is because she is the superior candidate but when she loses it is because her campaign staff fails her.

    I believe this Is the sum total of Hillary in real life, not just during a campaign. Her comments blaming everyone else for her stunning loss would support these suspicions.

    Dana (023079)

  9. Aw, nk, why are you making fun of the poor guy? The name Mook is pretty common; in fact, it was the 16,120th most popular surname in the United States at the 2010 census, and it had moved up 324 places since 2000. Clearly we are letting in too many Dutch people into this country.

    The people I always heard use “mook” as an epithet were Italians and Sicilians. I wonder if they originated that term.

    JVW (42615e)

  10. Excellent conclusion to your review, JVW, thank you!

    Re your Item #3: I agree that is one of the most unintentionally revealing portions of the book. The book generally underplays the importance of superdelegates, and mostly ignores and leaves unreported the deals Hillary made to secure their support, in the Clintonistas’ cooking of the Democratic Party’s nomination. But this chapter does reveal just how irrelevant Hillary’s campaign skills or any of the campaign news (emails, debates, whatever) actually were to her blowing Bernie out of the water in the delegate count, even while losing other primaries to Bernie in just about every state which lacked those racial voting blocks. In this cycle, for all practical purposes, Hillary “owned” those votes in essentially the same manner Obama did in 2008 & 2012. And nothing that either Dem campaign did — or could have done — changed that. This chapter, in other words, rips the fig leaf off any claim by Dems that those voting blocks are making issues- or news-based decisions. You can call it her “firewall” or just “her kind of people” (Bubba having been the First Black President, as we all recall), but you can’t deny that it’s all about race-based politics.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  11. So delicious.

    Ya know…one might think that there might could possibly have been a teenie weenie mention somewhere of how the Russians were working to elect DJT.

    Ed from SFV (3400a5)

  12. She was going for someone like pat cancell who cut his teeth on the McGovern campaign and helmed Carter’s but Yosemite Sam is sho generis

    narciso (c07027)

  13. Thanks for the kind words, Beldar.

    One thing I didn’t write about that continually struck me throughout the book is how sad and odious the professional political consultant and campaign advisor class is. A number of them seem to be cynical hucksters on the take for a paycheck; I actually can sort of respect them in a way. But the saddest ones of all are the true believers, the people who really think that working the gears of government can make people’s lives better. I know that the Republicans have those sort of people on their side (though generally in the Republicans’ case they want to diminish government in favor of free markets in order to make things better), but the true believers — those who slog through four years of college immersed in activism and then head off to get a law degree and work in the field office for some podunk congressman and then maybe get promoted to the Washington office and then end up working for some lobbying firm and then finally get to be some semi-major cog in a Presidential campaign machine — those are the people who I imagine lead rather sad and pointless lives, even though they get their name in the newspaper and maybe someday will hitch a ride on Air Force One. Clinton seems to have a whole lot of those types behind her.

    JVW (42615e)

  14. That part there’s no big reason to lie about, so they could honest and tell something interesting. Or is there something to lie about there, or conceal? What about all the calculating about recounts, which no doubt happened? But the authors probably didn’t know anything about that.

    Yep, Sammy, I get the sense that after Election Night the authors no longer had the inside access to the campaign. Part of that is because they were hustling to get the book finished and to the printers, and part of it is that they might have been burned out and long-planned to step back once Election Day had passed (I believe that both authors are parents of young children). So except for a brief bit on Hillary at Inauguration Day and then a casual mention of people encouraging her to run for mayor of New York City, the book really ends once she concedes. Someone else will have to provide that inside account.

    JVW (42615e)

  15. Wonderful post, JVW, and a great set of comments thus far. This is Patterico’s Place at its best.

    Simon Jester (473673)

  16. In the tv series (blech) they will minimize the more embarrassing segments like they did in Julianne’s bender, aka vame change, where John Edwards was practically nonexistent.

    narciso (c07027)

  17. Wonderful post, JVW, and a great set of comments thus far. This is Patterico’s Place at its best.

    Many thanks, Simon. And you just reminded me that, as usual, I have failed to cross-post at the Jury, so I’ll get to that right now.

    JVW (42615e)

  18. I’m a little surprised at the reaction to red squaw, then again they were peeved she had ripped off obama’ shtick

    narciso (c07027)

  19. I’m a little surprised at the reaction to red squaw, then again they were peeved she had ripped off obama’ shtick

    Even if you share her (Warren’s) politics I would imagine that you would come to find her insufferable, and Obama doesn’t seem to care for anyone who might steal the spotlight away from him, even for just a moment. That’s how we end up with Vice President Joe Biden, for example.

    JVW (42615e)

  20. Or in this case clem kadiddlehopper, was their any comment on some rather boisterous statements during the convention, aimed at law enforcement and serving military.

    narciso (c07027)

  21. Nah, the authors mostly play down the anti-cop and anti-military fervor that has swept through the Democrat party and instead focus on the anti-Wall Street arguments.

    JVW (42615e)

  22. The thing I detect as missing from any analysis of the election that I’ve read is what seems c;nearest to me; that Trump managed to brad himself as an ‘outsider’, making the general election one of ‘insider’ vs ‘outsider’ even more than Republican vs Democrat.

    Now, the legitimacy of Trump claiming ‘outsider’ status can reasonably be questioned. But Hillary is the consummate ‘insider’, and I think that insiders are going to find it tough sledding for the next few election cycles.

    If the Democrat panjandrums don’t cotton onto this before 2020, and run another candidate that can be labeled an ‘insider’, we could easily end up with eight years of Trump.

    Probably Bernie Sanders couldn’t have successfully grabbed the ‘outsider’ brand for himself. And it would have been hard to assert that Trump was an insider with the horrified reaction of the Republican Usual Suspects to his nomination. Still, Hillary was the wrong KIND of candidate, in addition to being overtly criminal, broadly unlikable, and ostentatiously stupid.

    C. S. P. Schofield (99bd37)

  23. The thing I detect as missing from any analysis of the election that I’ve read is what seems c;nearest to me; that Trump managed to brad himself as an ‘outsider’, making the general election one of ‘insider’ vs ‘outsider’ even more than Republican vs Democrat.

    That’s a very good point and I think you’re right, but I think the purposes of these sorts of books are to be tell-alls that dish out dirt about the internal issues of the trainwreck.

    Hillary really was completely wrong for the moment, though. You’re 100% right. And Sanders wasn’t the only alternative… he was the guy there to create the illusion of choice, but the democrats had some options.

    Dustin (ba94b2)

  24. Ed from SFV (11): Actually, the authors do pretty much buy into and echo the ‘Russia hacked Podesta and influenced the election’ line, but they don’t do a lot with it. One might ask, Why? My suspicion: by the time of the election, they themselves were pretty appalled at Clinton as a candidate and figure just about anyone else would have beat Trump, Russians or no Russians.

    Another curious thing is that while the authors speak freely and frankly about HRC’s various stupidities and dishonesties w/rt the private e-mail server, they scarcely breathe a word about the Clinton Foundation and the issues of her, WJC, and the Foundation itself receiving money from groups, organizations, and countries with business before the US State Department while HRC was there.

    bfwebster (c3c3ef)

  25. Another curious thing is that while the authors speak freely and frankly about HRC’s various stupidities and dishonesties w/rt the private e-mail server, they scarcely breathe a word about the Clinton Foundation and the issues of her, WJC, and the Foundation itself receiving money from groups, organizations, and countries with business before the US State Department while HRC was there.

    Yeah, they were remarkably uncurious about that. Also, I laughed when the authors marvel about Hillary delivering a very well-informed response to a question posed during the Fox debate regarding a no-fly zone in Syria. They report that Hillary team had anticipated the question almost verbatim, without stopping to consider that as with Donna Brazille at CNN, perhaps an inside mole at Fox was providing Hillary’s team with a sneak preview of the debate questions.

    JVW (42615e)

  26. Kindle index sez:

    “Foundation” appears 22 times in “Shattered.” Further analysis (type: analog; instrument: fingers) suggests that six of those were other uses of the word, unrelated to the William J. Clinton Foundation; two were in footnotes, duplicating text entries.

    So yeah, they make a dozen and a half passing references to the WJC Foundation, and once or twice list it among “baggage” haunting her, without going into any detail. Of course there’s no candid play-for-pay details. JVW’s right about that; I’d only say “calculatedly amnesiac” rather than uncurious.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  27. I’m reading the book too and I’m just getting to the Mini-Super-Tuesday part.

    I’m finding the whole thing fascinating, particularly the “Who’s On First?” aspect of Hillary shuffling of people in and out of leadership positions.

    The mewls of state-level people complaining about the lack of a ground game and Hillary’s anger about being unable to connect with the non-college educated white people that were tilting towards Bernie are really becoming repetitive in the story.

    @Sammy – Hillary was never worried about an investigation into her email server or any of her activities as part of the Clinton Global Initiative. The authors of the book throw out “her love of money” and “her speeches to banks” in a list of her negatives in relation to why she wasn’t clicking with Bernie supporters. The impression I’m getting is that Hillary never thinks she has done something wrong. All her positives are her own, all of her negatives are the fault of her campaign staff in not getting the right message out to voters.

    Xmas (3a75bb)

  28. The other impression I’m getting from the book is that the authors were caught inside the Clinton bubble and were seeing things through the campaign’s prism. While they talked to people on the Bernie campaign staff to get their impression of events that shook the Clinton team, I haven’t seen them delve into the zeitgeist that propelled the Bernie and Trump campaigns.

    Xmas (3a75bb)

  29. 4. 14.

    I would urge everyone to read the chapter on election night which was excerpted in the New York Post a couple of weeks ago…I promise you that they do a masterful job here of describing the scene as Hillary! went from certain winner to disgraced loser

    SF: That part there’s no big reason to lie about, so they could [be] honest and tell something interesting. Or is there something to lie about there, or conceal? What about all the calculating about recounts, which no doubt happened? But the authors probably didn’t know anything about that.

    JVW (42615e) — 5/11/2017 @ 7:54 pm

    Yep, Sammy, I get the sense that after Election Night the authors no longer had the inside access to the campaign.

    I wasn’t thinking about the recount moves, led or fronted by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, that happened some time later, and the Clinton campaign’s involvement or non-involvement with that, and then the attept to get Electors to switch their votes. The book actually is forgetting about all of that. Hillary also played it very coy with these things.

    I was thinking about Election Night and the decision to concede. She didn’t concede, I think, until being pressed to conclude there was no way to win a recount.

    If it hinged on one state maybe, but they couldn’t win, or she wouldn’t have support for multiple recounts from others on the Democratic Party.

    Maybe they thought, maybe they could game one recount, they may have thought, but they were not going to be able to game several and get away with it.

    The book alludes to thinking along these lines, but you have to read very carefully to pick up on it.

    Obama was not going to support multiple recounts, and that’s why she conceded.

    When he was sure there was no path to victory, and after having conferred with the president, [White House political director David] Simas placed a call to Mook, who was in Hillary’s suite at The Peninsula. “What’s going on in your camp?” Obama’s aide asked. “I don’t think we’re going to win,” Mook replied. “I don’t think you are either,” Simas agreed. “POTUS doesn’t think it’s wise to drag this out.”

    Mook now stood between a president interested in ensuring the smooth, democratic transfer of power after Trump had complained for months that the election might be rigged and a candidate who hadn’t yet given up on the idea that Rust Belt states might flip in her direction.

    What do they mean by “flip?”

    Win a Recount!

    Hillary didn’t concede as soon as she didn’t see a path to 270 Electoral votes, but only when she gave up on the idea of winning recounts, and they might have taken longer to evaluate thst, and maybe even decided to go for recounts, if Obama hadn’t pressed her to concede. I’m sure part of the calculation was how many recounts they would have to win in order for her to become president

    Barack Obama did not want this to be anything like the election of 1876. He should be given credit for that.

    Sammy Finkelman (3bf6ea)

  30. 27. Xmas (3a75bb) — 5/12/2017 @ 6:21 am

    @Sammy – Hillary was never worried about an investigation into her email server or any of her activities as part of the Clinton Global Initiative.

    She didn’t let on, I think. That kind of thing would have been tghtly held.

    The only way she wouldn’t be worried would be if she had total control of the investigators and that was not the case. And look at Donald Trump: He’s worried about an investigation, and hes’s not even guilty of anything criminal with regard to Russia. (if he was totally unworried, he’d agree to a special prosecutor)

    Sammy Finkelman (3bf6ea)

  31. I am minded of a story that Gilbert Gottfried tells about when he was a med student, before he became a stand-up comedian.

    “It was pretty crushing, the day after this big test, that I got a fifteen percent on. They sent a counselor to explain to me that I wasn’t cut out to be a med student and I really should drop out. It was doubly painful because I had cheated my ass off to get to that fifteen percent!”

    Remember that Hillary cheated her ass off to get to those vote totals. The more the recounts, the more fraud would be discovered in places like Detroit, as the third-party recounts were to later discover. Trump was known to have legal teams in place in the various states to be ready to fight recount battles.

    Ingot (e5bf64)

  32. I think we’ve discovered by this point that just like you never talk to cops, you never appoint a special prosecutor.

    Ingot (e5bf64)


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