[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, email@example.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.