Hillary Clinton needs to stop making excuses and move on
Former U.S. Secretary of State and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during BookExpo 2017 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, June 1, 2017 in New York City. (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton doesn’t seem to realize that the curtain has come down on her political career. And if she isn’t careful, she’s going to turn into a modern-day Norma Desmond.
I was one of the many Americans who thought Clinton would have made a better president than Donald Trump, but we lost that election. It’s time she realized that no one is interested in hearing her excuses for why Trump is in the White House and she isn’t.
Like the protagonist in Billy Wilder’s acclaimed 1950 film, "Sunset Boulevard," Clinton is beginning to sound like the faded silent film star who lives in a fantasy world where she makes a triumphant return to the screen.
While Clinton has stopped short of saying she’d like another shot at the White House, she seems to be implying that she deserves a second chance because the universe conspired to keep her from getting the job.
For months after the stunning loss, Clinton mostly stayed out of the spotlight, opting instead to take long walks in the woods and reflect on the election that has redefined America’s mission both at home and abroad.
After a lifetime in politics, she doesn’t seem to know what to do with herself. It’s understandable that she’s trying to sort out her next step. But from what we’ve seen so far, she’s off to a bad start.
The conclusions she drew during her self-imposed solicitude are disappointing, to say the least. Nothing we have heard from Clinton thus far can be used to move us forward. Instead, she has proved that Trump isn’t the only one who’s stuck in the past.
While the rest of us are trying to come to terms with the harsh reality of this election, both Clinton and Trump seem to be trapped in campaign mode. He keeps reminding us that he won the election and that we were stupid for underestimating his political prowess. She keeps telling us how stupid everyone, except herself, is for allowing that to happen.
In a series of public appearances in recent weeks, Clinton has laid the blame for her loss everywhere except for where it belongs. The truth is that she ran a lousy, ineffective campaign that broke down in key battleground states.
While intelligence officials have confirmed that Russia meddled with the election, we don’t know what the impact was.
But according to Clinton, the Russian hacking appeared to be a "more effective theft even than Watergate."
Before that, she laid the blame on former FBI Director James Comey for announcing publicly on Oct. 28 that he might reopen the investigation into her use of a personal email server when she was secretary of state.
"If the election had been on Oct. 27, I would be your president," she told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour at a Women for Women International event in New York last month.
Clinton went on to say that she takes "absolute personal responsibility" for the loss. "I was the candidate; I was the person on the ballot," she said.
There have been few times in American history that a presidential candidate got such a head start in the campaign as Clinton did. The Democratic Party, from the beginning, had parted the political waters for her, knocking down other potential contenders who might have considered mounting a challenge.
The party essentially anointed Clinton the next president, and even worked behind the scenes to discredit Sen. Bernie Sanders, the only candidate with the guts to oppose her on the ticket.
For Clinton, this election should have been an easy win. She had the momentum of being the first woman to capture the nomination of a major political party and her opponent was a political novice who wasn’t even sure he really wanted the job.
It was Clinton herself who blew it.
In spite of the hacking and leaks, she won the popular vote by a substantial margin. She failed in the Electoral College, which indicates that her bigger problem may have been strategy.
But since we’re talking honestly now, let’s go back and look at her message. It didn’t resonate with a lot of people, even with some of those who voted for her. In some cases, a vote for Clinton amounted to choosing the lesser of two evils.
The bottom line is that she took too much for granted. She believed that blue state voters would cast their ballots for her because she was a Democrat. She believed that women would come out for her in droves because she was a woman. She believed that African-Americans would make up the slack as they have done in past presidential elections.
In placing the blame for her loss on everyone but herself, Clinton is exhibiting the trait that so many voters disliked about her in the first place — her unabashed sense of entitlement.
She truly believed that it was her turn to be president and that sensible people would vote for her because they believed it too. What she didn’t understand, in spite of devoting her adult life to politics, is that many Americans simply despise the idea of entitlement.
In this country, nobody owes anybody anything. And some of us will vote against our own best interests to prove it.