The first excerpts of Hillary Clinton’s new book, What Happened, reinforces her greatest weaknesses by revealing that she is either an overly-cautious and inauthentic politician who is tethered to polls and focus groups or someone who has been underserved by her advisers yet again.
What is most revealing about the book’s excerpt is that she admits that when Donald Trump was “looming behind” her during one of the presidential debates, she wanted to “ask everyone watching, ‘Well, what would you do?’”
If Clinton authentically wrote these words herself, it shows that she truly is someone who instinctively wants to do whatever a poll says is the “right thing to do”—whether it is deciding where to go on vacation or which sports team to support.
If her political inner circle urged her to write those carefully-crafted words and then suggested that be the first excerpt to be released as part of a broader public relations campaign that will again try to remake her image, it displays her team’s cluelessness about how the public perceives Clinton.
While Bill Clinton had top-tier talents like Dee Dee Myers, James Carville, and Paul Begala advising him, Hillary Clinton somehow got stuck with minor-league hacks like Mark “I didn’t think caucuses were important” Penn and Robby “Pajama Boy” Mook for her two presidential runs.
Voters view Hillary Clinton as a calculating politician who stands for nothing and will do or say anything to get elected. That’s why she has had trouble finding a coherent message or theme in both of her presidential runs.
On Wednesday, Phillippe Reines, who played Trump in Clinton’s debate-prep sessions and is one of her top advisers, appeared on MSNBC’s The Beat with Ari Melber and was asked, “in a sentence or two,” what Clinton’s 2016 message was.
“I think her message was simply that there is more work to do, that we’re on a great path, but there is much left to be done … and she knows how to get it done,” Reines rambled, apparently still confused about what the campaign’s core message was.
Not quite “Make America Great Again.”
Here’s part of Clinton’s book excerpt that she released to Morning Joe earlier this week:
‘This is not okay,’ I thought. It was the second presidential debate, and Donald Trump was looming behind me. Two days before, the world heard him brag about groping women. Now we were on a small stage, and no matter where I walked, he followed me closely, staring at me, making faces. It was incredibly uncomfortable. He was literally breathing down my neck. My skin crawled. It was one of those moments where you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching, ‘Well, what would you do?’ Do you stay calm, keep smiling, and carry on as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye, and say loudly and clearly, ‘Back up you creep. Get away from me. I know you love to intimidate women, but you can’t intimidate me. So back up.’ I chose option A. I kept my cool, aided by a lifetime of dealing with difficult men trying to throw me off. I did, however, grip the microphone extra hard. I wonder, though, whether I should have chosen option B. It certainly would have been better TV. Maybe I have overlearned the lesson of staying calm, biting my tongue, digging my fingernails into a clenched fist, smiling all the while, determined to present a composed face to the world.