For those of you who have not read it yet, Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s doomed campaign, the story of just how Hillary Clinton lost the race in 2016, is a fascinating book, one which takes you moment by moment through the mess which became the Clinton campaign. Starting before she announced in 2015, through Election night and the aftermath. Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, both of whom are DC insiders, teach the reader everything about the inner workings of the Clinton campaign, and in great detail about how Clinton lost.
No one is spared, not Huma Abedin (Hillary’s designated pit bull either could not or would not properly filter necessary information to her boss the Inevitable President), nor Campaign Manager Robby Mook (who was insistent on using data analysis instead of traditional polling methods, thus making it impossible for the campaign to see or sense the anger which was boiling in the Republic she wished to govern), to Bill Clinton (who understood how to work an audience well but was no longer in touch with the average Democratic voter), to Hillary herself (shown to be a horrible manager of people, unable to fire incompetent staff, and who had no idea of the country she wished to govern).
However one may feel about Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders each stood for something. Instead, the Democrats nominated someone who never could articulate why she should be President.
While the book is a great read, the authors operate under two consistent and dangerous flaws. Flaws that most liberals operate under. The writers are fully convinced, and say so repeatedly, that Hillary Clinton would be great at governing if she could only get elected” and is probably “the smartest person in any room the moment she walks into it”.
Take the issue with Robby Mook and his insistence on data analysis over traditional polling. It was very obvious to anyone who lived outside of Manhattan or Washington DC that the average American was boiling mad at the Inside the Beltway Crowd. However data analysis cannot pick up on such a fact. All data analysis can do is build a projection of how the voter turnout would look. Not on what voters are thinking. Approximately a month out, Mook canceled all polling of the race, saying he did not want to spend the money on polling. The campaign had raised over 1.5 billion dollars, nearly out raising Trump 2-1, and Mook did not want to spend money on polling. If they had spent money on polling Wisconsin or Michigan or Pennsylvania in the final 2 weeks, they may have seen or heard the voter unrest and saw they were in YUGE trouble.
Instead Team Hillary blindly went along thinking all was fine. Until it wasn’t. Can you imagine this type of leadership in the White House during a crisis? Hiring and keeping around people who are unwilling to admit they have made a mistake? Clinton’s campaign was doomed from the beginning, with 20 people working on her opening speech. Normally a speech is written by the speechwriter, the candidate, and maybe one other advisor. Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau signed up to work with team Clinton, but soon got fed up and quit. Lines of authority were all entangled, so no one could make a decision.
The concept of Hilary being the “smartest person in the room” something the writers say over and over again in interviews, is laughable on its face. They talk about her being a policy wonk as though it’s the end all and be all of being President. Knowing about policy is nice and it’s helpful. But being the President is not knowing all the details of what is in a bill. It’s about understanding your country, following the Constitution, knowing what to do in critical times. Being a good manager. Knowing what to do in a time of crisis. Who to trust who not to trust. Hilary’s blind reliance on a completely incompetent Huma proves that she’s not good at governing. Hilary’s inability to fire incompetent people show she cannot manage an office, much less a bureaucracy. She did not and would not get to know the Americans she wished to govern.
Knowing policy or having a degree does not make one smart. Doesn’t matter how educated you are if you’ve been taught mush, or if you can’t learn from history, or if you are incapable of making a decision. To the contrary, it makes the person in question a fool. Let’s take this one step further. The only reason Hillary Clinton won the popular vote was that in the final days of the campaign, her team was afraid she might lose the popular vote, so they went to places like Chicago and New Orleans and California to rallies, to run up the popular vote, when they should have been fixated on Pennsylvania or Minnesota or neighboring states. Does a person spending time campaigning at a place they are already bound to win sound smart to you? Some laugh at GW Bush’s or Trump’s not having won the popular vote. But while Trump or GW may have received less than the popular vote, they received 100% of the Presidency. Something the smartest woman in the room didn’t receive. This is not a smart person. To quote Aunt Esther from Sanford and Son, Hillary Clinton is a fish eyed fool. How Clinton lost Michigan and blew the election.
The authors are partially correct – Hillary Clinton is a Shakespearian style tragic figure. A human disaster with many flaws. But we should not feel sorry for Hillary. To the contrary, the readers of Shattered and each of us should drop to our knees and thank God that Hilary was never elected President. For reasons so perfectly explained in the book.