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The Clinton 2016 campaign: “a lunatic bureaucracy” that devoured itself

by | Apr 21, 2017

By Dave Andrusko

Okay, I promise this third post on the newly released tell-all book, Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign, will be the last until I actually have a chance to read Jonathan Allen’s and Amie Parnes’ 480-page tomb (I mean tome). I find the reviews fascinating, both because many of the reviewers are hard-core Democrats and because I have followed the Clintons, Bill and Hillary, since 1990. They have been a constant of our nation’s politics, like a migraine headache.

Writing in Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi wishes to make Hillary Clinton’s disastrous why-is-nobody-getting-how-wonderful-I-am presidential campaign as a signifier of something larger: an estrangement, a radical disconnect, if you will, between the political establishment and voters outside the Beltway.

I’ll leave it to deeper thinkers to ponder the truth of that generalization. What Taibbi’s 1,529-word-long review emphasizes is the fault that ran underneath the rationale for her candidacy: she had none. She was running for President (a second time) because….?

Indeed, inside the campaign it became a kind of parlor joke among staff but became such an obvious crippling source of weakness that “Clinton staffers began toying with the idea of seeing how ‘Because it’s her turn’ might fly as a public rallying cry.” Yikes. It’s “her turn”?!

Let me make just two points. Secrecy and mistrust are as natural to Hillary as gab and glad-handing are to Bill. And because she trusted so very few people, Mrs. Clinton made the kind of unforced errors you’d expect from someone running for president of the student council.

Moreover almost everything she did in the 2016 campaign was seen through the grid of her 2008 failure to win her party’s presidential nomination. But because she fundamentally misunderstood why Barack Obama prevailed, she made stupendously stupid strategic and tactical mistakes. Here’s just one example from Taibbi.

In May 2015 Clinton’s communications director asked her who she wanted to conduct her first major TV interview (this was when the email scandal was heating up). It got back (through another source) “Brianna.”

The communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, thought they meant CNN’s Brianna Keilar, and worked to set up the interview, which aired in July.

Turned out (in Taibbi’s words) that, “Unfortunately, Keilar was not particularly gentle in her conduct of the interview.” What had gone wrong? (Everybody thought the interview was a disaster.) She’d gotten the kind of softball interviewer Clinton wanted, right?

Actually, no!

It turns out now it was all a mistake. Hillary had not wanted Brianna Keilar as an interviewer, but Bianna Golodryga of Yahoo! News, an excellent interviewer in her own right, but also one who happens to be the spouse of longtime Clinton administration aide Peter Orszag.

The excerpts that have appeared thus far and the analyses of that awful mess have strongly suggested (to paraphrase the late Jimmy Breslin) it was “The Campaign that couldn’t shoot straight.”

Taibbi loathes President Trump, so he concludes that if it weren’t for Trump, “Shattered would be an awesome comedy, like a Kafka novel – a lunatic bureaucracy devouring itself.”

But there was no “lunacy” involved, other than the insanity that Hillary should be President just because it was “her turn.”

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Categories: Hillary Clinton