Opinion

Hillary Clinton’s alternate universe

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Hillary Clinton is out with a new book. Haven’t you heard?

Democrats certainly have. That noise you hear is the collective groan of the entire party establishment, activist base, and allied media. Hearing a bitter, vanquished candidate who doesn’t understand why she lost, nor have anything particularly insightful to say, is the last thing they want to hear.

I will admit, however, that I look at this tome, titled “What Happened,” with a fair bit of morbid curiosity. I’ve always thought Clinton was a loathsome narcissist without the ability to critically self analyze, and if ever there was a time to self analyze it would be in a book looking back at the Dumpster fire that was her campaign.

But not even my curiosity, like that of a drive-by witness to the aftermath of a car accident, could make this worth reading.

My first clue that the book would be a disaster was the marketing strategy chosen for it.
“In the past, for reasons I try to explain,” she says in the book’s introduction, “I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net. Now I’m letting my guard down.”

This statement is quintessential Clinton. Like a focus-grouped, poll tested, almost robotic statement drafted by a marketing consultant, meant to make her sound interesting, raw and unvarnished, this little teaser rings completely inauthentic, cold, hollow and premeditated.
She wasn’t actually interested in letting her guard down. Rather, this is what the handlers she pays a lot of money say the little people want to hear. She simply wanted to appear to let her guard down, to spark interest and sell books.

The actual book itself is a mix of so many things.

First and foremost were complaints about all the people, besides herself of course, that were responsible for her loss last November. James Comey. Vladimir Putin. Bernie Sanders. She even took shots at Joe Biden.

Then, there is her contempt for the peasants who didn’t dutifully do what they were bid. “On one occasion,” she began in one interesting chapter, “an older woman dragged her adult daughter by the arm to come talk to me and ordered her to apologize for not voting — which she did, head bowed in contrition. I wanted to stare right in her eyes and say, ‘You didn’t vote? How could you not vote?! You abdicated your responsibility as a citizen at the worst possible time! And you want me to make you feel better?'”

You see, to Clinton, it is those people who didn’t want to vote for her that are the problem and the reason she lost. It has nothing to do with her being the single worst presidential candidate in modern America, or her cold, uninspiring, robotic candidacy.

Then, you had some incomprehensibly bad analysis, like the time she came up with a rather interesting take on a famous classic.

“This is what happens in George Orwell’s classic novel ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four.’ … The goal is to make you question logic and reason and to sow mistrust toward exactly the people we need to rely on: our leaders, the press, experts who seek to guide public policy based on evidence, ourselves.”

It took me a minute to recover from reading that. I stared at it, reading it multiple times just to be sure. The lesson of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is to trust government leaders and the press? In what reality is that even close to the truth?
Things didn’t exactly get better from there.

At one point, things in the book get so strange that she actually starts teaching a yoga lesson. “Sit cross-legged with your left hand on your thigh and your right hand on your nose. Breathing deeply from your diaphragm, place your right thumb on your right nostril and your ring and little fingers on your left.”

The surreal experience of reading this book continued throughout. There were more than a few pathetic attempts at name-dropping to sound relevant by association. And there were so many sad attempts at blame deflection.

Ultimately, that is what this book really is. An incoherent mess, written for an audience of one: Hillary Clinton. It is her search for catharsis, and the eventuality of her need to put on paper her many grievances.

It was the scribblings of someone in deep denial, trying to convince herself over 512 pages that it was us, not her. Ironically, this showed exactly why it was her all along.

Matthew Gagnon of Yarmouth is the chief executive officer of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a free market policy think tank based in Portland. A Hampden native, he previously served as a senior strategist for the Republican Governors Association in Washington, D.C.

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