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Great Moments in Self-Refutation


There’s a lot to discuss in Rebecca Traister’s brilliantly written Clinton postmortem, but let’s start with the farce:

Clinton and her team understand that she will be excoriated for whatever she writes. “There’s never going to be enough self-blame for the people who demand it,” says Schwerin of the book. The appetite for the abasement of Hillary Clinton has long been insatiable. Over the course of 25 years, stories about whether Clinton should apologize, about how she apologized, or about her unwillingness to apologize — for everything from dissing Tammy Wynette to voting for the Iraq War — have been frequent and fetishistic. In November, Clinton became the first person to lose a presidential race to say “I’m sorry” for the loss in her concession speech. A press release for a new collection of her emails and speeches to Goldman Sachs, entitled How I Lost and with a foreword by Julian Assange, reads as an apology from Clinton for being “incapable of beating even a sexist dumbass,” as if sexist dumbasses were easy to defeat in America.

Here’s the quickie exploitation in question, which, wow:

  • We have a “book” annotating Clinton’s anodyne speeches and EMAILS!, being blurbed by two of America’s most prominent socialist intellectuals, with the theory that Americans pay too little attention to the characteristics of individual candidates and should ignore things like “pernicious Russian leaks, unwarranted FBI investigations and a skewed electoral college.” Whatever this is, it’s not in any meaningful sense a “left” analysis — it owes rather more to Halperin and Dowd than Marx and Engels. (The left should ignore the anti-democratic design and effect of the Electoral College?  Are you shitting me?) This playing and/or being dumb about legislative and electoral politics has become depressingly common.
  • Equally remarkable, it advances the thesis — again, purportedly from a perspective that is most certainly leftier than thou! — that in the United States of America it’s highly unusual for a “sexist dumbass” to get a position over a more competent woman, and if it happens it must be the latter’s fault.
  • And to back up these utterly preposterous positions, the author enlists…Julian Assange, a pro-Trump libertarian whose ratfucking materially impacted the election* and who is currently residing in the Ecuadorian embassy in London because he refused to face credible sexual assault  accusations in Sweden. This is almost sublimely clueless.

*Whatever one wants to say about the candidate or her campaign, I guarantee that Clinton’s analysis of the effect Assange had on the campaign is more astute than anything in this “book”:

Piecing together what happened, with six months of perspective, Clinton says she thinks she “underestimated WikiLeaks and the impact that had, because I thought it was so silly.” Those hacked emails, dripped out over weeks, says Clinton, “were innocuous, boring, inconsequential. And each one was played like it was some breathless flash. And so you got Trump, in the last month of the campaign, talking about WikiLeaks something like 164 times; you’ve got all his minions out there, you’ve got the right-wing media just blowing it up. You’ve got Google searches off the charts.”

Clinton has been looking at where some of the Google searches for WikiLeaks were coming from. “They were from a lot of places where people were trying to make up their minds,” she says. “Like, ‘Oh my God, I kinda like her, I don’t like him, but she might go to jail. And then what about all this other stuff?’ It was just such a dump of cognitive dissonance …” Clinton trails off and then smiles and nods to herself. “I have a lot of sympathy for voters in a lot of places I didn’t win,” she says. “Because I can see how hard it was.”

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