Tuesday, January 3, 2017

"Hillary Clinton will beat him"

     I've pretty much tuned out the second-guessing and Monday morning quarterbacking on why Hillary Clinton lost. Stabbed in the back by the FBI? Too wooden and a woman? The world turning on expertise in a populist rebellion of the feeling against the thinking? 
     Doesn't matter. The American people threw in their lot with a fraud, and now we have to face the consequences. We're on to the next crisis. 
   Although.... When clearing the decks over New Year's, I was going over some old recordings on my Olympus, and came across Nancy Pelosi's Oct. 7 visit to the Sun-Times.  The minority leader reflected utter certainty about Clinton.
   "Hillary will win," she said. "The question is, will the American people win in the embrace of the future in a bi-partisan way."
     The column I wrote at the time focused on why Clinton's possible election wasn't more of a milestone—the true answer turned out to be "because she wasn't going to win." Pelosi focused on Obama already "kicking the door open" for other marginalized minorities to flock in (women are not, technically, a minority—actually they're in the majority, barely. But heavy on the marginalized). 
    She flatly stated Clinton's certain victory several times, the only question being how big her win is and whether she takes one or both houses of Congress with her. That wasn't the world I was seeing, and even though I saw my role at the meeting was to keep my mouth shut and fill out the room, eventually I had to call her on it. This part I didn't print at the time but, with all this post-morteming of What Went Wrong, seems worth sharing.
    "You're certain Trump is here today, gone tomorrow," I said. "But people were certain that Britain would reject Brexit. If you look at the world, there is a right wing  xenophobic surge: Dutarte in the Philippines. People are electing madmen. If the unthinkable happens, what would a Donald Trump presidency mean for the this country?"
    "It's not going to happen," Pelosi replied. 
     "So it's impossible?" I pressed.
     She scoffed at me. 
     "I could do brain surgery on you in the next half hour.," she said, groping for other examples of things that were ludicrous yet possible. "But it's not going to happen."
      "They were neck-and-neck before the debate two weeks ago," I continued. 
     This is why I don't write politics. It's hard to have one foot in the real world and one foot in the political. They tend to drift apart and drop you in the water. 
    "You know what—what does 'neck and neck mean?'" Pelosi said, launching into a little lesson on political wisdom for the benefit of this dolt spouting nonsense. "Let's talk baseball. This is not how many home runs you score in the series, it's how you do in each game. This is how you do in each state, and Hillary Clinton will beat him in enough states in order to win. At the end of the day she will also win the popular vote. Why? I have confidence in the American people. They may want to send a message. They might be sick and tired of Washington -- and by the way, they have been sick and tired of Washington forever."
     Here she laughed.
     "This is not anything new."
     There you have it. "This is not anything new," is the reason Hillary Clinton lost. Because we were so obviously into something new, where the old verities no longer mattered. Clinton was playing the old game when the new roles had already fallen into place. Thus she could be tarred with the most amorphous scandal — something about her emails being not to State Department guidelines, laughably trivial non-issue, had it happened previously. While Trump committed gaffe after horrendous gaffe—again, on the old standard—from dissing American POWs to boasting about grabbing pussy. Jarring missteps that would be unbelievable in a Christopher Buckley novel. Didn't matter. The public flocked to him. Not a majority, but just enough. 
    Although Pelosi was right about one thing. Clinton did win the popular vote, for all the good it did. 
     The lesson here: if you want to win, run like you're losing. Especially if you think you're winning. The election is past, but it's also a good life strategy. Sometimes friends will accuse me of not being sufficiently satisfied with whatever career I've managed to mound up,  and I'll try to explain I'm not humble, God knows; I'm trying not to be smug, not to stand top my little pile of crumbs and pretend it is the mountaintop. 
    Clinton didn't feel the panic that she was losing to this fraud who would lead the nation over a cliff. Or if she felt it, she didn't show it, which was a big mistake. 


  1. Replies
    1. "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

  2. If Carla Fiorina or another female was the Republican candidate against a male Democrat, then the Republicans would go for the female. I don't think it's about Hillary being a woman as much as what points she dwelled upon or her history, as it was perceived.

  3. Pelosi should have been removed and replaced in her leadership role, by other Dems, when the chance came up after the election. Fresh faces are needed in the party.....The DNC needs a clean sweep as well.

  4. A bit hard on Pelosi. Exuding confidence at a time when all the eminent pollsters were saying Hillary had an 89 percent chance of winning can't be considered a gross misjudgment. I suppose she should have been more cautious, although then she would be then be branded as just another wishy washy politician.

    "For all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, 'It might have been.'"

    Tom Evans

  5. And to be honest I don't think that more than a handful of Democrats realized just how brutally effective the (perfectly legal, just like the Fugitive Slave Act) voter suppression efforts in GOP-controlled states would be.

    1. i don't think its only the republicans that are guilty of voter suppression. the republicans are just more blatant about it.
      the democrats do it with madison avenue.

    2. Apparently Madison Avenue didn't come through this time. Maybe we needed a jingle or a snappy slogan.


    3. Sadly, "Madison Avenue" can't do things like close voting stations, demand difficult to get ID, or change voting requirements on the fly. The press did a good job of depressing turnout by reporting on the ongoing snipe(mail) hunt, but that just knocked Ms. Clinton's national vote margin down to +2% ; the targeted voter suppression that sprang up as soon as the Supreme Court gave their OK stripped away votes was far more effective, as you can see in Wisconsin, Michigan, and NC (where the GOP was actually boasting about it in public.)

      I'm not sure that you can honestly argue that the press was biased towards HRC, either, but even if it was it didn't have the weight of the law behind it.

  6. As far as I can tell, America was just in the mood for an entertainer in the White House. After Ronald Reagan, Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger, it was only a matter of time.

    Also, let's not forget that Trump's election was a complete fluke. He got just enough voters in just the right states to eke out a victory despite losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million--an outrage.

    Bitter Scribe

  7. There was a great article in the USA today describing how she lost the vote. Tried looking for it but can't find it now. One of the things was she did not visit Wisconsin or some of the key states she lost. I described it this way to a friend who unbelievably is a Trump voter. I thought she and her campaign played it like a prevent defense in football. It only prevents you from winning the game. I don't think she was pro active enough. She certainly made mistakes by saying she wanted to put coal miners out of work. Of course a majority already were. She called half of Trumps supporters deplorable. No doubt many were especially those of the alt right

  8. Just about anyone else probably would've beaten Trump including Saunders. Many Trump voters didn't vote for the Donald as much as they voted against Clinton.
    They didn't vote for him because of what he said but in spite of what he said.

    1. Why don't we leave opining confidently about matter which, in reality, you haven't a clue, to the other team, eh? You have absolutely no idea how Sanders would have done, and it would be more reality-based to assume he'd have his head handed to him. Remember, Clinton crushed him.

  9. I think Pelosi was affected by a simple, unfounded, optimism. A faith in the American people, a high compliment - a belief that there can't possibly be that many idiots and bigots among us. She should have known better, I guess, but I felt that way,too. Lesson learned.

  10. As much as I liked Sanders, he wouldn't have one. He'd be labeled Communist or portrayed as some dangerous Bolshevik. I try to remind a conservative person I know that in Canada and western Euro, Aussie, etc. they live quite free under Dem. socialism without insurance worries.

    FME you are delusional.

  11. Tsk. Given Neil's incisiveness, I'm aghast at the profuse obtuseness as response, or at least the eager raising of axes to grind, or clung-to personal readings that so miss the central point -- that is made plain. For instance, that dismissive cynicism that allowed Pelosi to cackle, that was not "strength" or confidence, but hubris; to dismiss the discontent of so many with "This is not anything new." I really just don't understand all the ...sympathetic excuse making and alternative speculation. The defense. Perhaps I should get out more, IDK. For now, I wanted to at least say Hi, I've read your work and my reading comprehension is decent? Complete & Utter Failure, btw was a profoundly entertaining read, light without being heavy, and just vastly enjoyable. As in depression-combattingly good. Thank you.

    1. oops -- and this is why editors exist! I meant the opposite of trivial without being being heavy. But instead typed some kind of tautology, sorry. That book was wonderful.

    2. Thanks. It's nice to have a book remembered after ... 22 years.

    3. Well, better late than never? Not that I had to disturb any cobwebs at our local library to get it. We -- my husband & I -- are going to give copies to friends, because it's really just that delicious. Ahead of its time, given all the popularized overviews/histories and inter-disciplinary curios (Barmaid's Brain, Botany of Desire, Freakonomics, History of Ugliness) that've come along after. But the real pleasure is in the treatment:it is so neatly understated throughout. It's rare that I've ever been moved to read anything aloud, but several passages were worthy, and that's after reserving the best, of course, for the future reader.
      (Thank you too for the bibliography.)
      Cannot wait to read more / keep 'em coming, please.

    4. Well, there are seven more. The one closest in the vein of Failure is "Alphabet of Modern Annoyances." It'll cost you a penny on Amazon. Though Failure is a better book.

    5. I'm amazed you were able to complete one by that name, with this always value-added array of proactive progress... that distracts from all that doesn't change. I'm an unfan of Amazon's employment practices, so I'll visit ye ol'local bookseller or hit up the acquisitions dept at the library. And success with the most recent! I have a loved one I hope to someday be able to give that title to, who has Crohn's and should've stopped already. Thanks again!

  12. Pelosi, like the rest of the Clinton campaign and campaign managers, got arrogant.


Comments are vetted and posted at the discretion of the proprietor.