Politics & Policy

I Listened to Hillary Clinton’s Official Campaign Podcast So You Don’t Have To

(Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

I listened to Hillary Clinton’s official campaign podcast so you don’t have to — and believe me, you don’t have to.

The podcast, “With Her” is hosted by a “small business owner” named Max Linsky, who lets us know off the bat that he is “not a journalist” and “not impartial,” but “a huge supporter of Secretary Clinton’s” and “thrilled” about the chance to get to talk to her about how wonderful she is.

In the first episode, Mr. Linsky spends the first 9 million minutes or so playing coy with Hillary about how if she wants to back out from doing the podcast, she will have to do it before they really get going.

“The last opportunity?” Secretary Clinton asks coyly. “I can’t do it, like, midway through?”

“Nope, you can’t bail after this,” he replies.” This is the moment, are we doing it, or are we not doing it?”

Clinton eventually replies that she’s down, and then they both giggle wildly, because apparently something is funny.

I mean, perhaps it was nervous laughter. After all, I could see why Hillary Clinton would be nervous about it. The podcast came out on August 12 — the same week that e-mail releases were suggesting that Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills and the Clinton Foundation had the kind relationship that any reasonable person would consider to be wildly inappropriate. I mean, I know Linsky said he was a supporter, but that was pretty damning stuff. What would that first question be?

“There was a moment a couple of weeks ago that I feel like I need to ask you about,” Linsky leans.

(Yikes! What could it be? Was it the Cheryl Mills scandal? Her campaign’s embarrassing response to the allegations?)

Nope. This:

And it was right after Chelsea introduced you after the convention, and you came out, and you guys hugged, and you said a couple of words to each other, and then there was this moment that I was watching on my couch like millions of other people, where you sort of took a step back and closed your eyes and seemed to take a breath and I wondered then and wonder now what was going through your mind.

Oh. Yes, of course, the more important thing: What Hillary Clinton was thinking about when she closed her eyes or whatever. That is, no doubt, what “millions” of voters are worried about. I’m really glad that this guy is asking the questions that matter.

(In case you care — and I certainly don’t, so feel free to skim over this part — what she was thinking about was the “rush of emotion” she was feeling at that time.)

Then, Linsky moves on to another important point: What a typical day is like for Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail.

“I heard a rumor that you don’t use an alarm clock,” Linsky says.

“No that’s not true,” Clinton replies. “That is not true, that is another one of those rumors that people spread,” she adds, before they laugh wildly.

(Ah yes, all the things you hear about Hillary are just “rumors.” The Clinton Foundation scandal, the e-mail scandal, alarm-clock-gate . . . they’re all kind of the same thing.)

This alarm-clock conversation goes on for awhile. A-whiiiiiiile. They discuss her alarm ringtone choice, the fact that that particular ringtone is the same one that Linsky’s son seems to enjoy playing with as soon as he gets ahold of Linsky’s phone (OMG TWINSIES) etc.

Clinton then goes on to discuss her to-do list, which she describes as being “such a long to-do list” that it’s “really depressing.” Because, apparently, she maybe thought that running for the office of the most powerful person in the world was supposed to be some kind of part-time cakewalk that left plenty of time for revelry and relaxation.

(There is one particularly funny moment where, when she’s describing her morning routine, she says “I check my . . . e-mails . . . ” and really does give a sort of awkward pause before using the word “e-mails” before she remembers she pretty much only does interviews with avowed superfans who would never even bring up the fact that “e-mails” is kind of a buzzword for her in this campaign before comfortably continuing.)

#share#After the 9-million-minute discussion into the nuances of her alarm-clock situation, Linsky inquires as to how Clinton could possibly be such a superwoman. Clinton explains that she is “pretty lucky” to “have a lot of stamina” and that she always tries to “eat right” (adding that she’s “not always succeeding,” because it’s important to her that we know that SOMETIMES SHE EATS FRIES JUST LIKE US LOL) and tries to “get exercise” (adding, “I’m not going to pretend that I like it because I don’t” because it’s important to her that we know SHE DOESN’T LOVE TO EXERCISE, EITHER, JUST LIKE WE DON’T LOVE TO EXERCISE. LOL, AMIRITE?)

Then, the discussion moves to Hillary Clinton’s recent visit to the (plug to the little people ahead!) “small business” 3 Daughters Brewery in St. Petersburg, Fla., and how much Secretary Clinton just really, really loves meeting with the little people and how it’s “one of the best parts of being in a campaign” and how “it’s what a lot of times gets [her] up in the morning” and how “it gives [her] a sense of optimism,” making sure, of course, to use the word “optimism” to draw a contrast between herself and that no-good, mean-ole, naysaying, doomsdaying ogre Donald Trump. (Read: This article about how much Hillary Clinton hates having to take selfies with people.)

Clinton does make sure to clarify, however, that she doesn’t always feel optimistic, and that sometimes, she gets “upset, and even angry . . . ”

“Like today, here in Miami, I’m going to a health clinic where they are treating people for Zika and . . . it just infuriates me that we can’t get the Congress, predominantly the Republicans, to agree to do what needs to be done to try to prevent this.”

Yes, that’s right — the Republicans. See, the Zika virus is still a problem because of the Republicans. Didn’t you know? They’re all super pro-Zika. They love it! Ugh . . . disgusting!

“I mean what is hard about trying to get rid of mosquitoes, and test people, and protect pregnant women and their babies?” she continues. “What is hard about that?”

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(If you asked scientists “what is hard about that,” they might offer some stuff like, oh, the fact that diagnosis is “slow and costly,” that Zika-carrying mosquitoes are becoming increasingly resistant to pesticides, that it’s impossible to exterminate them all, that trying to do so can make the remaining ones stronger and pesticide-resistant, or that a vaccine could take longer than five years to develop . . . but I’m sure none of those hack explanations are really the problem. No, it’s definitely the Republicans who are really at fault here. Damn them!)

Now that Clinton and Linsky have effectively established the Republicans as being the source of all the world’s evil and disease, Linsky moves on to gush about how amazing it is that Clinton has managed to be, like, so “present” during their interview, which she explains is actually a skill that comes so naturally to her that she doesn’t have to even try.

“I have never thought consciously about learning it, I’ve always believed that life is a gift, and it could be a fleeting gift, you never know, and therefore, doing the best you can every day, which is kind of a hackneyed, cliched thing to say, but I think it’s a great way to live,” she says.

How touching.

Then, finally — finally — Hillary Clinton answers a question about what she’s going to have for dinner tonight:

“We’re in Miami, we could get good Cuban food [SHOUTOUT TO HISPANICS] and we’ve done that a few times few times flying out of Miami [DID YOU GET THAT? SHOUTOUT TO HISPANICS!] so maybe that’s what is going to be waiting for me. And then, of course, we have cases of Three Daughters beer that we picked up [DID YOU HEAR THAT KIDS? I PARTY!]

Linsky ends the interview by asking what Hillary Clinton’s final thoughts will be before she falls asleep, to which she replies — you guessed it! — her grandchildren, which Linksy says “sounds about right.”

Um. No, it doesn’t. We don’t always think about only the most noble and important of things before we fall asleep — especially not if we have just gorged ourselves on Cuban sandwiches and beer and are no doubt bloated as hell. In fact, I consider myself to be a pretty good person, and there are plenty of people and things that I care about, but I’m pretty sure the only thing I’d be able to think in that situation would be “I feel terrible, why did i just stuff all of that into my body?”

In short: The whole interview was a barf-worthy, pandering gush-fest. I can’t say I’m surprised. In fact, reminded me heavily of that (equally barf-worthy) hour-long interview that Hillary Clinton did on Lifetime, during which she discussed mostly date nights with Bill and girls’ nights with her ladies.

#related#To be fair, I get that this podcast wasn’t supposed to be hard-hitting. We knew going in that the interviewer was “not impartial,” and I realize that there’s nothing really wrong with doing intentionally promotional media as a candidate. But that’s not really the point. The point is that that kind of media seems to be, consistently, the only kind of press coverage that Secretary Clinton seems to be willing to accept on a regular basis. She’s talking to Lifetime, she’s got this podcast with some dude who loves her more than I’ve ever loved anyone, and meanwhile, has no problem going more than 260 days without holding a single press conference where she might have had to answer a single tough question.

Still, wanting to be fair, I decided to give the podcast another chance and listen to the second episode . . . which opens with Hillary Clinton saying she’s too busy to make it, and Mr. Linsky explaining that he will instead interview her running-mate Tim Kaine. Once I hear the conversation turn to how, like, hard it is that they’ve had to do so much work and so much traveling, and Tim “Mr. Cool” Kaine is cracking open a “local” — got that, little people? LOCAL — beer to drink during the interview, however, I had to turn it off. Feel free to listen for yourself, if you must . . . but I wouldn’t recommend it.

(Note: The podcast I reviewed was only about 16 minutes long. All references to “9 million minutes” have been converted into what-it-actually-feels-like-to-listen-to-complete-drivel time.)


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