It’s so difficult to think of a single good thing that could come from Hillary Clinton’s What Happened book tour that it’s almost as if she’s more concerned about her own desperate quest for vindication than about the Democratic party itself.
The book doesn’t come out until Tuesday, but preview quotes suggest that it’s going to be a lot more of her dwelling on the past — with a particular focus on how other people messed things up, including some of the people in her own party. For example, there’s this quote about her primary opponent, Bernie Sanders: “His attacks caused lasting damage, making it harder to unify progressives in the general election and paving the way for Trump’s ‘Crooked Hillary’ campaign.”
Now, not only is this statement the perfect example of the kind of self-indulgent dead-horse-beating that’s got everyone sick of hearing from her, but it’s also hilariously hypocritical. Think about it: Hillary Clinton is accusing Bernie Sanders of tearing apart the party by criticizing her during the primary — which, by the way, is a normal thing for an opponent to do when he’s trying to win an election — while she’s continuing to criticize him when there’s nothing left to be won.
If Sanders’s comments really upset Clinton because she thought they damaged party unity, then she wouldn’t be going out of her way to continue the fight long after it was over. Ironically enough, Bernie is the one who has continued to demonstrate his commitment to the progressive platform over personal pettiness. Bernie had much more of a right to be miffed by his loss in the primary than Hillary did by hers in the general — what with the DNC basically rigging the primary in her favor — and yet, the moment he lost, he immediately encouraged his supporters to exit primary mode and support her.
But Hillary Clinton isn’t upset for the party — she’s upset for herself, and that couldn’t be more transparent. In fact, elsewhere in the book, Clinton even blames President Obama for not allowing her to hit Bernie harder, saying: “Every time I wanted to hit back against Bernie’s attacks, I was told to restrain myself. My team kept reminding me that we didn’t want to alienate Bernie’s supporters. President Obama urged me to grit my teeth and lay off Bernie as much as I could. I felt like I was in a straitjacket.”
Newsflash, Hillary: You cannot believe that Bernie’s attacks on you were wrong because they were too harsh, and that President Obama was wrong for discouraging you from doing the same thing. You cannot believe that intra-party attacks are despicable because of the “lasting damage” that they cause, and go on a tour where you’re launching those kinds of attacks yourself. All of those things can’t be true at once, which leads to only one explanation: Your statements are motivated not by genuine belief, but by the selfish urge to present as many excuses as you can to absolve yourself of any blame for your embarrassing defeat.
Now, I do understand that such a shocking, humiliating loss must be difficult to process. But if Clinton really cared about her party, then she’d find a means of catharsis other than a publicly damaging Tour of Petty that threatens to drag Democrats down even further. Her self-serving hypocrisy is clear to anyone who’s watching, and the fact that she lacks the self-awareness to see it is so Hillary it hurts.
– Katherine Timpf is a National Review Online reporter.