Politics & Policy

Even Some Democrats Learn That Hillary’s Political Sting Is Poisonous

Hillary Clinton delivers her concession speech in New York City, November 9, 2016. (Reuters photo: Carlos Barria)
Unlike previous presidential losers, Hillary Clinton hasn’t gone into quiet retirement.

Her “point-fingers-at-everyone” book What Happened is on bestseller lists. She’s halfway through her 16-city international lecture tour, in which front-row tickets go for nearly $600 a pop. The media is largely giving her a pass on the Trump-Steele-dossier and Uranium One scandals, both of which she dismisses as “baloney.” Although she claims her days of running for office are over, some of her close friends say she hopes for a comeback.

That’s precisely what many Democrats are privately horrified over. They know she was a terrible candidate who now refuses to acknowledge, much less learn from, her mistakes. For nearly a year, she has more or less forced Democrats to parrot her campaign’s denials that it paid for the largely discredited anti-Trump dossier compiled by ex–British spy Christopher Steele.

According to former FBI director James Comey, much of the information in the dossier was “salacious and unverified,” although he’s failed to explain why his FBI underlings were then prepared to pay its author for more Trump dirt. When their cover was blown, they apparently decided it was a bad idea to pay Steele. In the end, Team Hillary bought anti-Trump dirt from Kremlin intelligence sources. Vanity Fair reported in April this year that Steele had written in memos to Fusion GPS, the dirt-digging firm that hired him at the behest of Team Hillary, that two of his key sources for the dossier were “a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure” and “a former top level intelligence officer still active in the Kremlin.”

If that’s not collusion with Russia, it’s certainly bone-headed stupidity that opened Team Hillary and the candidate herself to potential blackmail. Doug Schoen, a former political adviser to both Bill and Hillary Clinton, wrote in the New York Post last week about the many payments the DNC and the Clintons made to Steele, through the law firm they hired, Perkins Coie: “With more than 380 payments from the Clinton campaign and the DNC being made to Perkins Coie, it is seemingly impossible that the candidate herself would not have direct knowledge of the purpose of those payments or any earmarks being made, especially those for Fusion GPS.”

So it appears that after the election, Team Hillary, in full knowledge of its own compromised position when it came to possible Russian collusion, decided to muddy the waters by projecting the collusion theory onto the Trump campaign. In their book Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign, journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes report:

Within 24 hours of her concession speech, [campaign chair John Podesta and manager Robby Mook] assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.

The level of Hillary-connected cynicism is so high that some liberals are finally bailing. Some are even speaking out. Columnist Matthew Walther wrote in the liberal magazine The Week that it’s time for Hillary to go home. He finds her current “grievance tour” full of bizarre formulations:

Clinton still isn’t accepting “the legitimacy of the election,” as she put it. And why should she . . . Why, if you believe that miscellaneous “Russians” — at one point she referred to a generic character named “Igor,” which is funny if your level of engagement with Russian culture does not extend far beyond Rocky and Bullwinkle horizons — bought Twitter ads in the hope of targeting 60- and 70-something union retirees in Macomb County, Michigan, would you not think you really won?

Anthony Bourdain, the anti-Trump host of a popular travel and cooking show on CNN, is disgusted with Hillary for a different reason. He’s profoundly disappointed with Hillary Clinton’s “meh” response to the dozens of sexual-harassment charges leveled against her longtime supporter, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. She waited five days to comment on him, and then, when asked whether she’d give back the money Weinstein had donated to her over the years, she vaguely replied, “I give 10 perecnt of my income to charity every year. This will be part of that.” Bourdain said that her offhand response was “shameful in its deflection and its disingenuousness.”

“Know what Hillary Clinton is NOT? She’s not stupid. Or unsophisticated about the world. The Weinstein stories had been out there for years,” the celebrity chef tweeted. “Mindless Hillary hate aside, this was a terrible response to questions about a ‘friend’ who’s been tormenting women for decades.”

For a growing number of Democrats who used to admire Hillary, it’s Hillary herself who is now a scorpion in American politics.

The Hillary partisans still surrounding the former first lady immediately lashed out at Bourdain for his candor. Brian Fallon, Hillary’s former campaign spokesman, took a direct shot at the chef: “Eat a scorpion or something,” he tweeted. What Fallon apparently doesn’t realize is that for a growing number of Democrats who used to admire Hillary, it’s Hillary herself who is now a scorpion in American politics. Her sting is poisoning the chances for Democrats to mount their own comeback as a party.

READ MORE:

A Bi-Partisan Dossier of Collusion

The Russia Dossier Story: A Perfect Storm

The Clintons Are Just Not That into You

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