T.A. Frank Wants Hillary Clinton To Go Quietly Into The Night

There is considerable political polarization in this country, but there is one thing which many on the left and right can agree on–it is time for the Clinton’s to go away. Since running one of the most mismanaged political campaigns in history, burdened by an extraordinarily terrible candidate (herself), and losing to a candidate as terrible as Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton has been spending her time an an excuse tour to blame everyone except herself for her loss.

Clinton’s apology tour is harmful for at least three reasons. It leaves Democratic partisans in denial as to why they really lost, preventing necessary reforms in the party, has Democrats defending many of Clinton’s disastrous policies out of party loyalty, and inflames anti-Russian hysteria.

T.A. Frank asks the key question: Can Hillary Clinton Please Go Quietly Into The Night? Some excerpts:

There’s a fine line—or maybe not even so fine a line—between boosting morale and monopolizing the spotlight. One reason Bill Clinton was able to make a name for himself decades ago was that previous candidates had the grace to get out of the way. Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis weren’t trying to place themselves at center stage during the campaign of 1992. The Clintons, by contrast, kept sticking around. When it comes to power, and a few other things, they can’t control their urges. As a friend of mine recently wrote to me in an e-mail, “They both had to be president?”

Even the name of Clinton’s PAC has a presumptuous ring to it. When someone has driven a bus off the road and hurled passengers out of their seats, it’s a bad time for the driver to stagger back to the wheel and call out “Onward together!” Onward, fine. Together, maybe not.

All of this would be easier to take if Hillary were on a crusade for a distinctive cause, in the manner of Bernie Sanders or Pat Buchanan or Jesse Jackson or Ross Perot. But when she offers her take on the world, she speaks in clichés and vague generalities like “progress” versus “turning back the clock.” Such teleological smugness (to which Barack Obama was likewise prone) doesn’t just attract the ire of conservatives; liberals can get miffed, too. Is “progress” on the side of expanding NATO or the opposite? Is it on the side of greater National Security Agency surveillance or of less? Is it in favor of immigration amnesty or high-tech border security? We all want to move forward, but maybe we’re not all facing Hillary’s way.

Even without a clear cause to illuminate them, Hillary’s beliefs could have been sharpened a lot just by explaining what, in hindsight, she felt Bill got right or wrong in his presidency. But she never offered up such a critique, nor, oddly, did anyone really press her to do so. Throwing open our markets to China as much as we did—that looked wiser back then. So did deregulating the financial industry. So did pushing for three-strikes laws. So did the bailout of Mexico. So did focusing on deficit reduction. So did high levels of immigration. So did humanitarian interventions in the former Yugoslavia. So did welfare reform. Bill’s calls, like all big calls, were controversial, but they were far more justifiable in light of the data we had at the time. But what about with the data we have now?

Negotiating a different landscape requires the Democratic Party to return to some basic questions. Times have changed. America is no longer a lone hyperpower triumphing amid squabbles about same-sex marriage. We’re an overstretched empire fighting about fundamental questions of economy and national identity. The Clintons see that, sort of, but they’re stuck in time. Worse, their network, which is vast and powerful and heavily dependent on them, is stuck in time, too. Precisely when those on the left ought to be negotiating today’s fault lines and creating new coalitions, Democrats are getting dragged back into last year’s fights and letting personal loyalties drown out thoughts about core principles. The indefatigability of the Clintons isn’t just a nuisance but a hindrance.

We can’t expect them to accept this, of course. Psychologist Martin Seligman, author of Learned Optimism, has famously observed that optimists tend to do better in life but exhibit more delusion. They tend to attribute failure to changing external factors rather than enduring internal qualities, blaming outside causes, not themselves. Hillary—who has been pinning her defeat on Comey and Vladimir Putin and the Democratic National Committee and Wikileaks and “a thousand Russian agents” and high expectations and the press and sexism and voter suppression and, for all I know, static cling—is a major optimist. That’s great for persistence and mental well-being. She’s ready to keep driving the bus. But it’s not so great for knowing when to quit. That’s where the passengers come in.

The Clintons were already too conservative for the era in which Bill was elected. By 2016, with the Republican Party being taken over by Trumpism, Hillary Clinton had become ideologically the conventional Republican candidate, supporting the neoconservative views of the Bush era. Hillary Clinton is totally out of place in the 21st century–too conservative for liberals who back principle over party but, having the Clinton name, will never be accepted by Republicans either.


  1. 1
    Ivory Bill Woodpecker says:

    Ascended Madoka forbid that anyone besides Hillary and her staff should be held responsible for the atrocity of November 2016.

    After all, if the Corporate Media and the Horseshoe Left were ever to admit the possibility that dirty tricks by the GOP–and/or Mommie Dearest Russia–might have stolen the presidential election of November 2016, why then the CM and the HL might then find themselves obliged to admit their roles as "useful idiots", in unwitting service to the thieves.

    That unwitting quality of their service to the thieves–which means their service to foreign despot Vladimir Satanovich Putin–is the only thing which makes them idiots instead of traitors.

    The GOP serves its wealthy masters–the Koch Brothers, Adelson, Mercer, and their ilk. Just as in WW2, many of these fat cats are traitors, who want the other side to win, because they think they can pick up the pieces, and become absolute owners and rulers of the defeated USA which remains. 

    I used to consider myself a man of the Left, but this past year, I finally noticed how the Far Left and the Far Right in the contemporary USA tend to believe the same conspiracy theories and hate, or at least oppose, the same people.

    Again, the Horseshoe Theory applies.


  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    As I’ve discussed in several previous posts, the claims from the Clinton camp to blame others do no hold up. Shattered further exposed the fact that Clinton latched onto these excuses as a strategy in the first twenty-four hours after her loss to place the blame on others. Even if Russia was responsible for the email hacks, which has not been definitively proven, the exposed factual information about Clinton’s dishonesty and the dishonesty of the DNC in rigging the nomination for Clinton.

    Your theory of the far left and far right is seriously flawed. You miss the point that Hillary Clinton is essentially a candidate of the far right even if the Republicans won’t accept her due to her name, party affiliation, and (inconsistent) support for reproductive rights.

    Of course you certainly are not a man of the left if you support Clinton.

  3. 3
    Ivory Bill Woodpecker says:

    Mr. Chusid, if you are a typical representative of the modern USAmerican Left, then I rejoice in not belonging to your ranks.

    Enjoy the Tangerine Caligula you played your small role in giving us.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    I had absolutely nothing to do with Trump. The blame falls on unprincipled Democrats who allowed a candidate as terrible as Clinton to be the nominee. I had been warning for months before the nomination that Clinton would have a very difficult time winning the general election.

  5. 5
    paintedjaguar says:

    I see you've acquired another troll. From history at other sites I suspect this one is making a living off it.

  6. 6
    Ivory Bill Woodpecker says:

    "I see you've acquired another troll. From history at other sites I suspect this one is making a living off it."

    I wish. From PJ's mouth to the ears of the Ascended Madoka.

    Only, whom does PJ think would pay me? Tsar Vlad wants the GOP running this country (into the ground, if not off a cliff).

  7. 7
    Ron Chusid says:

    I would be quite surprised if anyone was paying you. There are countless establishment Democrats who are quite willing to parrot the Clinton line for free. I think it is safe to say that if paintedjaguar was right, he was referring to payment from the Clinton camp, not Russia.

    On the other hand, if we wanted to fantasize, it appears that Putin’s goal is far more to undermine western Democracy and the legitimacy of elections than to promote one political party, and it is conceivable that they could be paying trolls on both sides to create chaos. On the other hand, that would be a waste of money considering the vast amount of noise on line regardless of whether there are paid trolls.

  8. 8
    SocraticGadfly says:

    Ivory Bill, I've voted Green for Prez every election this century. Despite what ppl like you think, that has NEVER "really" been a vote for a Republican.  The idea that Putin wanted Trump is questionable at best. Clinton's stability would have its own positive recommendation. 

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