Hillary Clinton’s book of excuses for her 2016 electoral defeat hits the shelves next week, but already several media organizations, including NBC, CNN and now Axios, too, has received an advance copy of the book that will allow the Clintons to transform Hillary’s miscalculations into a hefty pay day.
In a summary of the highlights (the book is more than 500 pages long) Axios publishes excerpts from what it believes to be the book’s most important passages. Yesterday, we noted how Clinton – as was widely expected – appeared to blame her loss on Bernie Sanders, comparing his campaign to a famous scene from the 90s comedy “There’s Something About Mary.”
That report included the following gem about how Clinton wishes she “fought back” harder against her upstart rival (apparently, colluding to rig the Democratic primary in her favor didn’t go far enough).
"Throughout the primaries, every time I wanted to hit back against Bernie's attacks, I was told to restrain myself. Noting that his plans didn't add up, that they would inevitably mean raising taxes on middle-class families, or that they were little more than a pipe dream - all of this could be used to reinforce his argument that I wasn't a true progressive. 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 straightjacket."
She takes a similar tack in the Axios excerpts. In one passage where Clinton addresses her unpopularity, she says being a “lightning rod” stems partly from the fact that she’s a woman…and not the laundry list of scandals that have plagued the Clintons over the years.
“On her likability, or lack thereof: "What makes me such a lightning rod for fury? I'm really asking. I'm at a loss... I think it's partly because I'm a woman."
Despite her promise to use the book as sort of a public apology for failing to defeat Trump, she blamed Russian interference, and specifically Russian President Vladimir Putin, claiming he held a “personal vendetta” against her and that the election interference was tantamount to a “massive covert attack,” contrary to what prosecutorial leaks have suggested.
“On Russia's interference in the election: "There's nothing I was looking forward to more than showing Putin that his efforts to influence our election and install a friendly puppet had failed. I know he must be enjoying everything that's happened instead. But he hasn't had the last laugh yet."
On Vladimir Putin: Clinton claims he carried a "personal vendetta" toward her, and held a ‘deep resentment’ against the U.S. ‘I never imagined that he would have the audacity to launch a massive covert attack against our own democracy, right under our noses - and that he'd get away with it.’”
She also criticized her former opponent for running a “reality TV show” campaign and for stoking the “anger and resentment” of millions of Americans.
Her campaign strategy vs. Trump's: "I think it's fair to say that I didn't realize how quickly the ground was shifting under all our feet. I was running a traditional presidential campaign with carefully thought-out policies and painstakingly built coalitions, while Trump was running a reality TV show that expertly and relentlessly stoked Americans' anger and resentment."
However, Clinton comes shockingly close to a mea culpa, at one point, admitting that she must bear ultimate responsibility because she was the candidate…not because she herself made numerous mistakes and errors of judgment.
“On losing the election: ‘I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made. I take responsibility for all of them. You can blame the data, blame the message, blame anything you want -- but I was the candidate. It was my campaign. Those were my decisions.’”
And about her marriage to Bill…
“On her marriage to Bill Clinton: ‘There were times that I was deeply unsure about whether our marriage could or should survive. But on those days, I asked myself the questions that mattered to me: Do I still love him? And can I still be in this marriage without becoming unrecognizable to myself - twisted by anger, resentment, or remoteness? The answers were always yes.’”
She even blames former FBI Director James Comey for her loss even though a recent leak revealed that Comey had started drafting a statement announcing Clinton’s exoneration in the investigation before he had interviewed several key figures, including Clinton herself.
“The undoing of her image: It went from a picture of steady leader to one tainted by scandal, and ‘[James] Comey's letter turned that picture upside down.’”
And, of course, she blames Obama for not doing enough to fight back against the Russians using covert operations. Specifically, she blames Obama for withholding certain information about Russian interference from the public, which he claimed to have done because he worried it’d validate Donald Trump’s claims that the election was “rigged.”
“On Obama's failure to address Russia's cyber attack: ‘I do wonder sometimes about what would have happened if President Obama had made a televised address to the nation in the fall of 2016 warning that our democracy was under attack. Maybe more Americans would have woken up to the threat in time. We'll never know.’”
She goes on to describe the last 24 hours of her campaign, and the surreal feeling of losing to Trump.
“The last 24 hours of her campaign: Clinton describes how Obama hugged her and whispered, ‘You've got this. I'm so proud of you.’”
She said her congratulatory call to Trump was bizarre and “mercifully brief.”
"Her call congratulating Trump: "[It was] without a doubt one of the strangest moments of my life... I congratulated Trump and offered to do anything I could to make sure the transition was smooth. It was all perfectly nice and weirdly ordinary, like calling a neighbor to say you can't make it to his barbecue. It was mercifully brief... I was numb. It was all so shocking."
Meanwhile, she found time to blast fellow Democrats for their post-election criticism, another way in which Clinton resists all criticism or any semblance of accepting blame.
“Critiques from party members: ‘Joe Biden said the Democratic Party in 2016 'did not talk about what it always stood for - and that was how to maintain a burgeoning middle class.' I find this fairly remarkable, considering that Joe himself campaigned for me all over the Midwest and talked plenty about the middle class.’”
Finally, she says she plans to remain in the public sphere in spite of the haters who're hoping she disappears.
"On her plan to remain in the public sphere: "There were plenty of people hoping that I, too, would just disappear. But here I am."
Her book is out Sept. 12. In the meantime, we await even more revealing leaks that speak to Clinton’s pathological inability to accept responsibility for her actions.