The Least Authentic Politician of Our Time

Right From the Start

I was just gobsmacked, wiped out.”

Former Democrat Presidential Nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton

Shortly after I returned to Oregon to become the state vice president for the telephone company (lo those many years ago) we won a significant legal victory in the state district court. I had absolutely nothing to do with it given that the case began and was fully submitted prior to my return. At the next officers meeting of the company, the chief executive officer (CEO) congratulated me on the win. I demurred noting I had nothing to do with the matter except be there to receive the result. The CEO told me to accept the congratulations because had it gone the other way I would have been assigned the blame. It is what is known as “positional responsibility.”

All of which is an odd transition to the Democrat’s bad penny* – Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Ms. Clinton is out pitching her new book “What Happened” – her version of the reasons for her dramatic and unexpected loss to President Donald Trump. It is the latest in a series of planned and scripted events designed to blame everyone but herself for her stunning loss.

According to Slate reporter Daniel Politi:

”The former candidate said she was ‘gobsmacked’ by her loss to Trump. ‘I went, into a frenzy of closet cleaning, and long walks in the woods, playing with my dogs, and, as I write—yoga, alternate nostril breathing, which I highly recommend, tryin’ to calm myself down. And—you know, my share of Chardonnay. It was a very hard transition. I really struggled,’ she said. ‘I couldn’t feel; I couldn’t think. I was just gobsmacked, wiped out.’”

And she was scripted and rehearsed for that response to CBS’ Jane Pauley – a long time friend and admirer of Ms. Clinton and thus a safe and compliant interviewer.  Scripted and rehearsed right down to the use of the term “gobsmacked.” Gobsmacked is a slang term that originated in England and has found little use in America. It is a term not common in Ms. Clinton’s lexicon but one finding increased use among the Ivy League elites including speechwriters for Ms. Clinton. Gobsmacked may be a clever phrase but it is not Ms. Clinton’s phrase and her use of it reinforces for all that she is less than genuine.

Gregg Jarret of FoxNews has accumulated a list of twenty-six persons and/or events to which Ms. Clinton has assigned blame for her loss – none of them include herself. The list does include the traditional Democrat bugaboos – racism, misogyny, sexism – as well as all of the current themes – the Russians, former FBI Director James Comey, the media, former Democrat presidential opponent Bernie Sanders, the Democrat Party, Mr. Trump, and on and on and on. The only two things missing from the list appear to be former President Barack Obama and Muslims.

Republicans have provided their own lists. Most of these lists center around Ms. Clinton’s corruption (Whitewater, futures trading, the private email accounts and servers used for State Department business, the missing 30,000 emails, the Clinton Foundation, pay to play allegations, lying, stonewalling, Benghazi, etc.). Some note her lack of accomplishments despite the heady positions she has held. And still some others refer to a list of campaign mistakes centering on where she did or did not spend her time and campaign funds.

Yes, Ms. Clinton has accepted nominal responsibility for her defeat. An acceptance that is then followed by the enumeration of all those people and factors she actually blames. In an address to the Code Conference in California in May, Ms. Clinton stated:

“I take responsibility for every decision I made, but that’s not why I lost.”

She then went on to list media bias, slanted coverage about her emails, and Russia as being among the real reasons for her loss. In this and other “admissions” Ms. Clinton clearly accepts “positional responsibility” while rejecting personal responsibility. She acknowledges “responsibility” simply because things happened while she was the candidate, but rejects personal responsibility that she was the cause of any of those things.

But all of these miss the mark. Ms. Clinton is easily the least authentic person to ever reach national prominence. In the last twenty years there has not been a public moment for Ms. Clinton that was not tested, scripted, choreographed, and rehearsed. Not just what she says but her movements, her facial expressions and even her regional dialect and slang.

But the American people, despite Ms. Clinton’s disdain for Middle America, are perceptive. A classic moment for Ms. Clinton occurred during the primary season in a restaurant in Iowa where Ms. Clinton stood off to the side of the crowd that gathered ignoring them one and all until the camera lights came on and she donned her smile, her hearty laugh, and “locked-in” gaze with each person to whom she spoke. And when the camera lights went off, Ms. Clinton was once again detached and remote.

The last authentic moment for Ms. Clinton was the fit of rage she disgorged on election eve. Alone with her family and senior campaign staff, Ms. Clinton awaited the inevitable confirmation of her inevitable election to be the next President of the United States. When she lost Florida and North Carolina and her “firewall” states (Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania) began to crumble her anticipated elation gave way to rage. She cursed, threw objects, assaulted John Podesta and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, railed about the unfairness of it all, and cursed any and all who failed to deliver her victory. It was a genuine emotion – a particularly ugly emotion, but genuine nonetheless.

What made it even worse for Ms. Clinton is that because of a collaborative relationship with the mainstream press Ms. Clinton got away with this scripted persona. Only those in the media predisposed to play “softball” with her (even to the point of sharing the questions to be asked before hand) were permitted interviews. In live appearances should someone deviated from the norm of adulation, Ms. Clinton donned a grimaced smile, provided a flip answer and walked away from the microphones. (Remember Ms. Clinton’s first response about her use of a private email account and the destruction of emails – they were about yoga classes and her daughters wedding – and her quick exit from the microphones when more difficult questions were asked.)

But the American public was never fooled. We have all encountered phonies in our lives and it generally takes less than a millisecond to recognize them. And our reaction to them is pretty common – we don’t trust them, we try to avoid them, and we never willingly invite them.

Ms. Clinton is not alone as a well-rehearsed politician but she is so much so one that she has become a caricature. She earned the defeat she suffered. And she has earned the infamy of her moniker “Crooked Hillary” forever.

Say what you might about President Trump. Love him or hate him. In the end most breathe a sigh of relief, “At least he’s not Hillary.”

* “A person or thing which is unpleasant, disreputable, or otherwise unwanted, especially one which repeatedly appears at inopportune times.” Wiktionary.