Reprinted from consortiumnews.com
An early insider account of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, entitled Shattered, reveals a paranoid presidential candidate who couldn't articulate why she wanted to be President and who oversaw an overconfident and dysfunctional operation that failed to project a positive message or appeal to key voting groups.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters in Phoenix, Arizona. March 21, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)
Okay, I realize that people who have been watching Rachel Maddow and other MSNBC programs -- as well as reading The New York Times and The Washington Post for the past four months -- "know" that Clinton ran a brilliant campaign that was only derailed because of "Russian meddling." But this insider account from reporters Jonathan Allen and Annie Parnes describes something else.
As The Wall Street Journal review notes, the book "narrates the petty bickering, foolish reasoning and sheer arrogance of a campaign that was never the sure thing that its leader and top staffers assumed. " Mr. Allen and Ms. Parnes stress two essential failures of the campaign, the first structural, the second political. The campaign's structure, the authors write, was an 'unholy mess, fraught with tangled lines of authority, petty jealousies, and no sense of greater purpose.'"
The book portrays Hillary Clinton as distant from her campaign staff, accessible primarily through her close aide, Huma Abedin, and thus creating warring factions within her bloated operation.
According to the Journal's review by Barton Swaim, the book's authors suggest that this chaos resulted from "the fact that Mrs. Clinton didn't know why she wanted to be president. At one point no fewer than 10 senior aides were working on her campaign announcement speech, not one had a clear understanding of why Americans should cast their vote for Mrs. Clinton and not someone else. The speech, when she finally delivered it, was a flop -- aimless, boring, devoid of much beyond bromides."
The book cites a second reason for Clinton's dismal performance -- her team's reliance on analytics rather than on reaching out to real voters and their concerns.
There is also an interesting tidbit regarding Clinton's attitude toward the privacy of her staff's emails. "After losing to Mr. Obama in the protracted 2008 primary," the Journal's review says, Clinton "was convinced that she had lost because some staffers -- she wasn't sure who -- had been disloyal. So she 'instructed a trusted aide to access the campaign's server and download the [email] messages sent and received by top staffers.'"
In other words, Clinton -- in some Nixonian fit of paranoia -- violated the privacy of her senior advisers in her own mole hunt, a revelation that reflects on her own self-described "mistake" to funnel her emails as Secretary of State through a private server rather than a government one. As the Journal's review puts it: "she didn't want anyone reading her emails the way she was reading those of her 2008 staffers."
Sen. Bernie Sanders speaking to one of his large crowds of supporters. (Photo credit: Sanders campaign)
But there is even a greater irony in this revelation because of the current complaint from Clinton and her die-hard supporters that Russia sabotaged her campaign by releasing emails via WikiLeaks from the DNC, which described how party leaders had torpedoed the campaign of Clinton's rival for the nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and other emails from her campaign chairman John Podesta, revealing the contents of Clinton's paid speeches to Wall Street banks and some pay-to-play features of the Clinton Foundation.