Press: Hillary's doomed bid

Press: Hillary's doomed bid
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On Oct. 12, 1979, a few days before he was scheduled to announce his plans to challenge Jimmy Carter in the 1980 Democratic primary, Sen. Ted Kennedy (Mass.) sat down with CBS correspondent Roger Mudd. To break the ice, Mudd opened with a softball question: “Why do you want to be president?”

And Kennedy, who’d been prepping to run for president for over a decade, ever since the assassinations of his brothers John and Robert Kennedy, miffed it. He rambled on and on for three minutes, unable to give a concise answer of why he was running.

Nobody ever asked Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIntel Dem decries White House 'gag order' after Bannon testimony 'Total free-for-all' as Bannon clashes with Intel members Mellman: On Political Authenticity (Part 2) MORE that question so directly, but if they had— as brutally laid out in “Shattered,” the excellent campaign account just published by Sidewire’s Jonathan Allen and The Hill’s Amie Parnes — they would have received the same non-answer.

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After interviewing scores of Clinton campaign insiders, Parnes and Allen conclude: “Hillary didn’t have a vision to articulate. And no one else could give one to her.” Even as she prepared to announce her run for president on June 13, 2015, Clinton still struggled with the question of whether she was running for Obama’s third term, Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonTrump’s first year in office was the year of the woman Can a president be impeached for non-criminal conduct? Dems search for winning playbook MORE’s third term, or her own first term.

As portrayed by the two veteran political journalists, the Clinton campaign was doomed from the start — with no clear mission, no set strategy and a top-heavy campaign structure unable or unwilling to adjust to new developments. Clinton succeeded in winning back African-American and Latino voters who deserted her for Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaMcCarthy: ‘No deadline on DACA’ Democrats will need to explain if they shut government down over illegal immigration Trump’s first year in office was the year of the woman MORE in 2008, for example, while alienating the white working-class Americans who were the base of her support in 2008. And even when Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersMellman: On Political Authenticity (Part 2) Former Sanders campaign manager: Don't expect email list to be shared with DNC Adult film star: Trump and Stormy Daniels invited me to 'hang out' MORE (I-Vt.) started stealing that white vote, her campaign made no change in strategy to win them back.

In many ways, the campaign was also jinxed. Every time it looked like things were breaking their way, another disaster happened. Most famously, on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, 17 intelligence agencies announced their conclusion that Russia was trying to influence the outcome of the election to help Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDems flip Wisconsin state Senate seat Sessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants GOP rep: 'Sheet metal and garbage' everywhere in Haiti MORE. That news alone might have won the election for her. But, within an hour, the Russian bombshell was overshadowed both by discovery of the crude “Access Hollywood” tape and release of the first emails stolen by hackers from the account of her campaign chairman, John Podesta. Reversals of fortune happened so often that the campaign adopted the refrain: “We’re not allowed to have nice things.”

There were, in fact, several external factors that contributed significantly to Clinton’s stunning defeat, most notably: Russian interference; James Comey’s public scolding of Hillary and re-opening of the email investigation; Bernie Sanders’s surprising success; and the failure of the media to take Donald Trump seriously and subject him to scrutiny.

But, in the end, there’s no one to blame for her loss other than her inept campaign and the candidate herself. It was Hillary Clinton who decided to set up a private email server and give paid speeches to Goldman Sachs. And it was she who so lost touch of political reality that she lamented to aide Minyon Moore in the middle of the primary: “I don’t understand what’s happening with the country.”

“Shattered” is a Shakespearean tragedy about how the dream unraveled for a woman who should be president of the United States today, and why she’s not. Read it and weep.

 

Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of “Buyer’s Remorse: How Obama Let Progressives Down.” The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.