Sunday, October 1, 2017

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Part Of The Synopsis From Dust Jacket: 

For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Now free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference, and an opponent who broke all the rules.  

Fair warning, a little of my political side comes out in this "review".

Frankly, I don't know how to objectively review this book. Even if I could somehow manage to be objective, how do you "review" a first person narrative of an election that is still tearing our country apart? I voted for Sec. Clinton in both the Democratic primary, and in the general election. What's more, I would do it again with a joyous heart.  But right now, my heart is broken by the wasted opportunity this country had to be lead by someone of her caliber. Instead, we have a man in the White House who is currently blaming hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico for their own suffering, while he's playing golf. He's poking at the leader of North Korea, his Justice Department is now saying it's okay for employers to fire you for being gay, and Dreamers are just months away from being deported. I told you I couldn't be objective about this.

In What Happened, Sec. Clinton is pretty frank in how she sees the mistakes she made, the fake email controversy and Director Comey's role, divisions on the left, and Russian interference combined into a perfect storm she just couldn't figure out how to navigate. This could be my own biases showing, but I think she's right. Throughout the book, Sec. Clinton lays out her case and does it without whining.  She accepts blame when she should, but doesn't hold back in holding others accountable when it's appropriate to do so.

Sen. Sanders used right wing propaganda to weaken her with his supporters. He painted a corrupt narrative of her that some voters, primarily younger who didn't really know her, bought into. They didn't understand the primary process, couldn't believe she was beating him in the primary, so they bought into this whole notion of the primary being stolen. The fact that it was the same primary system that allowed then Sen. Obama to beat her, was immaterial to their anger. They labeled her corrupt, badgered her supporters online, and a few in WI, PA, and MI threw hissy fits and either didn't vote, or voted for Dr. Stein, who has her own ties to Russia.

The letter Comey wrote to Congress days before the election truly was the final nail in the coffin. She is right when she says the momentum was on her side, but that the letter stopped it cold. It was an unprecedented act of interference in our election system by the FBI. His whole manner was suspect, from his initial statement to that final letter, he behaved in a most unseemly  manner.

The scope of Russian interference is staggering. Giving the Trump campaign opposition research, hacking the email systems of the DNC and John Podesta including the planting of fake emails, creating fake news stories, orchestrating anti immigrant rallies on US soil, taking out political ads on social media, employing thousand of social media trolls, stirring up racial tensions online, and only they know what else they did. The investigation is for from over, but what's already known should chill the blood of every American.

If you couldn't tell by my tone, I'm still a little bitter about the election. I wish I could find the grace and humor that Sec. Clinton shows in this book. Her pain and disappointment are on full display, but so is her warmth and compassion for those she feels she let down. This is a deeply personal memoir, and if it hurt for me to read it, I can't imagine how it felt for her to write it.

It's obviously a book by someone who is never going to run for office again, it's far too candid for that. And that's what hurt the most. Granted I've admired her for years, but seeing this openness from her cements the idea that regardless of how or why it happened, the missed opportunities that were only possible with her in office are a national disgrace.


bermudaonion said...

Our country definitely screwed up with that election although my husband truly believes there was a lot of tampering during the election process and 45 wasn't really elected. That election should be a wake up call to get rid of the Electoral College.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I knew it would be hard for her to get the presidency but I did think she had a chance. She was fought on every level for years before she ran the first time. You knew she made the opposition scared. Made me pay attention to her. :) You aren't the only one bitter about the election. I'll stop here before I spew profanities on your blog. :) You did make me curious about this book.

TracyK said...

Very interesting and thoughtful review, Ryan. Glad to see your opinions on it because I wondered whether I would want to read it or not. I was very sad when she lost.

Man of la Book said...

Sounds like an interesting book. To be honest I have had no desire to read it though.