“Why Won’t She Behave?”: The Demand for Hillary Clinton to Apologize
Susan Bordo
20363

You can indulge in all the eyewash you wish, the fact remains that Clinton was a horrible, horrible candidate. She was horrible in 2016. She’d been horrible in 2008. Even back then she was an anachronism; when the last cycle rolled around, she was representative of a tired, rotten way of doing business voters thought they’d finally rejected nearly a decade earlier. Clinton is an unprincipled triangulator who absolutely oozed insincerity and whose instincts, in a liberal party, are rightist, someone who will temporarily take any position she thinks will carry her to victory then slink away to perform donor service when there’s no longer a campaign in front of her. She was a weak candidate from the beginning, with more people telling pollsters they disliked than liked her from the very week she announced (numbers that had been in decline for years and that continued to decline throughout the campaign). Facing an energizing hope-for-change opponent, she spent the entire primary season trying to murder that hope with diminished expectations and defeatism, telling Democrats the policies they wanted were impossible. While her opponent ran a principled issues campaign free of personal attacks, she and her press surrogates went out of her way to slander and smear him at every opportunity and, more importantly, to alienate his supporters, a practice she continued even after she’d won the nomination and there was no longer any conceivable point in doing so. Displaying an ugly sense of entitlement that permeated nearly everything she did, she declared she wouldn’t make any concessions to get progressive votes — she was the winner! Over the furious objections of the Berniecrats, she picked as her running mate a man who was essentially a Republican and had, among other things, an anti-abortion record. She spent much of the general continuing to thumb her nose at the Democratic base, implementing a strategy aimed at recruiting Republican voters.

Clinton was a third-rate, bought-and-paid-for Establishment hack who aggressively prostituted her future administration to anyone who would drop a few hundred-thousand dollars in her cup. She had no vision to offer, nothing to inspire. Her de facto campaign slogan was “I suck less than he does,” while her surrogates ludicrously asserted that this was the “most qualified” person ever to run for president, a line that embodied that same ugly sense of entitlement. The latter was there in the official slogan as well: “I’m with her.” Voters sizing up a potential political prospect want to know if she’s with them.

Now, Clinton and her surrogates are offering their assessments of what went wrong and it was Russians, it was email scandal, it was Comey, it was gerrymandering, it was Sanders and his supporters, it was everyone in the world except Hillary Clinton. Except the major impact the alleged Russian meddling had on the campaign was in the release of the Podesta emails through Wikileaks and all of the damage that caused was a consequence of the fact that those disclosures proved the DNC and Clinton campaign had been conspiring to screw over Sanders during the primaries. If they hadn’t been doing this, there would have been no story there. Gerrymandering doesn’t affect a presidential contest at all. Clinton’s State Dept. emails continued to be a story for as long as it did because Clinton insisted on lying about them. And lying about them. And lying about them. The truth had to be pried out of her an inch at a time. And while Comey behaved in an entirely inappropriate manner (one that should have resulted in his being fired), the only reason he was able to do so was because Clinton was under FBI investigation and the only reason it could have so much of an impact is because Clinton was so unappealing that she was in a dead heat with a half-wit protofascist clown. Put the microscope to all of the excuses Clinton and the Clintonites make for her loss and at the center of all of them is Clinton herself.

Clinton ran a presidential campaign that will go down in history alongside John McCain’s 2008 debacle as one of the all-time worst and lost to the most unpopular major-party presidential candidate in the history of polling — a candidate her campaign, in another example of its fine decision-making, had promoted. Now, she refuses to take any substantial adult responsibility for what happened and then clowns like you come in behind her and apologize for her. This bullshit looks to pick at and infect the wound from last year at a time when it was substantially healing. An apology would be the right thing to do, so there’s probably no chance she’ll ever do that. But it’s also the least she could do. If she had an ounce of human decency, she would just shut the fuck up and go away.