Katy Burns: What really happened

  • Hillary Clinton speaks at a fundraiser for the Elijah Cummings Youth Program in Israel in Baltimore on June 5. AP

Monitor columnist
Published: 9/10/2017 12:25:12 AM

You knew – if you were among the majority who did not vote for Donald Trump – that his presidency would be bad. But you never thought it would be this bad.

We all knew then, based on the record of his entire adult life, that he is a compulsive liar, a bully and a conscienceless opportunist who lacked even the most rudimentary knowledge of the basics of government. Oh, and a misogynist who bragged about groping women.

Now we also know that Trump has the self-control of a 2-year-old, can take three different sides of an issue in as many days and has no interest – not a scintilla – in learning even how this government he runs works.

He’s curdling international alliances of long duration, alienating and terrifying most of this country’s staunchest allies, and he has to salve his massive insecurities with adulatory rallies of his most fawning followers.

While Trump dominates daily headlines and countless hours of cable TV news with his outlandish behavior and statements, he lets his Cabinet and sub-Cabinet appointees happily dismantle as much of the government as they can.

Most disgracefully, he also shows no qualms about making the presidency, with its perks, power and prerogatives, just another profit center for the Trump family enterprises.

George Washington, a rich man who risked both his fortune and his life for this country, must be spinning in his grave.

And a fawning Republican congress, determined to put their precious “agenda” above everything else, including the better good of this country, won’t stop him.

How could things get worse?

Funny you should ask. Because along comes Hillary Clinton, the woman who lost last year’s election. And I use that description advisedly, since Trump won the election – and he did win it, and he is president for at least three more years – only because of our unique (and screwy) electoral college system. He lost the popular vote by 3 million votes.

But last May, ominously, Clinton kicked off a PAC – “Onward Together” – already sending out email blasts. Now she’s out with a new book, What Happened. And – in interviews – she’s refusing to rule out a run in 2020.


According to pre-publication disclosures of the book’s contents, she accepts the blame for the campaign’s failure.

“I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made. I take responsibility for all of them,” she wrote.

But in the body of the book Clinton apparently makes no bones about what really caused her cataclysmic loss.

It was the rascally Russians – who, to be sure, were far more active and destructive than anyone realized at the time. It was dastardly ex-FBI Director James Comey and his extraordinary focus on her emails.

It was Bernie Sanders, who wasn’t really even a Democrat and resorted to “innuendo and impugning my character.”

It was even President Barack Obama, who advised her to stop focusing on Sanders and who (she says with the benefit of hindsight) should have done more – maybe delivered a national speech – to spotlight the Russian menace.

And perhaps more than anything else, it was the news media with their unhealthy fixation on her marriage, her health and her emails.

Oh? What about her completely self-inflicted wounds? Such as her continued practice of accepting great sums of money for speeches – including to such special interests as Wall Street bankers – when her presidential campaign was all but official? For heaven’s sake, the Clintons are already rich! Why did they need more?

It was, she says, “bad optics.” Talk about a serious error in judgment and a continuing tone-deafness, an unwavering belief in their own rectitude, that seems to be a weird Clinton trait!

And was it yet more “bad optics” when Bill Clinton took it upon himself to waltz across the tarmac at an Arizona airport and invite himself onto the plane of Attorney General Loretta Lynch at the height of an FBI investigation of Hillary’s emails?

And what about the Clinton Foundation, an organization that accomplishes much philanthropic good in the world? Couldn’t Bill and company have stopped pursuing foreign donors when his wife’s campaign was imminent?

And especially what about that private server and those emails: Her decision to use the system, she says, was “dumb.” Well, beyond a doubt it was – but even dumber and far more damaging was her insisting, for weeks, on laughing the whole matter off, saying that it was no big deal and doling out details in agonizingly slow dribs and drabs instead of immediately confronting the mess forthrightly up front.

A vast number of Americans are no more technologically savvy than the two major candidates, Trump and Clinton. They didn’t understand the whole private server thing, but it sounded really bad, and that was what counted – something the Clinton campaign never did grasp.

Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election because basically she was a bad candidate – one who, with the aid of her husband and much of the Democratic hierarchy that has been in thrall to the Clintons since 1992 – managed to dominate the nominating process and the money and thus squelch the chances of any formidable opponent emerging. She also lost in 2008 because she was a bad candidate.

I was one of millions who voted willingly – even proudly – for Hillary Clinton in the last election. I think that, despite her deficiencies as a candidate, she would have been a decent, even good president. And, yes, I loved the idea of a president who was of my gender.

But she lost to the worst possible candidate, and the country is suffering from it.

Somehow both Clintons got it into their heads – perhaps even before 1992 – that they are somehow destined to rule, and God help anyone who stood in their way. Or question their essential superiority. In a nation of some 325 million people that was – and is – breathtakingly arrogant.

I hope Hillary sells a lot of What Happened – apparently she spends some time settling scores, and score-settling can be a lot of guilty fun to read – and donates the proceeds to worthwhile causes.

And then – I know I am not alone in this – I pray she just shuts up. And goes away.

(“Monitor” columnist Katy Burns lives in Bow.)

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