A conservative media critic can wonder if part of Hillary’s book deal includes requirements for the “objective” media to employ the improbable word “candor” to describe her books, despite the fact that her lack of candor defines her career and her last campaign.
But there was Tuesday’s review of her book What Happened in The New York Times under the headline “Defiance, Dark Humor, and Candor: Hillary Clinton gives her account of the 2016 election.” Reviewer Jennifer Senior began with breezy sarcasm: “Hillary Clinton has written a book. Have you heard?”
In her previous books, Senior wrote, “she measured her words with teaspoons and then sprayed them with disinfectant.” But this “is worth reading....it seems to have put 2,864,974 extra cracks in Clinton’s reserve.” (Get it? The popular vote margin? Ha. Ha.) Democrats want her to go away, but Senior argued for this book: “something truly extraordinary happened in American politics last year, and Clinton was at the center of it. Fifty years from now, are historians going to complain that she had no business offering her perspective?” As if she hasn’t offered it outside the book over the last ten months?
It also seems required for a Hillary book reviewer to sympathize with her victimhood at the hands of inscrutable haters:
The best, most poignant parts of What Happened reveal the Hillary Clinton that her inner circle has assured us was lurking beneath the surface all along: A woman who’s arch but sensitive. She writes that she’s astonished whenever someone else is astonished to discover she’s human. “For the record,” she writes, “it hurts to be torn apart.” It stung when schoolmates in junior high teased her about “the lack of ankles on my sturdy legs.” It stung when they teased her about her glasses, too. She doesn’t even bother describing her reaction to the ticker of contumely that’s whirred above her head for most of her adult life, though she does write about how “incredibly uncomfortable” it was to be stalked on stage by Trump during the second presidential debate.
It's 2017. Hillary's almost 70. Isn't it a bit late to beg for sympathy for junior-high slights from the Fifties?
In the midst of all this self-pity, Senior fails to acknowledge that Hillary and her campaign (and her sympathetic press cohort) rarely failed to malign Donald Trump and the Republicans as stupid, as racist, as corrupt, as haters of the poor and despoilers of the planet, and even -- despite the Clinton record -- as sexual predators, or enablers of sexual predation. They spewed their own vitriol throughout their adult lives.
In his larger overview of presidential-loser memoirs in the Times, Jon Meacham uncorked another Hillary exercise in self-pity, as Hillary aligned herself once again with Eleanor Roosevelt:
“I’d been thinking about Eleanor a lot lately,” Clinton writes. “She put up with so much vitriol, and she did it with grace and strength. People criticized her voice and appearance, the money she made speaking and writing, and her advocacy for women’s rights, civil rights, and human rights. An overzealous director of the F.B.I. put together a three-thousand-page file on her. One vituperative national columnist called her ‘impudent, presumptuous and conspiratorial,’ and said that ‘her withdrawal from public life at this time would be a fine public service.’” Clinton then adds, as if anyone could miss the point: “Sound familiar?”
After all, these women saw themselves as brainy socialist idealists who were misunderstood by many -- including their cheating husbands.
Senior bizarrely concludes that somehow it's "the first time" Hillary hasn't "suppressed her irritation" at critics. Because calling out a "vast-right wing conspiracy" was holding it all in? Senior even suggests it's worth reading how Hillary was failed by the "mainstream media" including the Times:
Love it or loathe it, chafe at it or cheer it; you will now see, for the first time, what it looks like when Clinton doesn’t spend all of her energy suppressing her irritation. Former FBI director Comey gets it on the chin; so does the mainstream media, this newspaper very much included. She’s got a special rucksack of descriptors for Trump (“hateful,” “a fraud”), whom she says is pulverizing democratic norms into a paste. “He doesn’t just like Putin,” she writes. “He seems to want to be like Putin, a white authoritarian leader who could put down dissenters, repress minorities, disenfranchise voters, weaken the press, and amass untold billions for himself. He dreams of Moscow on the Potomac.”
When angry conservatives in the Nineties implied the Clintons dreamed of Moscow on the Potomac, they were assaulted as "unusually virulent" by the liberal media. But when the Clintons say it, it's refreshing "defiance" and "candor."
PS: In May, Senior wrote one of two negative reviews of Ivanka Trump's latest book for the Times, joking that Ivanka's brand of feminism drives women bananas, focusing "less to do with structural change than individual fulfillment and accessorizing properly."