An elegy for Hillary Clinton

 Former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to the GirlsBuildLA Leadership Summit in Los Angeles on Dec. 15, 2017. Clinton is expressing regret about allowing a senior campaign adviser to keep his job after another worker complained in 2007 that he had behaved inappropriately. (Reed Saxon/AP)

Former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to the GirlsBuildLA Leadership Summit in Los Angeles on Dec. 15, 2017. Clinton is expressing regret about allowing a senior campaign adviser to keep his job after another worker complained in 2007 that he had behaved inappropriately. (Reed Saxon/AP)

Hillary Clinton told Stephen Colbert while writing her newest book “What Happened,” she planned to figure out why she lost the United States presidential election in 2016. The one person who did Hillary Clinton the most damage during the campaign season was, of course, Hillary Clinton. She has acknowledged this fact, and claims to “take absolute personal responsibility” for the defeat. But she also blamed her loss on Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, James Comey, Jill Stein, Russia, and white women. She has not figured out what component of her public image was most harmful. The prime suspect should be obvious.

Hillary has always been haunted by the Hillary of five years or ten years ago. The most recent demonstration of this truth would be the report from The New York Times which alleged that Clinton helped cover up a subordinate’s sexual improprieties. A Democratic aide named Burns Strider worked for Clinton as a “faith adviser” and was accused of sexual harassment by a campaign worker. Clinton’s campaign manager and national director of operations recommended that she fire Strider, but she overruled them. Then, in 2016, she fired him from her second presidential campaign due to a second set of allegations.

On Twitter, she addressed the report from The New York Times by saying “I was dismayed when it occurred, but was heartened the young woman came forward, was heard, and had her concerns taken seriously and addressed. I called her today to tell her how proud I am of her and to make sure she knows what all women should: we deserve to be heard.” It is bold of Clinton to appropriate feminist lingo like “women deserve to be heard” in response to a report that she protected a sexual harasser. Bill Clinton’s reputation in liberal news outlets has tanked as of late because liberal writers are finally declaring that they believe Juanita Broaddrick, who has claimed for decades that she was raped in 1978 by a gubernatorial candidate who was elected president fourteen years later. As much as she would like to, Hillary Clinton cannot live up to the standards of the #MeToo era.

This is a reality which should not be surprising. Hillary Clinton’s problem has always been the irreconcilable contradiction between her past and present selves. She lied about her record on the war in Iraq, and had to justify her support for NAFTA and a ban on gay marriage. She lied about fleeing from sniper fire as First Lady on a trip to Bosnia. She and her husband tried in 2008 to discredit Barack Obama by comparing him to Jesse Jackson, Mohammed Ali, and Lewis Farrakhan. She lost to Barack Obama in 2008 and Donald Trump in 2016 for a multitude of reasons. One of those reasons has to be that her training as a politician took place in a White House that had to prop itself up on a pile of lies, among them the lie that the president “did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”

In a 1998 interview on The Today Show, Matt Lauer asked First Lady Hillary Clinton, “If an American president had an adulterous liaison in The White House and lied to cover it up, should the American people ask for his resignation?” She answered, “If all that were proven true, I think that would be a very serious offense. That is not going to be proven true.” Clinton turned out to be wrong in her belief that no one could prove her husband had sex with Lewinsky, just as she was wrong when she thought the public would never find out about her protecting a sexual harasser from repercussions for his actions. Hillary Clinton probably would have been a better president than her opponent, but no one can be faulted for not wanting someone as prone to dissembling hypocrisy as Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office.


Alex Klein is a staff columnist for the Daily Campus and can be reached via email at alex.klein@uconn.edu.