There’s a lot of unintentional humor in What Happened, as Hillary Clinton cluelessly reveals that she is a foolish, deceitful, entitled, nasty woman.
I’m still slogging my way through Hillary’s turgid tome, What Happened. The more one reads it, the more one realizes how accurate the joke about the cover of her book is: What Happened [by] Hillary Rodham Clinton really is a book that has both the question and answer on the front cover.
Hillary, working hard to sell herself, comes across as just an awful woman or, on second thought, an awful simulacrum of a woman. There’s no there there. Instead, there’s a narcissist defined by her core emptiness.
Two recent reviews perfectly sum up everything that’s wrong with the book. If you ignore the usual Trump-bashing that is required from all Progressives, you cannot do better than to read this review from the Huffington Post. It is vicious and entirely on point. Also, Kyle Smith’s review perfectly articulates my thoughts as I slog my way through the book.
Given the quality reviews already out there, this post is not going to be a book review (especially because I’ve only read 30% of the book so far). Instead, I’ll share with you those passages that I found hilarious (Hillary-ous?) although Hillary did not mean them to be so. I’ll also throw in a few ironies, some sarcasm, and the occasional moment when common sense runs into Hillary’s self-serving arguments.
To begin with there’s the endless name-dropping from someone who keeps insisting that she’s just an ordinary person, completely tuned in to the lives of ordinary people around her. Here’s a representative passage, describing her idea of some R&R during the campaign:
One beautiful summer evening, Jimmy and Jane Buffett hosted a concert for us at their home in the Hamptons on Long Island. I was the first presidential candidate Jimmy ever endorsed, and he wanted to do something special for me. So he, Jon Bon Jovi, and Paul McCartney played a set in a tent full of twinkly lights, and everyone danced on the lawn under the stars. It was magical. (Clinton, Hillary Rodham. What Happened (Kindle Locations 1379-1382), Simon & Schuster edition.)
I don’t know that I’ll ever feel the same again about Jimmy Buffett. I already lost interest in Paul McCartney because of his Bush bashing.
One of the points critics have made about both Hillary and her book is that she’s the ultimate “Progressive as micromanaging expert.” There really is no big political picture. There’s just Hillary’s “I know what’s best” attitude, one that sees her following every meeting with a “regular” person by announcing that she has a new policy initiative in her bag of tricks. For example, she took on bullying:
Many kids asked what I would do about bullying, which made me want to become President even more. I had an initiative called Better Than Bullying ready to go. (What Happened (Kindle Locations 1387-1388).)
First of all, this is really not a presidential issue and a presidential candidate shouldn’t be wasting time on it. Second of all, the lack of self-awareness is hysterical. After all, this is the same First Lady described as a monster of abuse when it came to Vince Foster:
One of Hillary the Monster’s favorite targets was Vince Foster, according to Byrne, a member of the Secret Service who was stationed in the White House during the Clinton administration.
Foster was the lawyer who relocated to Washington from Arkansas after his childhood pal, Bill Clinton, was elected president.
“Word circulated that (Hillary Clinton) berated (Foster) mercilessly … I knew what it was like to be yelled at by superiors, but Mrs. Clinton never hesitated to launch a tirade,” wrote [Gary] Byrne.
Hillary also abused staff, including those who were defending her with their lives:
[Ronald] Kessler exposes Hillary as an epically abusive Arctic monster.
“When in public, Hillary smiles and acts graciously,” Kessler explains. “As soon as the cameras are gone, her angry personality, nastiness, and imperiousness become evident.”
He adds: “Hillary Clinton can make Richard Nixon look like Mahatma Gandhi.”
Former agent Jeff Crane says, “Hillary would cuss at Secret Service drivers for going over bumps.” Another former member of her detail recollects, “Hillary never talked to us . . . Most all members of first families would talk to us and smile. She never did that.”
One former Secret Service agent states, “If Hillary was walking down a hall, you were supposed to hide behind drapes used as partitions.”
Hillary one day ran into a White House electrician who was changing a light bulb in the upstairs family quarters. She screamed at him, because she had demanded that all repairs be performed while the Clintons were outside the Executive Mansion.
“She caught the guy on a ladder doing the light bulb,” says Franette McCulloch, who served at that time as assistant White House pastry chef. “He was a basket case.”
I can imagine that Hillary’s “Better Than Bullying” initiative had, as its first sentence, “Don’t be like me.”
At times, it’s staggering how disconnected Hillary is from reality. Take this sentence:
It’s the debate prep team’s job to put me through my paces so I’m not hearing anything for the first time during the actual debate. (What Happened (Kindle Locations 1457-1458).)
Really? She can really write this even though we know that Donna Brazile leaked debate questions to Hillary so that she definitely would not be “hearing anything for the first time during the actual debate”? Hillary is either senile or an unregenerate liar — take your pick.
Hillary speaks disparagingly of Trump’s debate performance:
Winning, we realized, would mean hitting hard (since he couldn’t bear it), staying cool (since he often resorted to viciousness when cornered), throwing his own words back at him (since he couldn’t stand hearing them), and making my own arguments with clarity and precision (since he couldn’t do the same for himself). (What Happened (Kindle Locations 1494-1496).)
Later on, she says that sexism played into the matter too:
You’ve got to give it to Trump—he’s hateful, but it’s hard to look away from him. He uses his size to project power: he looms over the podium, gets in interviewers’ faces, glowers, threatens to punch people. I watched a video of one of our debates with the sound off and discovered that, between his theatrical arm waving and face making and his sheer size and aggressiveness, I watched him a lot more than I watched me. I’m guessing a lot of voters did the same thing. I also suspect that if a woman was as aggressive or melodramatic as he is, she’d be laughed or booed off the stage. (What Happened (Kindle Locations 1881-1886).)
None of the above squares with an experiment showing that, when a man perfectly mimicked Hillary and a woman perfectly mimicked Trump during a debate, audiences still favored the female Trump character and disliked the male Hillary one. It’s not prep and it’s not gender and it’s not wandering around the stage. It’s that Hillary’s mannerisms and positions are inherently off-putting, whether they’re attached to a man or a woman.
Hillary really picks up steam when she gets to the “poor little female me, I lost because I’m a woman” shtick. To begin with, as noted above, Hillary’s offensive no matter her presented gender.
Moreover, Hillary’s defensive feminism is wearisome. Real women recognize two things: First, women have children and children affect our choices. For many, pregnancy itself can put a career on pause. Mostly, though, children aren’t that into feminism. They want Mommy and that reality, more than the father’s or the boss’s “male chauvinism,” will drive a woman’s career choices.
Second, while being a man comes with some built-in advantages (especially the peeing standing up part), being a man comes with some serious disadvantages too. Men die younger; men do the dirtier, more dangerous work; and men are still the ones sent into battle. Oh, and men can’t have multiple orgasms. Everything in life comes with trade-offs.
It’s true that, when Hillary was a little girl and a young women, there were genuine legal and societal barriers blocking women from taking certain jobs or engaging in certain activities. By then, thanks to the First Wave feminists, women had long had the vote, but it was the Second Wave feminists — Hillary’s generation — who got them equal pay for equal work, and equal opportunities for equal skills.
The Third Wave feminists, however, who are the ones Hillary both parrots and courts, are not so nice. They’re the shrill, man-hating women who destroy young men’s lives on college campuses, scream like pink-hatted harpies on America’s streets about the evil that is man, and have staked their flag on unfettered abortion. These are not nice people and they’re not reflecting the lives, concerns, and joys of most American women.
It’s in the above context that I found much to laugh at about Hillary’s claim that sexism jettisoned what would otherwise have been a cakewalk into the White House.
Please keep in mind Hillary’s relentless iteration during the campaign season that she was special because she was a woman. (Carly Fiorina, interestingly, was not special, but whatever….) We were told repeatedly that she would break glass ceilings, stun the world, and make an earth shattering noise because of her being female. And then Hillary writes this:
I didn’t want people to see me as the “woman candidate,” which I find limiting, but rather as the best candidate whose experience as a woman in a male-dominated culture made her sharper, tougher, and more competent. That’s a hard distinction to draw, and I wasn’t confident that I had the dexterity to pull it off. (What Happened (Kindle Locations 1564-1566).)
For once, Hillary, you are correct: You totally lacked the dexterity to pull that one off. I never believed that being a woman in a man’s world made you sharper, tougher, or more confident. I always believed that you felt you were owed the Oval Office simply because of your gender — and that’s a tough one to sell considering that you were also on the side of the whole gender fluid team. If gender is fluid, who’s to say you’re really a deserving woman in the first place?
Oh, and there’s the fact that, just a few paragraphs after disavowing the whole woman thing, Hillary had this to say — and, as she herself confesses, she really had to say it:
This has to be said: sexism and misogyny played a role in the 2016 presidential election. Exhibit A is that the flagrantly sexist candidate won. A whole lot of people listened to the tape of him bragging about sexually assaulting women, shrugged, and said, “He still gets my vote.” (What Happened (Kindle Locations 1573-1575).)
Just for the record, that’s not what I, a woman, did or said at all. I still stand behind my belief that Trump said, correctly, that if you’re blindingly wealthy or famous, women will let you get away with things. Certainly Bill Trump is living proof of that. Trump never said “I did those things;” he just said “these things happen.”
Hillary also believes that her past haunts her, not because of anything she did, but because she’s a woman:
I know some of the distrust people feel toward me is because they’ve watched as I’ve been sucked into partisan investigations over the years—Whitewater, Travelgate, emails—each one carried out at significant taxpayer expense, each amounting to exactly nothing, but all of them leaving a mark on my reputation nearly impossible to erase. But I think there’s another explanation for the skepticism I’ve faced in public life. I think it’s partly because I’m a woman. (What Happened (Kindle Locations 1672-1673).)
Hillary is always near the dead bodies, but she’s comforted by the fact that she’s never caught holding the knife or the gun. Others, however, are not so generous. They have to ask “What are the odds?”
Remember how Hillary said that she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, although his ascent to the top of Mt. Everest occurred years after she was born? I thought of that historic illiteracy when I read this stunning paragraph:
In short, it’s not customary to have women lead or even to engage in the rough-and-tumble of politics. It’s not normal—not yet. So when it happens, it often doesn’t feel quite right. (What Happened (Kindle Locations 1683-1684).)
Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Isabel Martínez de Perón, Lidia Gueiler Tejada, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Agatha Barbara, Corazon Aquino, Benazir Bhutto and all the other women who have held world leadership positions could not be reached for comment. In any event, none of them matter to Hillary. She’s the only woman who counts.
The last, funniest part of the book I’ve read so far (as I said, I’m about 30% of the way into it and that’s been a long slog) is the part in which Hillary talks about the fact that she’s the emotional heart of her marriage and her friendships. Maybe the following sentence is true, but it just made me laugh:
In my marriage, I’ve definitely been the one to perform the bulk of the emotional labor. (What Happened (Kindle Location 1858).)
The funniest thing, though, is Hillary’s description of what ties her long-standing friendship group together:
That labor extends to my friendships. In March 2017, a few of my close girlfriends came to New York for the weekend. A new friend joined us and asked, “How do you all know each other?” That led to my friends going around the table explaining in great detail how I have lovingly interfered in their lives over the years. “When I got sick, Hillary hounded me until I went to her doctor and called me immediately after for a full report.” “That’s nothing! When my little girl cut her face, Hillary insisted I get a plastic surgeon and then called back ten minutes later with the best one in Washington on the phone.” They knew me well. (What Happened (Kindle Locations 1864-1869).)
Distilled, the above paragraph says that these women have remained friends over the years because Hillary is such a wonderful human being. That’s the tie that binds.
If nothing else, Hillary’s endlessly self-serving lack of awareness goes a long way to explaining why she never connected with Americans. It’s not just that her policy proposals serve only Blue City denizens and people outside of America’s borders who desperately want to get in (some to work and some to be lilies of the field enjoying taxpayer jizya).
It’s also that she’s a really awful woman — a busy-body who assumes much, knows little, and constantly bustles around interfering and organizing in a way that aggrandizes herself and her cronies, while merely irritating and offending others. She’s a narcissistic black hole surrounded by arrogance and hubris.
The only thing I can say in Hillary’s defense is that she probably believes in her own honesty. As I’ve noted before, to a narcissist, the truth is always defined by the needs of the moment. When Hillary says something to fill a momentary need, no matter how false it actually it is, it still represents her truth.
Ultimately, What Happened establishes once and for all that Trump was right when he said of Hillary that she is a “nasty woman.” She is indeed a very nasty woman.