If you have been paying attention to the news recently, wedged in between the coverage of Hurricane Irma, the surprising budget deal between President Trump and Democrats and the Steve Bannon interview, the coverage of Hillary Clinton’s new book, What Happened has incited a flurry of pedantic criticism.
What seems to be at issue more than anything, is the 2016 Democratic nominee’s temerity in writing a book about the election. Election books are common. Books written by politicians even more so. I’ve read many of them. Some are riveting. Some aren’t. But never have a I been reading or contemplating buying a political book and thought to myself “This person shouldn’t be speaking about this.”
But apparently that all changes when there’s a woman at the top of a major party ticket. I understand that Hillary Clinton is deeply unpopular with many people and better writers that I have spent much ink as to why that is. But that is not the issue now. There is a substantive critique of Clinton and her campaign, but constantly telling her to be quiet is not the answer.
Do we truly think that a book by Romney or McCain would have received this much mainstream criticism just because they published the book? Or had the shoe been on the other foot in this election and President Obama had lost would we have decried his book? The answer seems highly unlikely.
Hillary Clinton’s unpopularity is inescapably tied to her status as a powerful woman. Traits we would have gladly ignored in a male politician are scarlet letters for Clinton. She’s ambitious and unashamedly so. And you know what? Who cares?Our political system relies on people looking themselves in the mirror and essentially saying to themselves “I can be the leader of the free world.” That takes ambition, confidence and ego. But it has never been so vociferously challenged now. She was recalcitrant with the press. Well… not like President Obama had a completely rosy past with the press. No political figure who has been in the public light for as long as Hillary Clinton has a completely benevolent view of the press. And this is to say nothing of the current administration and the press.
Instead of taking the book for what it is, a post-mortem of a topsy-turvy campaign full of vitriol and surprise and a public servants attempt to explain the inexplicable, we treat it as though a leper from the outskirts has made their way into the city square.
Let. Her. Speak.
Clinton has embraced that 2016 was her last campaign. She’s done politically. And she went out in a loss that has to have been tough. It is only natural that after such a surprising loss, that the candidate there should do a look back to show insights as to what happened and that could serve other candidates in the future.
Clinton wants to let her voice be heard and continue to help. Let her serve as a guide as to what to do and not to do. Have your policy disagreements later. Rehash the Clinton/Bernie fight later.
Afford her the courtesy we would afford any other politician. Let her speak, digest what she said, then move forward.