Friday, August 4, 2017

Susan Bordo on Hillary Derangement Syndrome

Susan Bordo, author of The Destruction of Hillary Clinton, has chimed in on the pre-publication "reviews" of Hillary Clinton's upcoming memoir. While Hillary's book will not be released until September, alt-right psychics and soothsayers are already anticipating the content and critiquing the unpublished work.

The book hasn’t even come out yet, but it is already being “reviewed” in the conservative press. A small sampling: Damon Linker, in the Week: “There is not a chance in the world that Clinton’s memoir will frankly examine and reflect on the true causes of her catastrophic defeat.” Matt Vespa, in Town Hall, predicts the book will be “an extended version of her alternative history in which Russia, the FBI, the media, the DNC, and Republicans all conspired to torpedo her presidential ambitions.” Stephen L. Miller, of Fox Newsactually goes as far as to state unequivocally that the book “definitely won’t tell you what really happened.” The book’s title itself—What Happened—has been described as “ridiculous” by Bre Payton of The Federalist, implying that it’s pure hubris for Clinton to claim that knowledge; she then produces examples of the most vicious take-down tweets of the cover.

Describing a book without even having read it is a ploy familiar to those of us who teach, and I really don’t expect any better from the conservative press than a version of “Clinton CliffsNotes.” I was taken aback, however, when Chris Matthews of Hardball sneered at the press description that Clinton, in the book, would be describing the multiple “forces” that she had to contend with during the election. “Forces?” I remember him asking. His scrunched-up face signaled skepticism over the choice of such a volcanic image. Let’s not go too far here, implied Matthews (who in 2008 described Clinton as “witchy” and “a she-devil”), she wasn’t exactly an innocent Dorothy swept up by powerful winds.

Bordo states, "What’s so startling, however—even to someone like me who has followed the twists and turns of Hillary-hating for decades—is its persistence during the nine months since the election." It is remarkable. Just last night, Trump generated a "lock her up" chant at a rally in West Virginia. I do not remember any president continuing to disparage an opponent so long after an election.

On the other hand, since the 2008 election I have been part of a large, tight network of Hillary supporters who have remained close-knit for almost 10 years and counting.  I do not recall any candidate retaining such an active, passionate support base after losing a nomination.

We were ready when, in April 2015, Hillary said, "Go!" We had never left training camp after 2008. We had kept up with her, followed her through the State Department, her speaking tours, and her book signings. We were ready for Hillary.

Testament to the campaign Hillary ran in which we all participated was the enormous popular vote she won. When you outdo your opponent by nearly three million votes, you can hardly be called a loser. Obviously other forces were at work to bring you down.

That is Hillary's story to tell. Her team looks forward to her book tour and to reading what she has to say about her historical run in her own words.