Hillary Clinton's inner circle is not happy about the release of a new book alleging her failed presidential run was plagued from the get-go by infighting, pessimism and chronic dysfunction.
Staffers and confidants have pushed back on the book, Shattered, with a counternarrative alleging that, actually, the 2016 Clinton campaign was great fun.
"I feel so lucky to have worked for the right candidate — a woman who still inspires us — with an amazing group of talented true believers," the campaign's deputy communications director, Christina Reynolds, wrote in a blog post. "I hope that no book, no impugned motives, no stories about staff bickering takes that away from any of those amazing coworkers. In the end, I'm still very proud to be with her. And with them."
The authors, political reporters Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, go through the blow-by-blow of the campaign, cataloging each reported misstep and miscalculation in an attempt to figure out how a longtime professional politician managed to lose to an inexperienced and disorganized former game show host.
What they found were dozens of anonymous sources reportedly inside the Clinton camp who alleged the campaign was an unmitigated disaster from start to finish.
However, some former staffers dispute this characterization, and maintain the election was actually a joyous and fulfilling experience. There was much merriment, they say, and they even have the photos to prove it.
Take, for example, that time Clinton watched baseball on her phone, longtime confidant Philippe Reines tweeted Wednesday.
Ok Ok, a few more. This one you might have seen. Pretty sure it's when her Cubs won the NL Pennant. I think @NickMerrill took it. pic.twitter.com/sXPpZ27n7k— Philippe Reines (@PhilippeReines) April 20, 2017
Then there was that time there was a birthday celebration, Clinton press secretary Nick Merrill tweeted.
Can't possibly forget the time Clinton campaign staffers took a photo of themselves in that one place, former Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri noted.
Shattered may include a lot of unflattering allegations, including the claim Clinton stopped speaking directly to her campaign manager, Robby Mook, back in February 2016. But does the new book include a bunch of sentimental campaign photos? Didn't think so. Checkmate, haters.
Clintonworld's response to Shattered has been unintentionally hilarious for the simple reason that it proves the book's point.
A lack of transparency, a persecution complex, underestimating the intelligence of others, being perpetually aggrieved, ignoring deserved scrutiny, dismissing legitimate criticisms and, above all else, a weak message led to Clinton's defeat, according to Allen and Parnes.
The responses from Reynolds, Reines and others have failed so far to disprove anything reported in Shattered. They certainly don't come close to addressing the questions raised by the fact Clinton lost the election despite enjoying nearly every conceivable advantage.
Rather, things like Reynolds' blog post and the scrapbooking nonsense are obvious attempts to deflect from the rather serious charge that Clinton and her crew badly bungled 2016. It's about circling the wagons to protect the personal and professional reputations of both the failed candidate and her inner circle. It's about striking a fault-free pose, which has been their default position since Nov. 8.
Further, the tone of the responses has been the sort of hollow, sentimental twaddle that the Clinton campaign peddled during the election. It's heavy on the fluff and light on the actual substance.
The reactions have been overly defensive, overly protective, beside-the-point, dismissive and lacking any sort of substantive counterargument to what's reported in the book.
In short, they've behaved exactly as they're portrayed in Shattered.
Incidentally, Clintonland's totally spontaneous push back comes at the same time as reports alleging the failed presidential candidate and her closest advisers are "scrambling" to find who leaked to Allen and Parnes.