Welcome to the great walk-back.
On Tuesday, Donna Brazile defended her new book, Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House, from claims it does more harm than good for Democrats.
The View co-host Joy Behar didn’t seem all that pleased with the book’s claim that the Clinton campaign staged a “secret takeover” in 2015 of the Democratic National Committee. Behar also appeared especially annoyed that Brazile’s book seems to allege the Democratic primary was “rigged” in Hillary Clinton’s favor.
Brazile, for her part, claimed Tuesday that she never used the word “rigged” to describe the 2016 Democratic primary. Rather, she explained, she used the word “cancer” to refer to the Clinton’s fundraising agreement with the Democratic Party’s chief governing body.
“First of all, I never used the word ‘rigged’ in my book. I used the word ‘cancer,’” she said Tuesday. “I was uncomfortable with the cancer that I found when I became chair. … when I learned that Hillary was bailing our party out.”
First, if Brazile’s goal here was to soften her allegations against the Clintons and former DNC leadership, insisting she wrote “cancer” and not “rigged” is hardly an improvement for either group.
Secondly, Brazile absolutely did use the word “rigged” in her book. If it wasn't a direct description of what she found, it was set up as the description by inference. Here are the details.
“I had promised Bernie when I took the helm of the Democratic National Committee after the convention that I would get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process,” Brazile wrote in a chapter that appeared last week in Politico.
She added, “I’d had my suspicions from the moment I walked in the door of the DNC a month or so earlier, based on the leaked emails. But who knew if some of them might have been forged? I needed to have solid proof, and so did Bernie.”
Brazile then walked through her supposed reaction when she came across the Clinton's fundraising agreement with the DNC.
“I had tried to search out any other evidence of internal corruption that would show that the DNC was rigging the system to throw the primary to Hillary, but I could not find any in party affairs or among the staff. I had gone department by department, investigating individual conduct for evidence of skewed decisions, and I was happy to see that I had found none. Then I found this agreement,” she wrote.
Brazile added, “The funding arrangement with HFA and the victory fund agreement was not illegal, but it sure looked unethical. If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead. This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party’s integrity.”
Though it pained her, she explained, she nevertheless made the call to Sen. Bernie Sanders to tell him about what she found.
“Hello, senator. I’ve completed my review of the DNC, and I did find the cancer,” she said. “But I will not kill the patient.”
Ah! She found a "cancer!" But don’t you accuse her of saying the primary was "rigged!" Except, by her own description, "rigged" is what she had set out to find. She mentions "cancer" to explain that she succeeded.
The Donna Brazile Revisionism Power Hour is bit a confusing, and we’re not sure if her goal is merely saving her own skin or helping the party bosses toss out the Clintons. She also doesn’t seem to have given much thought to the consequences of stirring up the Democratic Party’s civil war days before Virginia’s hotly contested gubernatorial election.