The New York Times dragged out a sanitized version of Hillary Clinton once again, in a lament that she had to expire politically to create an uprising. But people who want to see women advancing in politics should be glad that she lost.
Clinton was not a role model, as her model wasn’t available to anyone who hadn’t married a president. A bad politician, she was dependent upon him, and when he turned out to be a chronic seducer and even abuser of women, she was willing to threaten and even destroy his victims to assure his success.
Hillary Clinton’s biggest moments were television appearances to save his career when it hung in the balance. They came in 1992, on "60 Minutes," when she denied that he had an affair with Gennifer Flowers; and in 1998 when she went on the "Today" show, to say that reports he had erred with an intern were part of a vast Right-wing plot. For the first, she was given control of healthcare reform, which she mishandled so badly that Democrats lost both houses of Congress; for the second, she was given a seat in the Senate from the state of New York, from which she would launch her runs for the White House. And it wasn’t just the seat, but also her husband’s vast network of friends and supporters, and access to mountains of cash that came with it.
Twice, Hillary Clinton would enter the race as the favorite, and twice she would lose. The first time, it was to a stunning political talent, whose oratorical gifts she could not hope to rival, and whose claim to break barriers overpowered her own. Almost immediately, she began running again, with this time the field cleared so well by her husband that none dared run against her but an elderly socialist from a small state whom few people had heard of — but who nonetheless nearly won. Then, she faced off against the opponent of her dreams: a gross billionaire with a sordid past and no prior experience in politics, who turned people against whenever he opened his mouth. But she turned out the one person on earth unable to attack him effectively, as his greed was countered by her own very well proven hunger for money; and she was unable to score with his grossness with women, as her husband had been accused many times of harassment, and also of things even worse.
Aside from the problems her husband bequeathed her, Clinton made many mistakes of her own. Until the day she announced, she was raking in $300,000 a pop for short talks to corporate entities. She had made what was perhaps her fatal mistake when she broke government protocols to use an insecure private server to conduct her state business, a breach about which she had lied when it first was discovered, and of which she never was able to work herself clear.
Books written later about her campaign — Shattered, and Hacks, by Donna Brazile, her ex-friend and one-time Democratic National Committee chairwoman — would detail her many political flaws: her tone-deaf campaign, her clueless consultants, her lack of a message, and the fact that she never connected her campaign and herself to a cause greater than she was, perhaps because she thought that nothing was greater than she was, and she was a cause in herself.
This idea afflicts the Times’ writer, who sees her as an ideal when she was in fact an anomaly, a product of circumstances that were always unlikely, and that will never recur in our lives. It was good that she lost, and good to move on to more likely role models, with more plausible roads to success.
Noemie Emery, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families."