The bickering over Brazile’s book reveals a pathetic party.
Few stories excite the media more than a Republican who rips into the GOP. That critic can always count on a round of solicitous, unchallenging interviews. Reporters immediately christen the critic’s motives as noble and his proposals for reform vital. Not so for internal critics of the Democratic Party, as Donna Brazile is learning this week. Frowning reporters demand to know why “she is hurting” her own party — a question they never ask of the Corkers, McCains, and Flakes.
On the mindless morning shows, the fake smiles have turned into real scowls as the hosts scold Brazile for penning a new book that makes the Dems look bad. Making the hosts even more exasperated is that Brazile is playing coy, hurling serious charges in the book, then appearing to withdraw them in interviews. Last Sunday, she sounded defiant, telling her critics to “go to hell.” But by early this week, she was striking a more conciliatory tone and downplaying the import of her book. She fell back on word games and quibbling, as she denied claiming that Hillary had technically rigged the primaries or that Hillary’s staff had treated her like a slave. She only “felt” like a slave, she corrected one upset interviewer, who was clearly miffed that Brazile would stain the dear old party with a racial charge.
True, Brazile’s coyness is annoying. It is a little late for her to disclaim the charge that Hillary enjoyed an unfair advantage over Bernie Sanders in the primaries given that that is the central charge of her book. She writes that Hillary secretly purchased total control over the Democratic National Committee long before the primaries had ended:
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.
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.
Now Brazile is dancing away from the charge, displaying the same opportunistic streak that led her to share debate questions with Hillary — an act of complicity in the rigging for which her book was ostensibly meant to atone.
In all the bickering and backpedaling, one sees a party seriously adrift, unable to break free of the Clintons’ undertow. Elizabeth Warren and company have made a clean break, openly acknowledging that Hillary was a cheat and dud candidate. But many other Dems are hedging their bets. They look around and don’t see any viable new leaders, so they continue to cling to the Clintons and the Obamas.
In this desperate atmosphere, Brazile’s book was bound to provoke a Bolshevik-style backlash, complete with the most laughably servile praise of Hillary from staffers still dependent on her good graces. Reporters quoted reverentially from their lame letter denouncing Brazile’s book:
We were shocked to learn the news that Donna Brazile actively considered overturning the will of the Democratic voters by attempting to replace Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine as the Democratic Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees. It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponent, about our candidate’s health.…
The 2016 presidential campaign was unlike any in our history. It was very difficult for our candidates and our staff. We are very proud that throughout the campaign and the aftermath the staff stuck together, worked as a team, and did the best we could for both Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine. We did this for the simple reason that we thought Hillary Clinton would make the best President for the country we all love. We have now, as we did throughout the campaign, enormous love and pride for our candidate, Hillary Clinton. She, more than any of us, persevered through an incredibly difficult campaign and her commitment and stamina inspired us every day. We are very proud of the effort she and the campaign made in both the primary and the general election.
The general election loss was devastating for us all and something we live with every day. And while frustrating that the general election vote total did not change the outcome of the election, we remain proud that Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine received nearly 3 million more votes in the general election than their opponents.
Finally, we are pretty tired of people who were not part of our campaign telling the world what it was like to be on the inside of our campaign and how we felt about it. We loved our candidate and each other and it remains our honor to have been part of the effort to make Hillary Clinton the 45th President of the United States.
One hears all the familiar whines and frantic self-justifications in the letter, as if they faced historically unique disadvantages in the race. In fact, they enjoyed all the advantages — money, resources, a media in the tank for them, a deep state and White House pulling for them, a foreign spy with Kremlin connections on retainer, not to mention, an opposition party devouring its own candidate. No wonder they are so sore at Brazile. Her book is a painful reminder that Hillary could buy everyone and everything except the White House.