Historic events are not a perfect predictor, but they offer interesting parallels. Hillary Clinton’s strange metamorphosis into Harold Stassen, the 10-time candidate for president – each time a little more foolish than the last – makes an interesting example. Stassen was desperate to be relevant – but in the process, got less so with each interview.
Forgive me, let me start this history lesson a different way. Comic relief is all too rare these days. Thank goodness for Hillary Clinton. Like a windup toy running out of energy, Clinton makes sputtering public appearances. They lighten the mood, reminding many Americans why they voted against her and for President Trump – even before he restored national security, secured our border, rebuilt the economy.
In a perpetual, increasingly entertaining bid for relevance, the erstwhile presidential candidate conducted another interview this week. This one, like other sallies to the microphone, was interesting – not for what she said, but for what it tells us about her state of mind and the Democratic Party.
The interview was part bitterness, part an attempt to darken the national mood – as if that were something we needed. She seemed to pine for an extended recession, even as unemployment numbers suggest that will not happen, threw jabs at Trump’s defense of religion, free speech, law and order.
Like a child swatting yellowjackets, she spun from claiming Trump “ignored” COVID-19 (where was she for briefings?) to blurting he did “a daily rally, which he loves to do,” to arguing he is trying to “come up with another diversion” (like say riots?), to blaming him for “distracting… the press” to saying he responded to George Floyd’s death by “looking like he’s trying to be empathetic,” to saying he ignores “inequities in law enforcement and the justice system.”
One is hard pressed to know where to start. Trump was ahead of the curve in shutting down flights from China, got bad information from China and the World Health Organization – both indulged by Clinton and the Obama-Biden team. Trump does do rallies – or he did, but people are not bused in, forced to attend, or paid – they come on their own, by the thousands, in aggregate by the millions.
Meantime, riots – if they were a mass distraction planned by Trump – show extraordinary organizational prowess. More realistically, the protests were organic and riots’ organizational prowess for mass bricklaying, throwing, mayhem and criminal activity were the work of another force – Antifa. Antifa is the radical socialist successor to the 1970’s Weather Underground Movement, and friend of the Democratic Party’s pro-socialist wing.
As for “trying to be empathetic” to the black community, Trump has been more objectively empathetic than any Democratic administration in 50 years, having opened the door to economic opportunities formerly denied black Americans, reduced black unemployment to all-time lows, raised labor participation, income and job quality.
Trump pushed and signed major criminal justice reform, widely supported in the black community. Finally, Trump is presently at the highest level of black support on record for any Republican President, over 40 percent. See: https://www.infowars.com/rasmussen-black-approval-for-trump-surges-to-over-40/. Maybe that has something to do with authentic empathy, caring and acting, not just words.
The interview then spirals into a spasm of bitterness even Harold Stassen would likely sidestep, like something unwelcome on the sidewalk. Said Hillary Clinton of America’s Commander in Chief, he is about “belligerence,” “threat-making,” and “photo-oping.” That is rich, coming from a candidate who never missed a photo-op, struck many (including Sanders’ campaign) as belligerent, and commissioned surrogates to tell us “there is a special place in hell for any woman who does not vote for Hillary.”
Her swansong – although unlikely to be a swansong – was this statement: “It is a mystery why anybody with a beating heart and a working mind still supports him.” Well, looking around, that is most of America – those with hearts and minds of our own, not dependent on media to tell us what we think. See: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/clinton-rips-failure-trump-questions-how-anyone-with-a-beating-heart-and-a-working-mind-supports-him-in-new-interview
The sad fact is that the Democratic Party is a shadow of its former self. It has drifted left – now swept into the current of a socialist political ideology. While moderates exist, many feel abandoned. That would include anti-Hillary supporters of Bernie Sanders, who responded to the Clinton interview with a Twitter hashtag that is – at best – profane.
Donald Trump, like or hate him, represents socialism’s antithesis, the opposite of socialism. He champions the Bill of Rights, individual liberties, due process and equal protection, free markets, and respect for America’s exceptional past and hard-won victories.
All that bothers Hillary Clinton, and one is left wondering why. Part is personal, part emotional, part ideological. This is where Clinton and old wannabes like Harold Stassen part ways. Stassen, a former Minnesota Governor, ran credibly for president in 1948, got overtaken by New York Governor Thomas Dewey, who became the Republican nominee and was upset in the general by Democrat Harry Truman.
Stassen, like Clinton, imagined he would, should and someday could be president. He had come so close. Like Clinton, he did not know when to quit, when to say enough and pass the baton forward, but kept reinventing himself. If he did not have the luxury of marriage to a former president or changing hairstyles, but he did have persistence.
After being a candidate in 1944, 1948 and 1952, Stassen ran again in 1964, 1968, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, and 1992. His failing – which makes him famous in the breach for “not knowing when to quit” – was unchecked ambition.
Watching Hillary Clinton reappear to showcase her off-balance, transparently bitter, surreal view of herself – leader of the free world in waiting, is like Stassen. Only Stassen managed to maintain dignity, decency, and sense of place. Stassen managed to serve – in 1958 and 1966 – as Governor of Pennsylvania, then briefly as a representative in Congress.
Stassen’s legacy is for not realizing when your “at-bat” is over, you have swung and missed, one too many times. He was not a socialist, never accused of impropriety, bitterness, conflicts of interest, getting rich on the public nickel, or lack of love for America’s freedoms and free market, let alone having an email server in a bathroom closet or getting Americans killed in Benghazi.
Historic events are not perfect predictors but offer parallels. Hillary Clinton’s strange metamorphosis into Harold Stassen – may not be that at all. On reflection, Stassen deserves better. This recent interview by Clinton puts her in a category all her own: Done. Perhaps, someone needs to tell her.