Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign
Forget James Comey; forget Russia, said John Podhoretz in the New York Post. The first big postmortem on how Hillary Clinton managed to lose the 2016 election “makes indisputably clear that she was the worst major presidential candidate in our lifetime.” Co-authors Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes interviewed more than 100 members of the Clinton campaign, and by granting most of them anonymity, piled up “headshaking detail after headshaking detail” about the political incompetence of the candidate and her top aides.
The plot of Shattered reads like “pure L. Frank Baum,” said Joseph Bottum in the Washington Free Beacon. Chief strategist Robby Mook made the perfect Tin Man: A geek guided by computer analytics instead of his heart, he was so tight with money that he refused to buy yard signs, TV advertising in the Midwest, or even a single poll in the race’s crucial final three weeks. Campaign chairman John Podesta filled the Scarecrow role, proving in his embarrassing leaked emails to have been a man without a brain. And Bill Clinton played the Cowardly Lion, all big ideas and bluster until aides reminded him he helped blow Hillary’s 2008 race. But the inside-baseball gossip—as fun as it is—is also “the least meaningful part of the book,” said Jeff Stein in Vox.com. Allen and Parnes are even better at proving that the candidate failed her team more than they failed her. From the announcement of her candidacy on, each time she was called upon to articulate where she hoped to take the country, she came up empty.
But Clinton is hardly alone in her lack of vision, said Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone. “The real protagonist of this book is a Washington political establishment that has lost the ability to explain itself or its motives to people outside the Beltway.” If the ending to this story weren’t so consequential, “Shattered would be an awesome comedy.” But it gave us President Trump, and the only party that can unseat him appears to be mired in a profound identity crisis. “Trump or no Trump, the Democrats need therapy—and soon.”