Hillary Clinton’s memoir, which is entitled “What Happened” and tells of her failed presidential run, hit bookshelves on September 12. It chronicles her run for the highest office in the land and attempts to explain away her public humiliation at losing to an opponent who had previously never so much as run for city council.
Clinton names many culprits for her loss in her book and in recent interviews promoting it:
- Bernie Sanders and his supporters
- Third party candidate Jill Stein
- Former FBI director James Comey
- Vladimir Putin
- Barack Obama
- Joe Biden
- The media
- NBC host Matt Lauer
- Sexism and misogyny
- White resentment
There are countless examples of people refusing to take responsibility for their actions and the consequences that followed, but it's rare you'll find a 500-page book devoted to blame shifting — until now.
But blaming other people and circumstances out of her control has been the modus operandi of Mrs. Clinton throughout her political career.
As first lady when Bill Clinton was under investigation for sexual misconduct, Mrs. Clinton called out the “vast right-wing conspiracy” that was trying to take them down. She has since used the term on several occasions and, in 2016, said she believes it was “even better funded” than when she first coined the term.
Some family members of the slain in Benghazi can relate, since Secretary of State Clinton blamed an obscure internet video for the attacks that resulted in the death of their loved ones.
During her infamous e-mail scandal, Mrs. Clinton insisted she had never received or sent classified e-mails. When that was determined to be false, she handily blamed her staff. In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in January 2016, Mrs. Clinton is quoted as saying the unmarked classified e-mail chains “did not originate with me.”
To be fair, playing the blame game has been part of human nature since time immemorial. The earliest recorded evidence of blame shifting is found in the creation story in the Bible, when Adam blames his wife Eve for their fall from grace by partaking of the fruit that God forbade them to touch. Eve, in turn, blames the serpent who beguiled her.
Psychologist Mark Zaslav writes in Psychology Today about what's often behind blame: “The tendency to affix blame is often associated with defenses against feeling shame.”
I can understand how Mrs. Clinton may feel a sense of shame because of her husband’s very public philandering while president. I can understand how facing the nation and families of slain Americans who died under her watch as Secretary of State would be excruciating. I can understand how humiliating it would be to admit you are inept at handling classified information while running for president. And I can understand the embarrassment of not being able to accomplish what many women have held out hope for — being the first woman president.
Hillary Clinton has always tried to exude the public persona of a modern, strong, confident woman but the longer she persists with her preservation of her failed candidacy, the less strong and confident she looks.
As women, we still need role models to inspire us to accomplish more than we dreamed we could. But when we see Hillary Clinton blaming everything under the sun for her failures, it is not empowering but rather a belittling disservice that drags the rest of us down with her.