Newsletter: Hillary Clinton: Should she stay or should she go?

Hillary Clinton kicks off her book tour promoting “What Happened” in New York on Sept. 12.
(Timothy A. Clary /AFP/Getty Images)

Good morning. I’m Paul Thornton, and it is Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. It is not Cinco de Mayo today — but it is Mexican Independence Day. Let’s take a look back at the week in Opinion.

Hillary Clinton has lived in the public eye since the 1970s and is arguably the most high-profile, experienced politician not to have been elected president. Years of bogus scandal-mongering against her culminated in a surreal presidential campaign in which her opponent called for her imprisonment and directed sexist insults at her. Her loss ushered in a presidency that she has called a clear and present danger to American democracy.

Now we’re finally hearing from Clinton in book form and on the lecture circuit. Her reflections on such a pivotal moment in U.S. history, one might think, would be welcome.

Or not. In fact, some of her most vocal supporters want her to “go away,” including Opinion contributing writer Melissa Batchelor Warnke:

It is not the book that bothers. It’s the accompanying media tour — it’s the inevitable distraction from issues on which Democrats are finally pushing forward. It’s a refracturing of Clinton supporters and those of Sen. Bernie Sanders, a scratching at old wounds that are finally starting to heal, and redrawing divisions between organizations that are beginning to build together. Trump shores his base up by attacking others, and having Clinton back on the scene gives Trump prime ammunition after he’s been weakened by a series of legislative and leadership failures. Trump has finally been forced to work with Democrats; for Pete’s sake, he’s having Chuck and Nancy over for dinner tonight. Please do not let the price of Clinton’s renewed visibility be another round of Trump leading his minions in ever more demented “Lock her up!” chants.

People who hated Clinton last time — whether because they saw her as a corporate centrist warmonger or because they believed she was corruptible and inauthentic — will still hate her after reading this book. Her voice is defiant enough to anger those on the far right who always thought she just talked a little too damn much for a woman. And leftists will note that she fails to challenge any of her original premises or policy prescriptions. ...

Our political system has changed immeasurably since November 2016. Standards and norms have flown out the window. Partisan rancor is exceptionally high, with inter- and intra-aisle fighting encouraged by the president himself. The Trump administration has radicalized not just those on the right, but those on the left. The ranks of organizations such as the Democratic Socialists of America are swelling; true progressives are starting to find a voice within dusty Democratic organizations; and Democratic representatives are finally starting to show some spine and unify around ideas such as single-payer healthcare, for which Sanders paved the way.

Clinton has the right to her book and her media tour. But if she’d focus on herself rather than on advising and rebuking those on the left, she’d help the party she claims to love move forward into a winning future.

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Columnist Doyle McManus doesn’t know what Clinton is trying to achieve. Presidential also-rans usually don’t write about why they lost, and for good reason, McManus points out. He ends with a sad lesson for Clinton: “She might have been better off stowing ‘What Happened’ in a desk drawer. The lesson she’s learning is a harsh one: After a disastrous election, even the supporters of a defeated candidate may not be eager to have her around.” L.A. Times

If Obama had done what Jared Kushner is doing, Republicans would have pounced. And they did, hunting down any evidence of impropriety in the Obama administration based on the idea that Americans deserve an accountable government, writes Kurt Bardella, who participated in those investigations as an advisor to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. But as Kushner, the White House’s multi-tool and President Trump’s son-in-law, continues a desperate international hunt for hundreds of millions in cash to shore up his business empire, Republican investigators are nowhere to be found. L.A. Times

This is a fascinating portrait of Orange County’s hard-to-unseat, pro-Putin Republican. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is 70 and a friend to marijuana advocates. He writes libertarian tunes on his guitar. He thinks the Charlottesville, Va., riots were staged by liberals. So how does this perennial target of Democrats still have a job? Because he “stands squarely in the middle of the old school, wealthier, whiter, conservative, still-lovin’-the-Gipper part of the OC.” San Francisco Chronicle

Imagining an Alt-Right Night at Dodger Stadium: Each fan gets a bare-chested Vladimir Putin bobblehead. No tacos or sushi are served. SUVs and monster trucks park for free, but EVs and hybrids pay a premium. Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 comes down because racism was in the past. Ted Nugent performs “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Trump throws out the first pitch, but only after whipping the crowd into a frenzy for 15 minutes. L.A. Times

Turns out Susan Rice was just doing her job, but don’t expect anyone in Trumpland who accused her of illegally spying on the president’s allies to apologize. Earlier this year, after Trump had falsely accused the Obama administration of wiretapping him, it was revealed that Barack Obama’s national security advisor had requested the “unmasking” of Trump officials’ identities who were meeting in secret with officials from the United Arab Emirates about setting up a back channel for communication with Russia. Now, writes Max Boot, Rice is “just collateral damage in the administration’s attack on facts and reality.” L.A. Times

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