Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
Over the course of my life, I have failed several times. One of the lessons I have learned is not to blame someone else, but that my failures were always my own.
When I was graduated from the University of Kentucky, I did not get into law school. While I had absolutely destroyed the LSAT, I had made an error which did not get my transcripts to the law school (singular) to which I had applied. My failure.
Not that it mattered: I couldn’t have afforded law school, and my eyesight was so poor that the military would not have enlisted me and paid for law school. That made me feel a little less bad about it, but it was still my failure.
The economy in 1977 sucked, and there were few jobs for my degree, and I didn’t get one. I wound up taking what I could, working on a construction site, and if I was succeeding there, it was still my failure in the few professional interviews I got that didn’t get that degree-required professional job I wanted.
By 1999, I had done very well, now with a concrete producer, and was — finally! — promoted above the getting my hands dirty level. But, as it turned out, that wasn’t me; I had been so successful in the work I had done previously because I was willing to jump in and get my hands dirty, in cement, in oil and grease, with a cutting torch, whatever had to be done, but it turned out that pushing paper and directing others to jump in to the oil and grease simply wasn’t me. My wife noted that I just didn’t seem happy at work anymore.
I had failed.
To cut a long story short, I retired in late 2016, with mostly successes but some failures throughout my professional career. No, I hadn’t been a success in the office job, but I was known and (mostly) respected in my industry, made friends and, again, working with my hands and the skills I had picked up, remodeled our house. At the time, my wife and I owned two houses, the one we lived in in Pennsylvania, and our retirement home, another fixer-upper, in the Bluegrass State. We put the Pennsylvania house up for sale and moved to Kentucky, where I am still working on our fixer-upper.
Now, why do I mention all of this? Because I was sitting on our porch last night, reading on the Kindle app on my iPad, enjoying a cool but comfortable evening, listening to the rain on the metal roof. We are not millionaires by any stretch of the imagination, but we are well off and comfortable in my retirement. We have two daughters, both with professional careers, and one a sergeant in the Army Reserve. Despite some failures in the past, I’m happy with my life. Perhaps we’d have more things if we were millionaires, but we have a life at peace on a quiet farm. What could be better than that?
Why bring all of this up? Because there’s a woman, a multimillionaire, with mansions in Chappaqua, New York and the Georgetown section of Washington, DC, who is so consumed with bitterness over her own failures.
She was given every advantage in life, an upper-middle class family — my family was very poor — and matriculated at tony Wellesley College. After being graduated from Wellesley, she was admitted to the even tonier Yale Law School, following which she secured prestigious Washington positions. She met, and later married, up-and-comer Bill Clinton at Yale.
Yes, she did have the dreaded Arkansas interregnum, away from the real seat of power in Washington, but her husband challenged, and beat, the elder President Bush in the 1992 election. She lived in the White House, the greatest address in the world, for eight years.
Following that, she was elected to the United States Senate, on the basis of her husband’s last name. You can’t have a more charmed life than that!
But then, in 2008, she had a failure. The presumptive favorite for the 2008 presidential election, she lost the nomination to upstart Senator Barack Hussein Obama (D-IL), something for which she allegedly hated him. Everything was set up for her to win the nomination easily, but she still failed to do so. President Obama was magnanimous enough to appoint her to become Secretary of State, an office in which she served for four years, though it must have galled her to be pushing his foreign policy instead of setting it herself.
Mrs Clinton resigned as Secretary of State after President Obama’s first term, giving her four years to set up a presidential run in 2016. I will admit it: this was when I had another failure: I had predicted that she would not run in 2016, due to her obviously poor health, and I got that wrong. Not leaving anything to chance, Mrs Clinton had allies, in Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, who helped undercut Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) quest for the nomination, and Donna Brazile, a commentator for CNN, who slipped her debate questions in advance. Mrs Clinton got that nomination; whether or not her cheating helped push her over the top is something we cannot know.
And Mrs Clinton even got the general election foe she wanted in Donald Trump. Things couldn’t have gone any better for her.
But then her poor health caught up to her — perhaps that was Mr Obama’s fault for not letting her win in 2008? — and she ran a poor, lackluster campaign. Despite outspending Mr Trump by almost two-to-one, and winning three million more total votes than he did, she lost critical states and lost to him in the Electoral College.
Mrs Clinton blamed almost everyone but herself for her failure to win an election she has been as close to being guaranteed to win as any could be. She blamed then FBI Director James Comey, she blamed Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, she blamed Russia, saying:
“If the election had been on October 27, I would be your president,” Clinton told moderator Christiane Amanpour, the CNN anchor, at a Women for Women International event in New York.
Clinton stated broadly that she takes “absolute personal responsibility” for her failure to win the White House. Yet the Democratic nominee declined to fault her strategy or message, nor did she acknowledge her own weaknesses as a campaigner or the struggles by her and her advisers to at first comprehend and then respond to the angry mood of broad swaths of the electorate.
Instead, Clinton attributed her defeat to a range of external forces, including saying she was a victim of misogyny and of “false equivalency” in the news media.
Clinton said she was confident that she was on track to winning the election until two things reversed her momentum: the release of campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails, which were allegedly stolen by Russian hackers, and Comey’s Oct. 28 letter to Congress that he had reopened the bureau’s investigation into her use of a private email server.
“I was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off — and the evidence for that intervening event is, I think, compelling [and] persuasive,” Clinton said.
Mrs Clinton blamed white women, who not only gave 52% of their votes to Mr Trump, but, thanks to the presence of minor party candidates, gave only 43% of their votes to her. She even blamed the amorphous “they,” whomever “they” are, as she said, “I knew it. I knew this would happen to me. They were never going to let me be president.” And even as late as two days ago, Mrs Clinton went so far as to compare First Lady Melania Trump to ‘Queen Jezebel.’
Losing a presidential campaign must be one of the most devastating things that can happen, and former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) couldn’t have been very happy that he lost to President Obama in the 2012 election, but he mostly kept his mouth shut about it. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) lost to then-Senator Obama in 2008, and didn’t whine too much about it.
I’m stepping into a bit of speculation here, but Mrs Clinton seemed to think that she was somehow owed the presidency. Not only had she put up with her husband’s revealed affair with Monica Lewinsky, but his winning, twice, contrasted with her losing, twice, meant that he was just better than her. Donald Trump cheated her out of the White House, everybody cheated her, even though her campaign cheating Bernie Sanders out of a fair shot, well that didn’t mean anything.
Her campaign missteps, like trusting neophyte Robbie Mook while ignoring advice from her own husband, who had only won two presidential campaigns, or mostly ignoring states she was sure that she’d win, well, those didn’t really matter, did they? She did admit that her “basket of deplorables” comment probably hurt, but never really said that she was wrong for saying it for anything other than the votes it might have cost her.
So, here I sit, a lowly blogger, never having had an article published in The New York Times or The Washington Post, never having been a guest commentator on CNN or Fox, which suggests that I have failed somewhat as a writer. The fault for that can lay only with me. I am not a millionaire, I have only one house, and that a fixer-upper in progress.
Yet, despite that, I am happy with my mundane life. I am not living with bitterness and bile at how I was robbed, robbed! by other people because I didn’t get everything I wanted.
It’s partly cloudy over the farm right now, and 68º F outside. My wife is home, our daughters are here, the cats and the dog are happy and secure; what more is there to life? Though few people know my name, I am happier in life than Hillary Rodham Clinton.
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