A terrible candidate

Even the mainstream media is beginning to admit that Hillary Clinton is an almost exceptionally horrible candidate:

With a toxic cloud hanging over Clinton’s makeshift campaign office at the Radisson hotel in Manchester, Clinton’s chief speechwriter, Dan Schwerin, and her top policy adviser, Jake Sullivan, decamped for Sullivan’s mother-in-law’s house in the Seacoast town of New Castle to rethink the entire campaign’s approach.

There, huddled together in the February snow, they scrapped her spaghetti-on-the-wall policy approach and came up with a sturdy slogan that aimed to capture the historic nature of her candidacy while making a pitch to African-American and Hispanic voters: “Breaking Down Barriers.”

There was just one problem: Their candidate hated it.

“This is useless,” a frustrated Clinton vented when Schwerin and Sullivan — two of her longest-serving aides — presented the new plan to her that glum Tuesday morning of Feb. 9 in her Manchester hotel suite.

The feeling was mutual. Her staff admired her attention to detail, but knew she was often her own worst enemy. Clinton is known for taking a draft of a speech and changing it some indelible way to make it more literal and less readable. (The joke at her Brooklyn campaign headquarters is that she would take the public safety slogan “If You See Something, Say Something,” and, in her literal-minded way, change it to say, “If You See Something, Alert the Proper Authorities.”)

The entire episode illustrated Clinton’s paradox: On the one hand, she’s a deeply involved candidate who trusts her own instincts. But on the other, she still struggles, after all these years, when it comes to messaging — and remains almost hostile to the idea of a narrative that Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and even Donald Trump seem to craft so naturally.

Her best campaign strategy is to go into hiding until November and hope that the Democratic demographics do the job for her. It’s not a good sign when even your campaign staff are joking about how clueless and inept you are.

Interviews with more than half a dozen Clinton allies inside and outside her campaign reveal a candidate who remains deeply insecure when trying to commit to a message about her campaign, and reluctant to indulge in the rhetorical flourishes that make for the rousing poetry of campaigns.

Of course she’s deeply insecure. She’s never achieved one single damn thing on her own. She couldn’t even manage to keep her husband faithful.