Dear Secretary Clinton:
Although I vehemently opposed your candidacy for the presidency and continue to be grateful – actually, euphoric – that you did not prevail in the election, this open letter serves not as an opportunity to pour salt on your still-fresh wounds, but rather as an effort – believe it or not – to help you rehabilitate your image so as to preserve your legacy.
Though I wouldn’t put it past you – keeping your relentless ambition in mind – to throw your hat in the ring for president yet again next time, despite the fact that you’ll be 73, I think that not even you can buck the trend that has prevailed since 1956 with one exception: if your party selected you as its presidential nominee and you lost, you don’t get a second bite at the apple.
That said, I hope you ride off into the sunset and enjoy your grandchildren and, someday, your great-grandchildren. And, perhaps if you take my advice, you might repair your image – at least to some extent.
Here’s what you need to do: now that you’ve accepted President-elect Donald Trump’s invitation to attend his inauguration ceremony on January 20, don’t laugh!
Oh, I don’t mean don’t laugh at him – I wouldn’t think even the likes of you would ever do that in public. I mean don’t emit that quintessential Hillary laugh – where your eyes light up and your teeth gleam as if to say: “everything is okay! I am in total control! I am loving life!” Because no one ever bought any of that bunk, and no one will buy it now.
Lest anyone think that you lost the election because of “Russian hacking,” “angry racist white males,” Benghazi, or Emailgate here’s a news flash: you would have lost anyway – even if none of that ever happened (and some of it really didn’t). In fact, none of those elements existed in 2008, when you were whipped by a little-known African-American rookie senator named Barack Hussein Obama, whose father was a Muslim from Kenya and whose mother remarried one and moved to Indonesia, taking young Barry along and sending him to a Muslim school.
Granted, Obama was always an eloquent speaker and eminently likable – despite what the Tea Partiers said. But, come on, you were in line not to be nominated, but to be coronated. It wasn’t Benghazi then, and it’s not Benghazi now. It’s you, Hillary, it’s just plain old you.
The problem is, people simply don’t believe anything you have to say. Maybe we’re wrong. Maybe you’re not really a phony. Maybe Al Gore and Mitt Romney aren’t either. But the point is most of us thought all three of you were, which is why, not-so-coincidentally, all three of you lost.
But it’s not so much about what you really are as it is about how you are perceived.
So, I repeat: please don’t laugh. When the cameras – particularly from the networks, the majority of which worship you – pan on you, please spare us your “I couldn’t be any happier” laugh.
Oh, I wouldn’t advise you to look sad, either. Because that’s when the radical right vultures will pounce on you. The ones so obsessed with you that they can’t even release their deathly grip from your throat, even now that you’ve really become politically irrelevant. They need to see you suffer. Just like the carnival-show junkies who couldn’t come to terms with President Ford’s pardon of ex-President Nixon, because they wanted Nixon’s head on a platter.
So, crazy as this may sound, be real. Be yourself – if you even know what that is anymore. We know it’s going to be absolute torture for you to watch Trump get sworn in – just as it was for you watching Obama take the oath eight years ago. As if you are the victim of a cruel practical joke that just won’t end. But look at it this way: while most Americans regard gaining a seat on their local school board or church council to be the acme of their accomplishments, you’ve been first lady of Arkansas for ten years, first lady of the United States for eight years, a United States senator for another eight, and secretary of state for four. Add to that the four years since you stepped down as secretary of state and teased about – then executed – a second run for president, and you’ve been front and center in the public eye for a whopping 34 years. That’s more than any given billion or so people combined.
You’ve made a boatload of money and can still command a cool half a million per speech. Keeping all that in mind, your charmed life juxtaposed against your eminently disappointing defeats, if you combine all of that into a subdued half-smile throughout the ceremony, you’ll do just fine.
In a court of law, statements that would normally be considered inadmissible as hearsay are exempted if made on one’s deathbed. They are known as “dying declarations.” Your coughing fits aside, I’d like to believe that it really was a bout of pneumonia and that you are now fully cured and will live for decades to come. But it is fair to say that your political life is dead, and so, much like a deathbed confession is predicated on a “what do I have to lose?” attitude, so should be your newfound sincerity.
You’ve tried pandering. After all, your husband turned it into an art form. But the public grew tired of it long before you grew tired of running for office. Why not give candor a chance now? What have you got to lose?