Top Democrats are telling the media that it’s long past time for Hillary Clinton to follow the lead of former President Obama and get out of the spotlight.
Party leaders are saying her weeks-long string of commentaries on her election defeat last year together with her recently made public remarks placing the blame on the Democratic National Committee for her defeat (a criticism which many took as implicating Obama in her defeat) is hurting her party and making her appear bitter.
The Hill recently interviewed over a dozen Democrats about Hillary Clinton’s comments to the press, including many stalwart Clinton supporters and former CLinton aides.
“Good God, what is she doing?” one veteran aide marveled after watching Clinton at the Recode conference in California last week, “She’s apparently still really, really angry. I mean, we all are. The election was stolen from her, and that’s how she feels. But to go out there publicly again and again and talk about it? And then blame the DNC?” the aide said, “It’s not helpful to Democrats. It’s not helpful to the country, and I don’t think it’s helpful to her.”
The Democrats also told The Hill they understood why Hillary Clinton would want to explain what happened in the election, and many also shared Clinton’s frustration with former FBI Director James Comey’s for how he handled the investigation into her private email server, writing a memo to Congress about it at a critical time during the election.
But every single Democratic operative and aide also said they think Clinton needs to put an end to her tour of blaming and finger pointing over her election loss. Former Obama aides are also bristling at Clinton’s war of words on her own party.
At the Recode tech conference, Clinton claimed she had “inherited nothing” from a “bankrupt” Democratic Party led by Obama for eight years, no good data to work with, and that she had to infuse cash into the party to shore it up for the election.
“If she is trying to come across as the leader of the angry movement of what happened in 2016, then she’s achieving it,” said a former senior aide in the Obama Administration, “But part of the problem she had was she didn’t have a vision for the Democratic Party, and she needs to now take a break and let others come to the forefront.”
Clinton’s string of angry comments come at a time of confusion and chaos for the Democratic Party, with members feeling as if their party is leaderless and directionless at the close of the Obama era and after a defeat of Clinton that surprised them all.
Amid the chaos and confusion in the Democratic Party ranks, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) of Vermont has emerged as the most viable leadership figure in the progressive wing after making the 2016 Democratic primary a close one for Hillary Clinton, the establishment favorite and presumptive nominee, and Sanders is not even technically a member of the Democratic Party, he just caucuses with them in the U.S. Senate.
One former Obama aide argued Clinton’s comments about the DNC will hurt its credibility moving forward, and make it more difficult for new leaders to emerge for 2020. “It’s hard to do that when you have the former nominee out there in a newsy, aggressive manner,” the former Obama aide said.
Longtime aides and other people close to her say that Hillary Clinton will not seek any public office again, and that now she feels free to openly speak her mind. They say they expect Clinton to continue offering commentary on the election, in part to promote her upcoming book, which will be published this fall.