Hillary Clinton's memoir excerpt: What can we learn from it?
A second preview of Clinton's book 'Hard Choices' was recently released and the excerpt details her 'partnership and friendship' with President Obama and her wish to 'revisit certain choices.'
Thanks to media speculation about a potential presidential run and an aggressive PR blitz, buzz is building around “Hard Choices,” Hilary Clinton’s forthcoming memoir due out June 10.
Publisher Simon & Schuster released a second preview of the book Tuesday morning, this time a 1,468-word author’s note explaining why Clinton wrote the book and what readers can expect to learn from it.
(Simon & Schuster released a prior excerpt on Mother’s Day in Vogue magazine, in which Clinton spoke about her experience as both a daughter and a mother, a move many analysts said was aimed at humanizing the Washington insider.)
And while the latest excerpt includes such minor revelations as her “unexpected partnership and friendship” with President Obama, to whom she lost a bitter primary challenge; and Clinton’s desire to “revisit certain choices,” no doubt referring to the siege of the Libyan mission in Benghazi; we can’t help but ask the question everyone else is asking: Will Clinton run for president in 2016?
The author’s note contains a clue or two, according to some media outlets.
“The latest excerpt from Hillary Clinton’s forthcoming book reads like an early draft of a potential 2016 convention speech,” reports the Wall Street Journal in a less-than-subtle proclamation. The preview “hits on all the requisite stump speech highlights,” it adds. “Mrs. Clinton includes assertions about America’s place in the world, and tries to tie the impact of the foreign policy she led to Middle America. She also fires shots at the permanent political class – a nebulous group the Clintons have battled for decades even after becom[ing] a fixture in it.”
The author’s note preview appears to be an attempt to get ahead of book leakers, as Clinton’s team told Politico’s Mike Allen.
“We're not under any illusions that this book won't leak. But that doesn't mean we're resigning ourselves to that certainty, and not trying new and creative ways to present it to the public before that happens.”
It also preempts political foes by addressing Americans directly, as in the following excerpt from Clinton’s note.
“While my views and experiences will surely be scrutinized by followers of Washington’s long-running soap-opera – who took what side, who opposed whom, who was up and who was down – I didn’t write this book for them,” she said, according to Politico. “I wrote it for Americans and people everywhere who are trying to make sense of this rapidly changing world of ours, who want to understand how leaders and nations can work together and why they sometimes collide, and how their decisions affect all our lives.”
And then there’s the requisite paean to the United States, which Clinton refers to as “the indispensable nation.”
“My faith in our future has never been greater,” Clinton wrote. “While there are few problems in today’s world that the United States can solve alone, there are even fewer that can be solved without the United States.”
Clinton delivers her final pitch for the highest office in the nation with a rare glimpse into her early years as well as her life and career highlights, an excerpt whose (unusually poignant) sum total is effectively an elevator pitch to the American people.
“When I chose to leave a career as a young lawyer in Washington to move to Arkansas to marry Bill and start a family, my friends asked, ‘Are you out of your mind?’ I heard similar questions when I took on health care reform as First Lady, ran for office myself, and accepted President Barack Obama’s offer to represent our country as Secretary of State.
“In making these decisions, I listened to both my heart and my head. I followed my heart to Arkansas; it burst with love at the birth of our daughter, Chelsea; and it ached with the losses of my father and mother.
My head urged me forward in my education and professional choices. And my heart and head together sent me into public service. Along the way, I've tried not to make the same mistake twice, to learn, to adapt, and to pray for the wisdom to make better choices in the future."
Altogether, as the Wall Street Journal put it, Clinton’s memoir preview-cum-pitch “fits neatly into her budding presidential campaign.”
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.