Hillary Clinton came by Stephen Colbert’s show on Tuesday night to talk about her book What Happened, and did her best to explain what, exactly, happened. It doesn’t sound like she had a great time writing the book: Although the thought of getting paid to remember a world where Trump wasn’t president sounds like a pretty good deal, the math is a little different when people are blaming you because Trump is president, as she explained to Colbert:
It wasn’t easy. It was painful. It was horrible, reliving it. And, you know, being as candid, open as I could be about the mistakes I made, and talking about those. But also trying to come to grips, as I write in the book, about everything from sexism and misogyny to voter suppression to the unusual behavior of the former Director of the FBI, and the Russians. And the Russians.
Russia dominated the rest of the interview, in which Clinton described herself as a “Paula Revere” figure, trying to warn the country about Putin’s electoral meddling. Colbert also asked about Putin’s reported personal animus toward Clinton, which she attributed mostly to her work as Secretary of State, but also allowed that sexism might be involved. Fans of Clinton’s painfully awkward attempts to adopt cool lingo—“Pokémon go to the polls” is the canonical example—will get a kick out of her first example of Putin’s sexism:
Well, he demonstrated, as I write in the book, you know, there’s an expression—we certainly know it in New York—called “manspreading?”
After a commercial break, Clinton talked more about the Russian investigation and ruled out any question of contesting the election results, because there’s no constitutional mechanism to do so:
But for all the talk of what happened, Clinton didn’t say much about what’s happening now. Health care didn’t come up. DACA didn’t come up. Charlottesville didn’t come up. And Clinton’s review of Trump’s nightmarish United Nations address didn’t inspire much confidence:
I thought it was very dark. Dangerous. Not the kind of message that the leader of the greatest nation in the world should be delivering.
Clinton is absolutely right about how dangerous Trump’s bloviating was, but calling the United States the “greatest nation in the world” is “America Is Already Great” all over again, except it’s even more of a self-refuting joke than it was before Nov. 8. We just willingly handed over all the power in the world to a pack of white supremacist goons. That’s what we did; that’s who we are. How great could we really be, anyway?