Hillary Clinton has won the Democratic Party’s nomination to the presidency in 2016 (don’t tell Bernie). The ascension of a woman to lead a major American political party is, indeed, a historic moment, and one that communicates a positive message of possibility and egalitarianism to American women and girls. That last bit hardly bears repeating; Democrats won’t let you forget it.

There is a temptation among members of the small, self-selected population of professional political observers in moments of objective historical value to posture for their fellows. In pronouncing Clinton the victor after a long and hard-fought campaign, political observers on the left might be tempted to exaggerate the significance of an event 25-years in the making and the talent of the woman who made this moment manifest. Hillary Clinton is no political genius. In fact, she’s rather hapless.

This impulse to pen hagiography for posterity’s sake was captured in a column by Vox.com founder Ezra Klein. His piece had the misfortune of being far more thoughtful than the title suggested. “It’s time to admit Hillary Clinton is an extraordinarily talented politician,” Vox’s headline blared. The implication there is that America clings stubbornly to the unsupported idea that Clinton is a deeply flawed person and lackluster political talent. Klein’s contention is that the presidential deck is stacked in favor of men, and only a figure of uncanny aptitude could shake loose the shackles placed on women in politics. If you fail to see that, you are ignoring empiricism in favor of some base preconceptions.

“There is something about Clinton that makes it hard to appreciate the magnitude of her achievement,” Klein speculated. “Or perhaps there is something about us that makes it hard to appreciate the magnitude of her achievement.”

No, it’s her.

Even in moments of triumph, the former first lady exposes her vulnerabilities as a candidate. Hillary Clinton took the stage on Tuesday night amid the fanfare of a nominating convention in miniature. In a large venue surrounded by adoring fans and following a slickly-produced introductory biographical video package, Clinton delivered a well-crafted speech. She deserves credit for the spectacle, but so, too, do those who stage-managed the event. The speech was a broadside aimed at her likely Republican opponent, who has a habit of stepping on landmines a more seasoned politician could detect from miles off. In doing so, however, she highlighted and validated some of the populist presumptive GOP nominee’s own premises.

Clinton struck two themes in attacking Trump. The first, and likely the most effective, is that he is “temperamentally unfit” to serve as the commander-in-chief of the American armed forces. This is not an ideological argument; it’s an elementary one, and it has the chance to win converts who would never consider voting for Clinton otherwise. The second theme, however, was entirely partisan and executed artlessly.

“He’s not just trying to build a wall between America and Mexico. He’s trying to wall off Americans from each other,” she said. “We believe that cooperation is better than conflict, unity is better division, empowerment is better than resentment, and bridges are better than walls.”

Harping on the central premise of Trump’s campaign might seem like a clever way to render it toxic, but it instead reminds his supporters why they love him. This is a little like a commercial for Pepsi that spends the entire time obsessing about Coke. It defines Clinton, the product, as the upstart competitor to the market-dominating alternative. To borrow from the sitcom “Arrested Development,” Clinton is the “frozen banana that won’t make you sick and kill you.” It is the exaggerated claim that renders the pitch disingenuous, thus coating all other claims with a veneer of doubt and suggesting to the consumer that the alternative maybe isn’t all that bad after all.

This kind of overthinking has plagued Clinton’s political career. She might have been remembered as the author of health care reform – it was “HillaryCare” before it was “ObamaCare” – but it was Clinton’s carelessness and rigidity that robbed her of that victory. Clinton was not merely the public face of the effort to bring about health care reform but also the behind-the-scenes negotiator. She sought to bring Republicans and Democrats in Congress on board the effort but then flouted their recommendations in public, thus creating ill will where none previously existed. In the end, even congressional Democrats abandoned the Clintons and began submitting their own reform proposals.

Reform opponents fielded a series of effective ads dubbed “Harry & Louise,” in which an average American couple fretted over their truncated coverage options in a dystopian future crafted by  Hillary Clinton. The ads were so effective that even Bill and Hillary Clinton starred in their own parody of the ads to discredit them. Sound familiar? Health care reform “that won’t make you sick and kill you.”

This kind of managerial incompetence is nothing compared to Hillary Clinton’s error-prone nature on the campaign trail. The former secretary of state’s political career has been punctuated for a quarter century by trivial gaffes, like her mortifying effort to explain why she had always been a fan of the New York Yankees (she wasn’t) in the effort to appeal to the voters of her adopted home state. She’s made more substantial errors, too. “The other day, the oil companies reported the highest profits in the history of the world,” Clinton said in 2007. “I want to take those profits, and I want to put them into a strategic energy fund.” Clinton spent the next several news cycles explaining that she had no intention of nationalizing American oil companies and confiscating their profits. But what do they say about the Kinsley gaffe? “We’re gonna put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” Clinton declared eight years later. These aren’t policies; they are displays of tribal loyalty for a recklessly anti-energy Democratic base.

A more competent politician can avoid cutting off their nose to keep their ravenous base supplied with red meat.

From Clinton’s séances with the ghost of the late Eleanor Roosevelt, to “what difference does it make”; from the “vast rightwing conspiracy” to galling and brazen lies about landing at a Bosnian airport while taking fire from snipers on the ground; Hillary Clinton’s career in politics is the story of blunders and self-inflicted wounds. Twice the Democratic Party’s likely presidential nominee – groomed for decades to be the first female presidential nominee – she was also nearly twice robbed of the honor. First, by a talented and fresh-faced African-American senator, but the second time by a buffoonish, virtually unknown, septuagenarian career politician from Vermont who dubbed himself an unalloyed socialist.

Clinton heads into the general election as the second most unpopular figure to run for the presidency in modern times. If it weren’t for the fact that she is facing the single most unpopular figure to run for the presidency in modern times, 2016 might not have even been a competitive race. But it is only just that: competitive. Despite Donald Trump’s unique ability to turn off both swing voters and loyal Republicans, Clinton will struggle to win the White House in 2016. For that, she only has herself to blame.

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