A new round of WikiLeaks publications shows how surprised Hillary Clinton’s team was by the astounding rise of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. The former secretary of state, expecting to stroll through the primaries as a formality, found herself scrambling to answer a question she didn’t expect to be asked: Why, exactly, was she running for president in the first place?

From the New York Times:

Stretching over nine years, but drawn mainly from the past two years, the correspondence captures in detail the campaign’s extreme caution and difficulty in identifying a core rationale for her candidacy, and the noisy world of advisers, friends and family members trying to exert influence.

Extreme difficulty identifying a rationale for her candidacy! Gee, shouldn’t you want to be president because you have an idea you think will be good for the nation? That Hillary has spent the last two years struggling blindly to come up with a reason to justify her candidacy – other than “I’m a woman” – should tell you something about her core values. That kindly grandmother on TV talking about helping children would burn down an orphanage if it gave her the Oval Office.

The emails also give insight into some discarded slogans Hillary considered before landing on “Stronger Together.”:

In one 2014 email exchange with top Clinton aides, Roy Spence, a longtime friend and ad maker for Mrs. Clinton, sent over possible slogans to sum up her candidacy.

“Neither change nor continuity but The different way. The new way,” Mr. Spence wrote. He went on: “She champions with clear vision and grit. We will build not the partisans ships. But rather the Ship of State flying the American Dream flag.”


A stroll through any politician’s campaign emails is going to turn up some embarrassing stuff; let’s not kid ourselves about how these machines operate. Every politician is calculating to some degree.

But Hillary is unique, because she should be really clear by now about her political priorities. She shouldn’t have to spend years in deep research, trying to figure out what she should believe in. That’s what you do when you can’t come right out and tell the American people why you’re really running for president.

Oh but Hillary, we already know…