NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, December 11th, 2017

LIVE from Seattle: Hillary Clinton comes to the Paramount to discuss “What Happened?”

Good evening from Seat­tle’s Para­mount The­atre! Wel­come to our live cov­er­age of for­mer U.S. Sen­a­tor and Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Clin­ton’s Seat­tle stop on her book tour for Clin­ton’s 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign mem­oir What Hap­pened.

Here’s the syn­op­sis of the tour:

Join Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton this fall as she trav­els the Unit­ed States. She’ll con­nect with audi­ences in a con­ver­sa­tion about a sto­ry that’s per­son­al, raw, detailed and sur­pris­ing­ly fun­ny. She’ll take you with her on her jour­ney and talk about What Hap­pened, what’s next, and what’s on your mind. What you’ll see will be her sto­ry – Live. Her sto­ry of resilience, how to get back up after a loss, and how we can all look ahead. It’s about Hillary’s expe­ri­ence as a woman in pol­i­tics — she lets loose on this top­ic, and oth­ers, in a way she nev­er has before.

Clin­ton has claimed 2016 was her final cam­paign for elect­ed office, and at least for those in the room, there seems to be more antic­i­pa­tion to hear from her than peo­ple in Salt Lake City or Fort Worth would have been for Mitt Rom­ney in 2013 or for that mat­ter any­one was for John Ker­ry in 2005.

6:15 PM: Tonight is set to have at least two sur­pris­es. The event is set to begin at 7:30 PM Pacif­ic, but we’re not sure yet which of the two chairs Sec­re­tary Clin­ton will be sit­ting in for the event, or even who’ll be sit­ting in the oth­er chair.

For now, media are get­ting set­tled in as much as can be done in the cor­ner, and, per­haps because of the attempt­ed ter­ror attack in New York City this morn­ing, the Secret Ser­vice and secu­ri­ty asked every­one with cre­den­tials to get in no lat­er than an hour and a half before the start of the event for wand-waves and bad search­es.

At the moment, Clin­ton is meet­ing with VIP tick­et hold­ers, list­ed at $500 to $650 at face val­ue. This is quite a dis­count from last Octo­ber when sim­i­lar access to the even­tu­al U.S. pop­u­lar vote win­ner would have cost about 40 times more.

6:45 PM: In addi­tion to the two pink-lit stairs on stage, there are three book­shelves show­ing off more than fifty copies of her book, and anoth­er great mound stacked on tables on the way in the audi­to­ri­um.

For what­ev­er easy jabs about tick­et prices and those will­ing to pay a few hun­dred dol­lars to speak, get a book signed by, and take a pic­ture with a polit­i­cal celebri­ty, an answer to that title is some­thing many peo­ple here clear­ly are look­ing for.

7 PM: Dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign, like many peo­ple, I was a polit­i­cal junkie. It was the best show in town and more­over, every­one on the side of Good and Decent Things expect­ed polling was reli­able, and enough Amer­i­cans would reject the uni­form awful­ness of the GOP nom­i­nee that there was no way he could win.

We were right about the first part; they just all lived in or had moved to the wrong places. The rea­son those cam­paign fundrais­ers cost upwards of $27,000 a tick­et is that mon­ey can eas­i­ly cross state lines, but not votes.

But, there was so much con­tent to be con­sumed, not just the Live Every Day Dra­ma of Twit­ter and WaPo bombs and shouty cable news pan­els, but also back in time. The Howard Stern inter­views of a brag­gart grop­er made good hate-watch­ing, but Sec­re­tary Clin­ton had many of her own high­lights, espe­cial­ly her Hard Choic­es book tour fol­low­ing her depar­ture from the State Depart­ment.

We rarely got to see the easy con­fi­dence and wit Clin­ton was capa­ble of when, for exam­ple, she sat down to talk to Google’s Eric Schmidt.

It’s lit­er­al­ly impos­si­ble to imag­ine the cur­rent com­man­der-in-chief talk­ing about the Syr­i­an Civ­il War, or any geopo­lit­i­cal top­ic with the knowl­edge and self-reflec­tion Clin­ton demon­strates in that brief talk.

Which is all to say, I’m one of those peo­ple very much look­ing for­ward to what Clin­ton has to say, and to see how she feels now that it looks increas­ing­ly like his­to­ry will view her as a Cas­san­dra for what her oppo­nen­t’s pres­i­den­cy would look like.

7:15 PM: There are sub­stan­tial­ly few­er pink March for Women hats than I would have antic­i­pat­ed (we’ve seen at least two peo­ple wear­ing them).

But in wa,y I’m not sur­prised because so far the crowd appears to be pret­ty gray-haired and pre­dom­i­nant­ly female. From the the cor­ner of the the­ater we’re sta­tioned in, it’s tough to see if the bal­cony has some more peo­ple rel­a­tive­ly unbur­dened by years and there­fore mul­ti-dig­it­ed bank accounts, but it’s easy to see why Clin­ton’s cam­paign res­onat­ed so per­son­al­ly with so many women across the U.S. before the glass ceil­ing cracked and would­n’t quite break.

7:30 PML In the con­text of so many wide­ly pub­li­cized accounts of sex­u­al harass­ment and abuse, it’s pos­si­ble Clin­ton will open up more about her own expe­ri­ences deal­ing with harass­ment and gen­er­al misog­y­ny through­out her life, but doing so means breath­ing on the haunt­ed mir­ror that spells out words like J u a n i t a and b l u e d r e s s. “How can Clin­ton claim to talk about harass­ment when her own hus­band—”

The hall is near­ly filled up now, but the lights still haven’t dimmed.

7:45 PM: It may not be pos­si­ble to find this out, but I’d be awful­ly curi­ous whether this crowd match­es up more with Clin­ton vot­ers or donors in 2015–2016, and how it match­es with, say, a pro­gres­sive rock show like King Crim­son. (Stay strong Dave.)

This hall does not, at first glance, seem to be a rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ple of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s base, even though Seat­tle real­ly, real­ly pre­ferred Clin­ton rel­a­tive to her oppo­nent. But this is def­i­nite­ly not a snap­shot of the city as a whole. Why it would be or ought to be, are prob­a­bly entire­ly too dis­cur­sive, even for this.

7:47 PM: Mod­er­a­tor Anne Lam­ott intro­duced Hillary Clin­ton by say­ing, “Please join me in wel­com­ing the woman who said Yes,” to thun­der­ous cheers and a pro­longed stand­ing ova­tion from the crowd.

Clin­ton opened by remark­ing that in the past, she often felt like she need­ed to be cau­tious and hold some­thing back, but “those days are over.”

Loud cheers and applause fol­lowed.

Clin­ton said her book look­ing back is about things that were frus­trat­ing like the chap­ter “Those Damn Emails”, but also the moments she wants to trea­sure like stand­ing on stage to receive the Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­na­tion.

Writ­ing a book is often a painful process, but ulti­mate­ly cathar­tic, Clin­ton said. She talked about four things that helped her recov­er from the elec­tion:

  1. The knowl­edge that every­one gets knocked down at some point or anoth­er; and what mat­ters is whether you get back up;
  2. Spend­ing time with fam­i­ly and grand­kids instead of suc­cumb­ing to the temp­ta­tion to pull up the cov­ers in the morn­ing;
  3. Read­ing a lot of books, espe­cial­ly mys­ter­ies, because in those the bad guy usu­al­ly gets it in the end;
  4. Not hes­i­tat­ing to relax with a glass of Chardon­nay.

Clin­ton also talked about the impor­tance faith has for her. There’s too much at stake for any­one to sit on the side­lines. Peo­ple have to con­tin­ue speak­ing out, she said. There are peo­ple who need us to advo­cate for them. Like the chil­dren and fam­i­lies who will be hurt by Con­gress’ fail­ure to reau­tho­rize CHIP.

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