Hillary is stuck in a bad news loop that’s feeding voraciously off itself

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL September 20, 2015

hillary clintonHere’s the news about Hillary Clinton.

(P.S.: You knew it already. It’s not really news.)

Hillary Clinton is stuck in a so-called “poll-deflating feedback loop”.

According to David Weigel of The Washington Post, voters are hearing about only three types of Clinton stories, all of them with negative implications for her.

First, stories about the scandal surrounding the private email server she used as secretary of state.

Second, stories about her declining poll numbers.

Third, stories about vice president Joe Biden’s ruminations about entering the race to be the Democratic Parrty’s nominee for president.

These waves of bad-news stories are affecting the way voters, the media and the world view Mrs Clinton’s prospects.

What that cancels out is some truly heartwarming aspects about Hillary, the woman, the mother.

For one, her daughter’s warm relationship with her. A few weeks ago, Chelsea Clinton’s letter to her powerful parents right after the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake was made public. (Click here for the whole text or just the fragment I’ve given at the end of this post.)

Mainly, one feels massive regret for all that wasted work. If only Bill Clinton (as Special Envoy for Haiti and who was leading relief efforts) and Hillary (as Secretary of State) had listened to Chelsea’s warning  that international relief efforts in Haiti seemed to be heading for disaster.

the three clintonsBut what’s equally apparent is the genuine candour (and trust) that Chelsea felt towards her mother (and father, but that’s another story).

Here’s the context of Chelsea’s letter to Hillary (and Bill):

  • It was one of 4,368 documents totaling 7,121 pages, posted online on August 31 by the US State Department
  • The regular tranches are part of a monthly disclosure ordered by a court after the revelation that  Mrs Clinton had used a private email server while she was secretary of state.
  • After this latest release, the State Department says a quarter of Mrs Clinton’s Sec-State emails have been made public


To: Dad, Mom

Cc: Cheryl, Doug, Justin

There is a context section at the bottom, which is longer than I would like, but I

think it is important to articulate what I saw and whom I spoke with (and what I

didn’t see and whom I didn’t meet) so that you understand my data set and its clear

limitations. To say I was profoundly disturbed by what I saw – and didn’t see –

would be an understatement. The incompetence is mind numbing. Not incidentally,

it rained twice while I was there. If we do not quickly change the organization,

management, accountability and delivery paradigm on the ground, we could quite

conceivably confront tens of thousands of children’s deaths by diarrhea, dysentery,

typhoid and other water-related diseases in the near future. Below are my major

takeaways and a few nascent/early thoughts on what we (however we define we)

could do to drive significant and incremental improvements on the ground in the

near and longer term. As is often said, if I had more time – and less emotion – I

would have written a shorter letter. I hope this mini-behemoth is not rife with

grammatical errors or inadvertent gaps; I am sorry if either true.

Please do not forward this in whole or in part attributed to me without asking me

first – happy to be an invisible soldier. Mainly hope this is even marginally helpful.