On Tuesday I mentioned having read Hacks by Donna Brazile over Thanksgiving, and that I had many thoughts. I’ve attempted to streamline my popcorn brain to record just a few of them. Then I made nachos and put green veggies on them. Don’t worry, they are amazing and hey, now your mom approves!
The book. First of all, contrary to what has been reported by people who haven’t read the book, this is NOT a Hillary Clinton hit piece or smear job. Not at all, in fact. The book actually begins with Brazile giving almost like a tribute to Hillary, stating all the ways she’s admired her over the years, specifically her work with the Children’s Defense Fund, all the things she learned from Hillary, both as a direct mentee and just by observing her in action. It was touching, really.
Much of the book centers around the Russian hacks of the DNC, and Brazile does an excellent job of detailing the chronology and boiling down the concepts so any technophobe can understand. The biggest thing I can say there is oh holy shit. All this left my jaw on the floor, and me reeling. Every American of all political stripes needs to read something in-depth about the Russian hackings. If not this book, read something else detailing them, but frankly, we should all be infuriated by what happened, and terrified of the future if something is not done to take this problem very, very seriously.
Like I said earlier, definitely not a hit piece, but Brazile is not afraid to call Hillary out on her missteps. She talks throughout about the dumb mistakes her campaign made that ended up costing her, and most of them seemed to come down to arrogance and a sense of entitlement, which I definitely sensed oozing out of her campaign during election season. She had EARNED IT, DAMMIT, and that’s why she should and would win. While I have no beef with Hillary’s resume and qualifications, that’s simply NOT how you win a presidential election. People running for president are supposed to be all about what they plan to do for us. Hillary seemed to think that we should elect her so she could fulfill her own personal ambition of becoming the first woman president of the US, and that shattering that glass ceiling was something tons of people cared about. They don’t. They never did. Now, don’t get me wrong, she absolutely did get so many curveballs thrown at her it’s mind-boggling. Brazile also, to the extent she knows, exposes what an unbelievably DIRTY campaign the Republicans ran. Again, jaw on the floor. But she also points out, in fine detail, that Hillary’s campaign simply didn’t do anything about these setbacks when there were plenty of both time and options. She just seemed to think her resume and the fact that she was a woman would carry her through. That’s not how it works.
The most disconcerting part of the book is certainly the Russian hackings, but coming in a distant second was the revelation of the Clinton campaign’s takeover of the DNC a full year before the primaries even began. This is huge. Brazile does a fine job explaining why this was so wrong, how unprecedented it was, how it flies in the face of SOP’s for the DNC, and how many rules Hillary bent and outright broke to get this done. While not at all illegal, this shenanigan of hers was shady as shit. And frankly, yes, it was an affront to democracy and we should all be angry, not matter how much we supported Clinton. To get a sense of just how stinky this was, imagine that you are up for a promotion to a very specific role in your private company, but others are vying for the spot too. The process is supposed to be as objective as possible, but you somehow manage to surreptitiously get yourself not just on the hiring committee, but also in charge of it. Gee, who do you think will get the promotion? She essentially did rig the primaries in her favor, and well before O’Malley (ever so briefly) or Sanders even came onto the scene. With Hillary already controlling the DNC, she essentially controlled the organization for which the people who would have been her direct competition would be relying on for support and fairness. So it’s no wonder we didn’t see a more robust cast of characters on the Democratic primary stage, despite it being an open election. (It’s also worth noting that the DNC has since passed a resolution forbidding any candidate from doing this again in the future).
Overall, a worthy read. There’s so much more I could write, things that shocked me – like how Clinton treated Brazile during the campaign for one, or the sheer incompetence of Debbie Wasserman Shultz; things that set the record straight (no, Hillary did not buy off any delegates); and so many other details no one really knew at the time. Seeing a real behind-the-scenes picture on how a campaign went down was illuminating and important, and Brazile should be lauded for writing it on those grounds alone. I also admire her for being willing to call Clinton out on her missteps. Every liberal should be just as willing. Yeah it’s hard, because I, like so many others, firmly believe America would be light-years better off with Hillary in the White House right now. But we have to. Otherwise we descend into tribalism and identity politics, both of which are exceedingly dangerous and subversive to our own best interests.
And now, nachos. Enjoy!
1 lb. Brussels sprouts
1 tbs olive oil
8 oz. fresh Mexican chorizo
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 shallots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 (16 oz.) bag blue corn tortilla chips
8 oz. Monterey jack cheese, shredded
Preheat your oven to 400 F.
Pull any tough or damaged outer leaves off the Brussels sprouts, then thinly slice them across to the stem. Discard stems. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the chorizo and cook, breaking up and crumbling it, until cooked through and no traces of pink remain. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving a good tablespoon or two of rendered fat in the pan. Drain on a paper towel lined plate or bowl. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add a drizzle of oil if your chorizo didn’t render much fat. Add the Brussels sprouts, season to taste with salt and pepper and cook until softened and they start getting some nice char on them. Add the shallots and garlic and cook about 2 more minutes, until cooked. Add the vinegar and stir to combine, cooking about 1 more minute.
Line a baking sheet with tortilla chips, in a slightly overlapping single layer. Evenly spread out half the cheese on the chips, then top with the Brussels sprouts. Top the Brussels sprouts with the chorizo, then the rest of the cheese. Place in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling and starting to brown on the edges.