It's Okay to Laugh: Hillary Clinton Waiting Her Whole Life to Be President Only to Lose to Donald Trump Is Still Grimly Hilarious

April 9, 2019

Hillary Clinton spent nearly her entire adult life on a desperate quest for power and money. She stood by as her horny husband achieved both, and longed to escape his crooked shadow, to step into the spotlight on her own, to make history.

Political success was insufficient. Overcome with rage and class envy — at having so much raw power and prestige yet still having to debase herself before the altar of America's financial elite — she vowed to abandon all shame in her crusade to join their ranks.

She would take their money: $675,000 from Goldman Sachs, $505,000 from Deutsche Bank, $265,000 from the National Association of Convenience Stores, $250,000 from Drug Chemical and Associated Technologies, 225,500 each from the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, the International Deli-Dairy-Bakery Association, and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. And so on. She would taunt them with her massive endowment.

Hillary made her millions, and flaunted her corrupt foundation, but not before her White House dreams were shattered by a young punk with a funny name. She'd paid her dues, she was likable enough, and would be ready on day one. It was her time. Until it wasn't. She served diligently and surreptitiously as Secretary of State, scraping by on $210,700 a year, and watched the rookie President Barack Obama pussyfoot his way around the Middle East. She quit her job to get that money. Being president only pays $400,000.

After eight years, it really was Hillary's turn. Her team of geniuses even considered using that as a campaign slogan. She carpet-bombed the field of potential challengers, and finally won her party's nomination despite a surprisingly stiff challenge from a rickety socialist. Meanwhile, Donald Trump went all Kool-Aid Man on the Republican establishment and accidentally won the GOP nomination. She couldn't possibly lose. Until she did.

Hillary ran for president because, after all she'd had to put up with, she deserved it — to go down in history as the first female president. She'd declare victory under an actual glass ceiling in New York City, and blast little shards of "glass" confetti into the air. She'd earned it. The power. The prestige. Not to mention the staggering advance on her first post-White House memoir. Bill might even be jealous, for once.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, was possessed of a different sort of ambition. He ran for president so the national media would have to point its cameras at him when he spoke. Even he couldn't have imagined how compliant they turned out to be. Maybe he just wanted a bigger "Apprentice" contract from NBC. He didn't want or need the job. Hillary would've held tedious cabinet meetings, stayed up late reading wonky white papers, and come up with creative new ways to funnel money to Sidney Blumenthal. Trump just wanted to watch people talk about him on TV and come up with catchy nicknames for his enemies.

From Hillary's perspective, the 2016 election was even more humiliating than Virginia's historic loss to 16-seeded University of Maryland Baltimore County. It was like losing to a troupe of gangly, trust-fund performance artists from Julliard who accidentally staged an encore of their senior thesis project, "Basketball," at the wrong venue.

Now imagine this happening to a despised heavyweight like Duke, alma mater of disgraced President Richard Nixon and celebrity white nationalist Richard Spencer, among others. That's what happened to Hillary. From the perspective of normal, well-adjusted individuals, it was a moment of devastating hilarity, and still is. When the sun rose on Election Day 2016, Hillary was all but assured of achieving her lifelong dream. When the results finally came in, she was the candidate who lost to Donald Trump.

All of this is to say that HBO's "Veep" is back for its final season, and it's hilarious. Also, it's still okay to laugh at Hillary Clinton, because if you enjoy the show you've probably laughed at plenty of jokes made at her expense. The parallels between Hillary and the privately ruthless, publicly inept Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) are obvious. The character frequently evokes Kate McKinnon's portrayal of Hillary's dark side on "Saturday Night Live" — the entitled super-villain who loathes the American public for refusing to give her what she deserves.

This season's first episode includes a scene in which Selina, preparing to announce her fourth presidential run, struggles to write a speech explaining why she wants to be president. After growing increasingly frustrated, she dictates a Hillaryesque rant to Gary (Tony Hale), her subservient Huma Abedin equivalent:

You know what I would like to tell people, but obviously I can't? I should be president because it is my goddamn turn. I was a game changer. I took a dump on the glass ceiling, and I shaved my muff in the sink of the old boys club. . .So as far as I'm concerned, America owes me an eight-year stay in the White House, and this time I want a war.

Having gotten that out of her system, Selina tells Gary to "just put down something about how I want to give the American people a better deal or some fucking crap like that." And once again, "Veep" proves why it is still by far the most accurate fictional portrayal of America's political system. And that's why it makes us laugh. And that's okay.