“I’ve had a lot of bad ideas in my life, but none as immortalized as this one”
Election night 2016 was something to behold. The mood on CNN and MSNBC went from delighted anticipation to downright funereal in a matter of hours. Apparently, former ambassador Samantha Power had an election watching party that night. Oh, to be a fly on the wall.
Power spoke of the event during an interview with Susan Glasser of Politico:
Glasser: Well, yes, actually, okay. So, Samantha, we might as well start with that, then, probably the most memorable scene to some people certainly—this incredible moment of election night in your big apartment in New York City, where you’re the ambassador to the United Nations. Tell us about that scene.
Power: Well, I’ve had a lot of bad ideas in my life, but none as immortalized as this one. I decided on election night to invite the 37 women ambassadors to the U.N., many of whom face struggles in their own foreign service, or at the U.N. of a kind that, as an American, I never did. And I thought what an amazing night for them. I mean, that’s what America represents to the world, when a glass ceiling is shattered in our country, it creates a whole new sense of possibility for people everywhere.
And so, I invited them. Most of them came, and we gathered with Madeleine Albright, our first woman secretary of state; Gloria Steinem, who is not only an icon here, of course, but all around the world, and we went through the same process, if you want to call it that, that so many people did at their election parties.
Many have speculated that the 2016 election sparked a form of mental illness in some people on the left. This interview fuels speculation over that.
Beckett Adams of the Washington Examiner rounds up some of the best moments:
Samantha Power’s account of her 2016 election watch party is either the saddest or the funniest thing you’ll read today
To be clear: Power’s greatest fear that evening was that it would be over too soon and that she wouldn’t have a proper chance to play uber-hostess.
“I wanted to milk the soft power dividend of this moment,” she told Politico.
We’re going to pause for a moment to let you reflect on the phrase “milk the soft power dividend of this moment.” Is there a better example of the sort of substance-free drivel that makes professional bureaucrats (and especially diplomats) sound so utterly ridiculous to the rest of the world?
At her 2016 viewing party, Power continued, “you really see what so many people went through, which was all of that sense of promise and excitement, and frankly, a dose of complacency. And then, it slowly dawning on us that not only was this going to be much closer than anybody anticipated, but that it was not going to end well.”
She add, “And for me, every time I see that, I am haunted most, actually, by the images of my children, who were running around the apartment for much of the night, but when the election is called, my daughter, who at that time is four, is just lying in my lap, kind of like this pale, Irish statue, and there’s something about the way she’s lying, I don’t know, that just makes her look like she’s the one who’s going to inherit … what he does is on her, right?”
The line about her desire to ‘milk the soft power dividend’was roundly mocked on Twitter:
That is how I imagine Vox editorial meetings sound.
— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) January 15, 2018
Folks, next time you’re embarrassed that you did a silly thing, feel smart with this POWERFUL justification:
“I wanted to milk the soft power dividend of this moment”
— Micah Meadowcroft (@Micaheadowcroft) January 15, 2018
That’ll be the tagline for the HBO doc
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) January 15, 2018
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