Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Hillary’s E-mail Blast

 

Hillary Clinton bowed to the inevitable yesterday and fielded reporters’ questions regarding her use of private e-mail for both public and private business while serving as U.S. Secretary of State.

About the press conference (which wasn’t a full-fledged “I’m gonna stand here and take every question until you’ve worn yourselves out” — like this one, held by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie during his Bridgegate controversy): the last time Mrs. Clinton was in a bind like this was well over two decades ago, when she gave the famous “pretty in pink” press conference at the White House in hopes of putting a lid on the Whitewater scandal.

Back then, Mrs. Clinton held court for 72 minutes. Yesterday’s presser: a little over 20 minutes, with an abrupt ending.

Some observations:

1) The Good News: She Wasn’t Rusty. Clinton hasn’t taken any questions from reporters since last fall. Still, she was on her game — crisply ticking off why she did what she did. Unfortunately, it was also Mrs. Clinton at her worst — like her husband, when also cornered in a controversy, defensive and falling back on lawyerly skills. For example, she claimed she set up the private system as a matter of “convenience.” It’s hard to believe she was too lazy to carry around an extra BlackBerry (or have a traveling aide lug it). And it won’t fly with reporters who often carry around two devices — one for home, one for work.

2) The Bad News: She’s Still Nixonian. As suggested by some reporters, the Clintons believe the media are out to get them. Thus, we had a line of defense that seemed guarded and nuanced (“I believe I have met all of my responsibilities”), plus protective of what she thinks is her property and not the feds’ (Nixon wouldn’t voluntarily give up his tapes; Hillary’s refusing to surrender her server). Rather than promising transparency, Mrs. Clinton doubled down on secrecy, thus perhaps putting her on a collision course with Congress (more on that in a minute).

3) Tres Trey. Don’t let the bad haircuts and zoot suits fool you. Rep. Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican and chair of the House select committee investigating the Benghazi attack, is also a skilled prosecutor. Not that Servergate is in the same league as Watergate, but the Nixon Administration may not have realized what it was getting when the Senate investigation was led by a North Carolinian who referred to himself as “just an old country lawyer.” Not to overuse the Watergate parallels, but Gowdy already is talking about gaps in Mrs. Clinton’s email records.

4) The Elizabeth Warren Watch. Both the Massachusetts senator and Vice President Biden appeared this week before a D.C. gathering of the International Association of Firefighters, giving her usual shtick about the government doling out subsidies for big corporations while doing less and less for working families. Keep an eye on her travels over the next few weeks, as well as whispering within Democratic circles that maybe Mrs. Clinton needs some earnest competition.

Some additional thoughts:

This Isn’t Going Away. The thrust of Mrs. Clinton’s talking points — that “the vast majority” of her emails went only to State employees and she held back only her private e-mails that are not related to her past job (does she really do yoga?) — doesn’t change anything. At the heart of the controversy is her cherry-picking what she sent to State — as opposed to someone at Foggy Bottom deciding what’s public and what’s private. It would seem that Mrs. Clinton and a Republican Congress are headed for a showdown: demanding (subpoena?) that she let congressional investigators look at the server.

If You’re Going To Get In, Get In Early. The last time she ran for president, Hillary Clinton entered the contest early — in January 2007 (“I’m in and I’m in to win“). But that was a race in which she faced serious competition — namely, then-Sen. Barack Obama, who joined the race the following month. This time around, and absent a perceived threat, the Clinton strategy has been to delay an announcement for as long as possible (originally it was for later this summer; now, maybe in April). Unfortunately, that’s put both the candidate and her campaign in limbo — lots of hires leaked to the press and promises of bringing people on board, but no real structure in place to knock down a bad story like Servergate.

Which leads us to . . .

The Value of Good Communications. The two qualities of the response to the e-mail controversy by Clinton acolytes: hackneyed and potentially long-term toxic. To the former point: nothing says tired politics like trotting out the likes of James Carville, Paul Begala, and Lanny Davis to beat down the media. And by suggesting that the press is working off conservative talking points, it risks setting the stage for a contentious candidate-media relationship over the nearly 20 months until Election Day. If Mrs. Clinton had an actual campaign in place — a press operation recognizing the severity of the problem, and an advisor willing to tell the candidate what she doesn’t want to hear – might Clinton World have kept the controversy from metastasizing?

A Political Decision. The bottom line: Hillary Clinton is a polarizing figure. Her supporters will rally around her; her detractors, if they watched the press conference, will dislike her even more. The question: what about the undecideds and the persuadables? My guess: Clinton will watch her numbers — both head-to-head with Republicans and the public approve/disapprove. If those numbers sag, look for Mrs. Clinton to ease up on the secrecy.

There are 8 comments.

  1. Dan Hanson Thatcher
    Dan Hanson Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    So to be clear: Hillary arranged to set up a private mail server in her home, plus arrange for all the network security that goes with that to make sure it’s secure, plus backup strategies, disaster plans, and secret service protection, all to avoid having to carry around an additional tiny phone. In other words, this is the most ‘convenient’ solution.

    Maybe Hillary’s just been in public service so long that she’s internalized Heinlein’s definition of an elephant: A mouse built to government specifications.

    Or maybe she’s just lying. Is there anyone who doesn’t untuitively know the real reason she did this? It’s because the Clintons are paranoid control freaks who can’t stomach the thought of not controlling every byte of information they produce. Someone like Hillary needs to have the final say as to what’s ‘appropriate’ for others to know about her. No way she was going to let all of her communications be subject to a FOIA request without Hillary Veto Control.

    I would lay odds of at least 3:1 that Hillary will not be the next president. I would lay almost even money on her not even being the Democratic nominee. I don’t think anyone other than the Clintons and their large elite entourage want her. Not the left, not the right. And increasingly, not the center either.

    • #1
    • March 11, 2015, at 12:58 PM PDT
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  2. The Party of Hell No! Inactive

    Update, Update, Update!!!! (See The Daily Caller.) This server is not located in the Clinton’s home, but is located at an address in Manhattan. The idiots at AP believed the mailing address given for the URL used by the Clinton’s was the physical location of the server. Someone more tech savvy followed the IP address using an IP locator easily found on the Internet. Which revealed a “Third Party” location in Manhattan. Oh this is so rich! I can hear the lawyers trying to claim Ms. Hillary has an expectation of privacy and lawyers for the Government pointing out to her lawyers how in the 70’s (Oh the good old liberal days!) the Supreme Court ruled there is no expectation of privacy when third party companies hold customers records. Ouch! This is what is known as unintended consequences and I cannot imagine anyone else more deserved of this unintended consequence than Ms. Clinton. They – Bill and Hillary – are going to rue the day the Supreme Court made this ruling and they are going to rue the day they did not place their mail server actually inside their house. Wait till the World, US, Hillary and Chelsea find out Bill actually does know how to use email and who he has been contacting and and what he has been saying to these people! Maybe we will have reports of a break in at this location as someone (Richard Bluementhal where are you?) trying to remove hard drives.

    • #2
    • March 11, 2015, at 1:53 PM PDT
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  3. MeandurΦ Member
    MeandurΦ Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Why is there a picture of Christopher Walken at the top of this article?

    • #3
    • March 11, 2015, at 3:23 PM PDT
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  4. Dave Sussman Contributor

    • #4
    • March 11, 2015, at 7:16 PM PDT
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  5. Cal Lawton Member
    Cal Lawton Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The Party of Hell No!:Update, Update, Update!!!! (See The Daily Caller.) This server is not located in the Clinton’s home, but is located at an address in Manhattan. The idiots at AP believed the mailing address given for the URL used by the Clinton’s was the physical location of the server. Someone more tech savvy followed the IP address using an IP locator easily found on the Internet. Which revealed a “Third Party” location in Manhattan. […]

    Yeah, um, no.

    IP addresses are not mapped to physical locations, but to the billing (or service) address of the organization its allocated to. Just because the billing address is a monolithic, guard surrounded, government building Midtown, doesn’t mean the computer that is loaded with that ip is physically there. The actual system can be at the other end of T-rated service somewhere in Westchester County, connected to a point-of-presence in the city.

    Besides, Mrs. Clinton stated publicly the system is in her house. After publicly saying she only carries one mobile device. After publicly saying she carries two mobile devices.

    • #5
    • March 12, 2015, at 5:17 AM PDT
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  6. cirby Member

    I’m really not looking forward to having to explain e-mail and computer security concepts to every tech-phobic leftie I know.

    “I use e-mail, so I trust Hilary!”

    “Oh, what kind of e-mail?”

    “Twitter and FaceBook!”

    (FacePalm)

    • #6
    • March 12, 2015, at 5:53 AM PDT
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  7. Atavist Member

    As a Canadian and a foreigner, all I can say is that you Republicans gave up Nixon way too easily.

    • #7
    • March 12, 2015, at 8:53 AM PDT
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  8. Songwriter Member
    Songwriter Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Bill writes: “The bottom line: Hillary Clinton is a polarizing figure. Her supporters will rally around her; her detractors, if they watched the press conference, will dislike her even more.”

    For me, personally, that isn’t true at all. Because it is not humanly possible for me to dislike her more than I already do: With the whole of my being, to the marrow of my bones, from the tip of my head to the soles of my feet. She is loathed by me 100%. There is no room for additional dislike.

    • #8
    • March 12, 2015, at 12:56 PM PDT
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