Friday, March 13, 2015

On Never Using Email

Quite a bit of derision has been aimed at Lindsey Graham of South Carolina concerning his assertion that he's never used email. (Of course the moving finger has even now moved on, since Graham has since his email confession asserted that he would hold Congress in session by military force to reinstate the cuts to the defense budget that he voted for--the public is fickle.) Yesterday I saw a long series of captures of Graham's incessant tweets. As though that proved that he did use email. Ha.

What Graham was doing by saying he never used email was invoking the famed "no privacy" rule which he himself helped to craft during the Bill Clinton Impeachment Circus. What the Impeachment of Bill Clinton established was that, in some circumstances, there is no such thing as privacy when it comes to a public figure. Once invoked, the rule tends to apply with some universality. Prior to its being invoked, a public figure may well assume that there is such a thing as privacy, such as in the President's Cloakroom, with the door shut and a willing and comely intern with a few minutes available. We may recall, however, that as the Impeachment ground its way through a once successful, capable, Presidential Administration making every effort to work for all of the American people, the privacy rule not only got Mr. Clinton impeached, it swept Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Livingstone from their august offices as well.

As Livingstone was leaving the building, Mr. Graham wrote a note to himself in invisible ink: Note to self, never email.

Mrs. Clinton has make a perfectly reasonable distinction, between the emails she sent as Secretary of State, and those she sent as Hillary Rodham Clinton, mom, daughter, regular human. She didn't want a bunch of Republicans reading all those personal notes about this and that and including preparations for her mother's funeral and her daughter's wedding, so she quite reasonably deleted them. One can hope that she ran a powerful magnet over the private server's hard drives before tossing the whole damn machine into the compactor down at the car crushing place in White Plains. One hopes she gets to say to Lindsey Graham sometime, up close and personal, in the Senate Cloakroom, "Fuck You, you raging asshole."

But Mr. Graham hints, in his nuanced South Carolina way, that there is no "private" when it comes to a public figure. He nips it in the bud and forgoes email entirely. Too bad Mrs. Clinton didn't do likewise. What's an inquisitive Republican to do? This is the current lay of the political land. And the media, generally, is climbing on board.

There has been far more coverage, this week, of Mrs. Clinton's email, than of a treasonous letter that nearly all the sitting Republican Senators sent to Iran with the aim of destroying critical negotiations, and, ultimately, of laying the groundwork for a war with Iran. Jennifer Rubin, who represents the far right on middle eastern affairs, said this week that what Republicans want is regime change in Iran. "Regime change" is another term for "war." Chris Matthews talked last night of Mrs. Clinton's being unprepared for the Presidency, and of the Democratic Party's fresh new problem: there's no one to replace her as a candidate. In the wings, the red carpet is being unrolled by all the media, right and right center. Jeb Bush, get ready. This would be the Jeb Bush who manipulated a Presidential election in Florida so's his brother could win without the votes, and a Jeb Bush who himself used private email systems and has self-sorted what he wanted the public to see. No problem. He's not married to Bill Clinton.

If Mrs Clinton is sold as un-ready, what's America to do? This is how Al Gore was unsold. And Howard Dean, for that matter. Jim Rome used the manufactured "Dean Scream" as a audio joke on his sports show for years after the non-event. Dean became an occasional pundit on MSNBC.

No one that I've heard has yet pointed out that there is actually no logical difference between what Mrs. Clinton did, in sorting after the fact the personal from the public emails, from what she might have done--kept two different email accounts, one for public, and one for private. That would in effect be sorting as you go. Is there any problem with that?

Only if you play, like Mr. Graham always does, with the no privacy rule. This is, of course, the rule that all successful gangsters use constantly. The phones may be bugged, count on it.


Saturday update: Mark Shields, on PBS last night, said more or less that while all the GOP candidates have almost exactly the same "issue" with email as Mrs. Clinton, that wasn't the point. As I suggested yesterday, the point is that the no-privacy card has been invoked for Mrs. Clinton, and she is to be flogged with this until she screams "what difference does it make!" Shields' GOP counterpart, David Gershon, was talking "destroyed evidence." Mrs. Clinton should just say, with a wry smile, thank you for throwing me in the brer patch, and have a nice private life as she enters her 70s. She's got the damn money to have a decent retirement. She, Bill, and the Obamas might consider all retiring to France and trying some of the excellent bread, cheeze, and wine the French have available in unlimited quantities. None of them need this shit.

I'm serious about the idea of retiring to France:

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