Kevin Drum advances a theory!


Clinton's email procedures:
Kevin Drum offers a theory today concerning Hillary Clinton's reasons for handling her email the way she did.

Drum's theory attributes innocent motives to Clinton.
"I'm a partisan," Drum notes near the end of his piece. "I'm keenly aware that I'm motivated to find innocent explanations for Clinton's actions." That said, his theory could be right. That said, we had this basic reaction:

Frankly, we don't care why Clinton did what she did. In the larger scheme of things, this whole fandango is massively trivial. This discussion has persisted for more than a year for two basic reasons:

First, the press corps simply hates discussing matters of substance. They prefer discussing issues of "character," which is press speak for gossip.

Second, they have an enduring story-line about the Clintons' alleged character problems. For reasons which no one has ever made clear, they've been pursuing this favored story-line for more than twenty years.

In 1999, that story-line took a detour through two years of attacks on the alleged character problems of Candidate Gore. Now they're in the final chapter of this morality play.

We're not suggesting that every major journalist is trying to take down Candidate Clinton. That said, the modern press corps' devotion to preferred elite "narratives" is virtually its defining characteristic. In our main reports for the next few weeks, we'll be exploring the Ahabian way the press corps has driven certain story-lines concerning the nation's public schools. In the political realm, we're seeing the Ahabs pursue the fiendish story-line which started with the Whitewater pseudo-scandal.

Drum's theory may be right, but it's a theory about Clinton. Concerning this disastrous twenty-four year morality play, we'll make two more observations:

First, the behavior of our mainstream press corps is bizarre and pathological. Again and again, this phrase comes to mind:

Not recognizably human.

Second, the liberal world has enabled or actively driven this disaster every step of the way. Some liberal gods—think Frank Rich, for one example—have been up to their ears in the wars against both Clintons and Gore. Other liberal journalists have persistently looked away as this lunacy has unfolded.

As for us the liberal rubes, we simply aren't smart enough to play this particular game. Smart enough or tough enough—we simply haven't been able to see the structure of this endless play. We can't seem to see the way our leaders, Drum perhaps included, have persistently sold our interests away in search of career advancement. (It's the mainstream press which has successfully driven these wars, not the right-wing machine.)

When they came for Gore, we let them do it. From that day to this, we agreed that those events must never be discussed. Even when someone did years of work on this fascinating subject, we agreed to avert our gaze from what had so plainly happened. Just this week, Paul Krugman finally broke the spell on this forbidden topic.

Quite correctly, Krugman said it's happening all over again. That said, if we thought President Bush was a bust, we have no one but ourselves to blame for the possible President Trump.

We're dumb and we're ugly and nobody likes us! Our press corps heroes treat us like fools. We used to laugh at the ditto-heads because they let themselves be treated this way. Now, as our President Trump draws near, we are the ditto-heads too!

We know, we know—this can't be right. Here's the big problem:

It is!


  1. Why is the e-mail a big problem? Let's count the reasons:

    1. At best, it demonstrated massive carelessness.
    2. In reality, she pretty clearly violated the law -- a law for which others who took similar actions have been punished.
    3. It was a giant FU to Barack Obama, since the White House had instructed her to use a government e-mail system.
    4. She may have allowed foreign interests to learn confidential information.
    5. She obviously lied when she said her reason was "convenience". It's obvious that her reason was to keep potentially embarassing e-mails out of the public eye.
    6. She (or her spokepeople) lied when they said Colin Powell did the same thing and said that Powell had recommended Clinton's behavior.
    7. She swore under oath that she had made all the non-personal e-mails available. Sub subsequently, thousands of addional non-personal e-mails were discovered. (Is this perjury?)
    8. Her decision to handle the e-mail situation this way suggests that she has something embarassing to hide.
    9. Her answers to FBI questions, released last Friday, show evasions.
    10. If her answers were accurate, they woulds show that she's incredibly ignorant and naive about e-mails and about confidentially measures. If her answers were true, she's not competent to be President. Fortunately, she was probably lying.
    11. Her behavior reinforces a long-held image of Hillary and Bill that they believe the ordinary rules don't apply to them. (Sadly, their escape from scandal after scandal shows that they're right.)
    12. Hillary's decision to use a private server shows that she put her interest above the nation's interest.

    1. 1. No it didn't.
      2. No she didn't.
      3. No it wasn't.
      4. No she didn't.
      5. No she didn't.
      6. No she/they didn't.
      7. No it isn't.
      8. No it doesn't.
      9. No they don't.
      10. Maybe, but not incredibly so. She is. No she didn't.
      11. No it doesn't because the only thing long held about the Clintons is a bullshit narrative that the GOP keeps feeding to the cuck media. (Sadly, CDS wingnuts actually think that there has been one scandal after another since the late 80s and have wasted millions of taxpayer dollars in the futile hope that something - ANYTHING!! - will turn up.)
      12. No it doesn't.

    2. So putting your interest above the nation's interest is wrong now?
      Who is going to tell the GOP?

  2. Amplifying point #11: I have read that Hillary was the only member of Obama's cabinet who failed to use a government server, as instructed. I wonder whether Hilary was the only government employee at any level who was supposed to set up a government e-mail but failed to do so.

    1. Three guesses on where our Trump-troll has read that bullshit. As for what he wonders when it comes to Hillary Clinton, the sky's the limit.

    2. The reports on this use the weasel word "exclusively," suggesting that cabinet and other officials sometimes use personal email but not always. The policy says that any email sent using a personal account must be copied to preserve records. The concern is with records preservation, not with the technical issue of what server or what email account is being used, government or not.

      Government officials are being instructed to preserve their records, not to exclusively use government email. So, I think you are misunderstanding the issue with Clinton's emails.

  3. We have met the enemy--and he is us.

  4. Speak for yourself.

    1. Yeah, if those other people are too stupid to recognize how great I am (and my awesome understanding of how politics *really* work), then it's their problem. Not mine.

  5. 7:23, regarding #10, Clinton told the FBI she didn’t know emails marked ‘C’ were confidential.

    When asked about an email chain containing “C’’ markings during her tenure as Secretary of State, Clinton “speculated it was referencing paragraphs marked in alphabetical order.” instead of the obvious designation for confidential or classified data.
    Clinton didn’t know the difference between the government’s classifications of TOP SECRET, SECRET, and CONFIDENTIAL. In fact, she told the FBI that she “did not pay attention to the ‘level’ of classification and took all classified information seriously.”

    As I said, if she was telling the truth, she's incompetent. Fortunately, she was probably lying.

  6. DinC:

    If you read Somerby's blog (and presumably the links he has to Kevin Drum's work on HRC's use of a private email server while at the State Dept.), you know most of the stuff you are linking to about them isn't true. Why do you insist on posting it here in the comments?

  7. hardindr -- the fact the Hillary claimed not to know what "c" stood for was reported in a reputable (albeit conservative) newspaper, as cited above. They quoted Hillary's words from her FBI questioning.

    I think I could find cites for all 11 points above, but I'm busy catching up today. The first point is just a paraphrase of what the head of the FBI said publicly.

    Regarding #3, Factcheck reported
    The IG report cited department policies dating to 2005 that require “normal day-to-day operations” to be conducted on government servers, contrary to Clinton’s claim that her server was allowed. It also said she “had an obligation” to discuss her email system with cybersecurity officials, but there’s “no evidence” that she sought or received their approval.
    The IG report said Clinton should have turned over her emails before she left office — not 21 months after she left. “[S]he did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act,” the report said.
    Clinton has said her emails “were captured and preserved immediately on the system at the State Department” because she emailed department officials at their government accounts. The IG report said that is “not an appropriate method of preserving any such emails that would constitute a Federal record.”...

    the IG report said the comparison to Powell — who did not use a private server — only goes so far. It said during Clinton’s tenure, the rules governing personal email and the use of nongovernment systems were “considerably more detailed and more sophisticated,” citing specific memos that warned department employees about the security risks of not using the government system.

    1. Okay, I can see that his will get me nowhere. If you want, you can read this article by Fred Kaplan that lays out that there isn't anything to the Clinton email "scandal" (Bob has linked to this before, so I am sure you have seen it):

      Kevin Drum's posts on Hillary's email scandal can be found here:

      With the latest one here:

    2. You might as well ask the troll to stick pins in his eyes.

    3. Well, I started Kaplan's and found it unconvincing. In a way, I'd be happy to spend a couple of hours laying out the flaws in his argument. But, I don't have time today, and I don't know where to post it so that you'd receive it. Based on a cursory glance, I cannot see where Kaplan refutes any of the specific points I listed. Maybe he does so later in the article or maybe Drum does so. As I said, I just don't have time today to study and analyze those articles.

    4. You "started" it? It's 17 paragraphs! You've written 1700 paragraphs about this subject just here on this blog. You lie a lot more than Clinton.

  8. 2:13 -- I feel like I'm being invited to teach a class in critical thinking. OK, here's your homework.

    E-mail critics have made the following claims:
    1. Hillary broke the rules by not having a government server.
    2. Hillary had info on her private server that ought to have been kept confidential.
    3. Hillary told the FBI that she didn't know that "c" stood for confidential or classified. She said she thought it might have been an alphabetic designation.

    Here's the homework: Go through the sources listed by hardindr and see if these claims are specifically refuted. I believe you'll find that they aren't.

    1. One simple rule of critical thinking is that repeating the same factually unsupported conclusions over and over does not make them true. You'd be as big a failure as a teacher as you are a critical thinker.

    2. DinC,

      Here's a puzzler for you: how many times do you have to lie to become a liar? Do the lies have to have consequence?

      If by being a liar, it is meant that one has a character flaw whereby one tells untruths habitually, the press is calling the wrong candidate a liar.

      What the FBI thinks are gotchas, are hardly an indication that Hillary was caught in a lie.

      There is a difference between finding a punctuation error in the manuscript of the Gettysburg Address, and understanding the lies in this:

      "My fellow citizens. At this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger."

  9. 1) Frank Rich is a "liberal god?" Did not know that.
    2) "We let them do it?" What exactly was it "we" were supposed to do to stop them?

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