Why didn’t Clinton set up two email addresses for herself, one for her personal emails, the other for her work emails, on @clintonemail.com? Just wondering.*
In many ways, [Clinton] did a good job at her press conference on Tuesday. The part of her speech talking about her daughter’s wedding and her mother’s funeral arrangements being off limits, that certainly resonated. She absolutely was right when she said, “No one wants their personal e-mails made public.”
— Hillary Clinton Is Turning Into Richard Nixon and Bill Belichick, Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, today
One thing that surprises me about analyses of Clinton’s press conference is the apparent consensus among pundits, including some liberal ones who are not supportive of her, that she was effective in gaining empathy for her desire to keep her personal emails from public view, so that no one wonders why, then, she (unlike most people who work for organizations) chose to commingle her personal and work emails not just on one server but in a single email account. She was, after all, absolutely right when she said, “No one wants their personal e-mails made public.” Ergo, ….
No dispute whatsoever: No one wants their personal e-mails made public. Which is why (presumably) most people who work for organizations—private or government—take pains to separate their private correspondence from their work correspondence, by using their work email account mostly* for work-related correspondence, and their personal account entirely or almost entirely for personal emails.
They do this, of course, simply by using two separate email accounts. Which Clinton had the option to do while still conveniently not having to carry two phones with her. She couldn’t use a State Department-ssued phone for a private account. And she couldn’t use her private phone for @state.gov emails. But she could have set up two private email addresses for herself on her family’s private server.
Say: email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org.
I keep expecting someone to point this out, but to my knowledge no one in the media has.
I doubt, though, that it has escaped anyone but political pundits that it was Clinton herself who chose to commingle her personal and work emails in a single account. Did it not occur to her that all she had to do in order to use only one phone while keeping her personal and work emails in separate accounts was to use two separate @clintonemail.com addresses?
I’ve never thought that Hillary Clinton, unlike her husband, is exceptionally bright. But neither did I think she was stupid. And I still don’t think so. I think she just thinks everyone else is. And some people who aren’t stupid do seem to be accommodating her, at least on this point.
If you, Hillary Rodham Clinton, are willing to cite your mother’s funeral to get sympathy for illadvisedly deleting 30,000 emails, it just makes us want to sigh: O.K., just take it. If you want it that bad, go ahead and be president and leave us in peace. (Or war, if you have your hawkish way.) You’re still idling on the runway, but we’re already jetlagged. It’s all so drearily familiar that I know we’re only moments away from James Carville writing a column in David Brock’s Media Matters, headlined, “In Private, Hillary’s Really a Hoot.” …
None of what you said made any sense. Keeping a single account mingling business and personal with your own server wasn’t about “convenience.” It was about expedience. You became judge and jury on what’s relevant because you didn’t want to leave digital fingerprints for others to retrace. You could have had Huma carry two devices if you really couldn’t hoist an extra few ounces. You insisted on piggybacking on Bill’s server, even though his aides were worried about hackers, because you were gaming the system for 2016. (Or even 2012.)
— An Open Letter to email@example.com, Maureen Dowd, New York Times, tonight
As I said here a few days ago, I myself don’t really care about Clinton’s emails. I do care that we’re apparently never going to gain any traction on the issues that I, and most economic-progressives, do care about, because our nominee is someone whose life—whose silly personal controversies—will always suck the air from any discussion of actual substantive policy.
It is not Clinton’s fault that we now have a zillionaires-determine-the-presidential-nominees system. But she has aggressively mastered that system, albeit with the acquiescence of virtually the entire party apparatus and certainly of the zillionaire queenmakers. Even just a single gutsy zillionaire could signal the party’s openness to someone who would be terrific: Sherrod Brown or Jeff Merkley, maybe. But there are no gutsy Democratic zillionaires; they’re all already in Clinton’s “camp.”
Updated 3/14 at 9:39 p.m.
*In light of the following exchange between reader Thornton Hall and me in the comments thread to this post, I changed the word “only” to “mostly”:
Thornton Hall March 15, 2015 5:52 pm
Oh goodness. Has no one else been consigned to the hell known as “doc review”? Among legal temps who have gone through the inboxes of every corporate executive of every private company that’s ever been sued or tried to merge with another private company, this question is just dumb. It is characteristic of the human species that they use their work email for personal emails. Asking why is like asking why beavers build dams. It’s just the natural order of things, no matter how many times the general counsel tries to stop it.
Me March 15, 2015 8:30 pm
Well, OKAY, Thornton. But THEY’RE not subject to National Records Act and FOIA provisions REQUIRING THEM, if they choose not to use the agency’s email system, to place their work-related emails from their private accounts onto the agency’s server for the very purpose of enabling much of the emails to become public, either in the National Archives or through a FOIA request.
Wayyyy harder to comply with those requirements if you have tens of thousands of private and work-related emails commingled in a single account. And presumably, the private-company executives recognize that they are the ones who risked their own loss of privacy regarding their private emails, by using the company’s email server and the executive’s work email account.
Clinton apparently doesn’t recognize that she herself was the one who created the privacy issue for herself. Clinton used her private email account for all her work emails; she didn’t use her work email account for private emails.
3/16 at 1:01 p.m.