Nostalgic for snail mail


It’s official. The interminable election cycle that is the American political system is in full vainglorious upswing.

We know this to be true thanks to the chitter-chatter of various right-wing gadflies and loons in Congress who are now more concerned about the content of a certain, former secretary of state’s emails than their own failures to win the heart and minds of average voters.

Of course, it helps enormously with the auguring of political fortunes to know that the target of recent conservative-minded attacks is none other than Hillary Rodham Clinton.

According to The New York Times last week, the former First Lady and State Department honcho, “exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business. . .and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record. Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.”

What’s more, Clinton has admitted to deleting approximately 30,000 of the 60,000 emails she sent and received while she was secretary of state because, she says, they concerned private matters, such as her daughter’s wedding her mother’s funeral, “condolence notes to friends, as well as yoga routines, family vacations, the other things you typically fin in inboxes.”

Simply, she told a news conference, “I had no reason to save them. . .Everything that would be in any way connected to work is now in possession in the State Department,” adding “No one wants their personal emails made public and I think most people understand that.”

Still according to the Times’ story, “Her expansive use of the private account was alarming to current and former National Archives and Records Administration officials and government watchdogs, who called it a serious breach.”

Indeed, observed one Jason Baron, a lawyer and former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration, for the piece: “It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario short of nuclear winter – where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business.”

Let the piling on commence.

According to Reuters, South Carolina Republican Representative Trey Gowdy is demanding that the former secretary of state testify before Congress about her decision to use a personal server, rather than a government issued one, to conduct official business.

Meanwhile, the news agency wrote, “A spokesman for Speaker John Boehner did not rule out the House seeking to compel Clinton to hand over the server. House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, also a Republican, is prepared to subpoena Clinton to answer questions about her private email accounts, The Wall Street Journal reported.”

Oddly enough, the Atlantic’s online edition reported last week that Bill Clinton says he gave email – still, a rather young technology in the mid-1990s – a wide berth, preferring the more direct human touch (How’d that go for him?)

This is, of course, politics at its most puerile, mere months before Hillary is widely anticipated to officially launch her campaign for the presidency.

But, it is a good indication of entertainment value that this contest promises. Americans love to both sanctify and desecrate their political dynasties.

Who better to taunt and torture than the long-suffering wife of an impeached president – herself, seeking to insert her name into the history books?

You can’t write this stuff.

At least, you certainly shouldn’t email it.

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