Let’s start with the transcript of the event itself, just because that is the best starting point. At this juncture so much has been written about it, that it is important to have the stuff itself at hand.
Now that that is done, there are four levels on which this event can be analyzed – Testimonial (Was it truthful and factual?), Regulatory (Is there evidence of violation of laws, regulations, or ethics?), Psychological (WHAT! was she thinking?), and Political (Did this help or hurt her impending candidacy?). Let’s dive in.
Was it truthful and factual?
Not even close. There was the claim that she emailed hubby Bill, when Bill doesn’t do email. She claimed her server was not accessed,and it was. There are inconsistencies in the “convenience” claim. She bragged recently to a group in tech savvy Silicon Valley about“hoarding” devices. And so it goes. For some reason, through the entire episode, the sentence “I did not have sex with that woman,” kept running through my mind. Even bad lawyers would nail Hillary on cross examination (Which tells you something about the press present and how they were managed.)
The event was a fail when it comes to facts and truth-telling. But then that is not new to politics. Regarding the fundamental question of whether she will be a candidate and whether she will succeed as a candidate, there is much yet to know.
Is there evidence of violations of laws, regulations, or ethics?
Well, that all depends on how you define the word “is.”OH, I’m sorry, political flashback. The Obama administration has stated a policy against private emails and an ambassador was fired for using private email. There are questions about differences between suggestions, policy, regulation and law, but come on, even by Hillary’s own admission this was a bad idea.
What is appalling is her claim that she exercised good email practice. In other words she claims to have complied with the spirit of suggestions/policy/regulation/law, even if she did not do so in a way that most people think she should have. PUH-Leeze! As an Environmental, Health and Safety Consultant, I cannot tell you how many people have come to me and said they thought what they were doing was what the regulations required, but that they had been told by the government they were doing it wrong – and were suffering severe consequences for it. Many times they were complying to a large degree with the spirit of the regulation. But in the end it does not matter if they actually polluted or not, what matters is what the government says matters.
Hillary Clinton does not get to be the arbiter of her own practices here. But then, like the facts and the truth, political perception is what counts, and the jury is still out.
What was she thinking?
Virtually everybody analyzes the event as right out of the Bill Clinton 90’s playbook. (Jake Tapper, for example) All of us old enough remember Bill’s Big Lie and delay strategy. But when Bill told those big lies it was with a wink and a nod. The instant he said “I did not have sex with that woman,” everybody knew that he did, but that twinkle in his eye and that smile on his face made a significant portion of the American public proud of him for getting a little on the side.
Hillary on the other hand seems to believe the nonsense she is putting forward. Howard Kurtz says Hillary is “out of the bunker,” but the event reads like she is still deeply inside it; she is just commenting from it. This is more from the Obama imperial playbook than it is from Bill’s wink, wink, nudge, nudge Big Lie scandal management playbook.