The Speech Hillary Won’t Give

My fellow Americans:

I am going to level with you about the e-mail controversy.

I did not have inappropriate e-mail with that server."

“I did not have inappropriate e-mail with that server…”

No, really, this time.

There is a kind of personality that finds it hard to admit making a mistake, let alone wrongdoing. The ego gets in the way. And I have come to recognize this in myself. Well, the first step in fixing a problem is to see that you’ve got one.

Let me start with something obvious – America has bitter political divisions. And there is an unfortunate tendency to believe people you disagree with are not just wrong but wicked – which contributes mightily to government dysfunction. Alas, I now realize that I myself have fed this syndrome.

So when the e-mail controversy began, I waved it off as just more political crap, a nefarious effort by my foes to cook up points against me – you know, “the vast right wing conspiracy.” Well, it is a fact that many people do hate me and my politics, and will do anything to bring me down. However – there’s a big difference between that and pursuing a legitimate issue. I have failed to recognize and respect that difference (until now).

Since 2009 federal regulations require all e-mails be preserved as part of an agency's record-keeping system

Since 2009 federal regulations require all e-mails be preserved as part of an agency’s record-keeping system

So let me be clear, once and for all, with no more defensiveness, self-righteousness, dismissiveness, political posturing, or legalistic hair-splitting: my handling of my State Department e-mails was wrong.

There. I’ve said it.

Let me be more specific. The key point is that in America we have a fundamental principle of open government; and that applies to communications by public officials on public business. I should have realized I was violating that principle by using a private server, under my exclusive personal control, for my State Department e-mails. And that it would look like I was hiding something. Me – Hillary – hiding something? Who could imagine such a thing? (You do understand irony.)

And then – then – after this thing blew up, and I was indeed accused of hiding something – what did I do? I erased all the e-mails that I – yes, I alone, with no oversight – judged to be personal. The nation was supposed to just take my word that they were personal. And then I had the server wiped clean, to make sure those thousands of e-mails could never be seen. Hiding something? Who, me? What was I thinking?

Me, who served on the Watergate committee, and well remembered the infamous 18-1/2 minute erasure on Nixon’s White House tapes.

Unknown-1Now, I have tried to explain before why I thought what I did made sense at the time. I could go through all that again, but you know what? To quote a certain Secretary of State, “What difference does it make now?” Because the bottom line is that for all my rationalizations, it was a big boo-boo, and if I could have a do-over, I’d do things differently.

Well. Whew. This has been hard for me. But I feel better now. Confession is cathartic. And the silver lining in making mistakes is that you can learn from them. Let me tell you, I’ve learned a big lesson – which I truly feel will make me a better person, and a better public servant, in the future.

images-1Let us now move forward and see what we can do about tackling together the challenges our nation faces.

So please, please, please forgive and forget, and give me power, you goddamned bunch of ingrates, saps and morons . . . is this mike still on? Oh shit.

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5 Responses to “The Speech Hillary Won’t Give”

  1. Lee Says:

    Unfortunately we pick leaders who *appear* to have no flaws, giving tremendous incentive to the candidates to hide any flaws. I don’t see this speech or one like it ever coming from any of the candidates. And all the candidates do have flaws.

    Not that it excuses this particular flaw but I find this law, which treats e-mail messages differently from phone calls, to be deeply flawed in itself. The two are used for the same purposes and, IMHO, it is inappropriate to place phone calls or e-mail messages in the public record.

  2. rationaloptimist Says:

    “I don’t see this speech . . . ” Maybe so, which indeed is why I used the title I did. It’s totally outside the mindset of Hillary and her handlers/advisers. Yet in fact if Hillary gave a speech like this, it would boost her candidacy immensely! (In my opinion as a longtime observer of American politics.)

  3. Lee Says:

    Well, it looks like she is trying, but I am willing to give 10-to-1 odds that it does not satisfy you. I maintain that it is not possible for her to satisfy most of her detractors in this regard and that ‘fessing up can only hurt her.

    In my opinion as a longtime observer of American politics, I suggest that from most successful to least successful the responses for bad behaviors are:

    1. Proudly owning your continuing bad behavior. E.g. Trump and bigotry towards Mexican immigrants. Cheney and his no-bid contracts to Halliburton.
    2. Denying that you ever were bigoted. E.g., Clinton’s approach to her e-mail scandal, at least initially.
    3. Fessing up to a mistake. E.g. Carter and malaise.

    You have suggested that I am not a typical voter, so it might not surprise you that I personally put the list upside down. People who can admit their mistakes are my kind of people. Barring that, people who are at least ashamed of their past actions enough to try to make them disappear are passable. People who proudly continue their bad behaviors are not my candidates.

  4. rationaloptimist Says:

    But seriously, I think my Hillary speech struck the right note. Not “proudly owning continuing bad behavior” but willingness to admit she made a mistake. This would combat a big part of the negative sense of her that many voters have, and to a considerable degree neutralize the e-mail issue, making her more electable. As it stands now, my sense is that Hillary is such a damaged candidate that if the Republicans nominate a halfway reasonable candidate, she will lose.
    I disagree that “it looks like she is trying.” She is not remotely doing what my speech would do. While it was tongue-in-cheek, I crafted it carefully as a speech that Hillary would truly benefit from giving.

  5. Alethia Broeckel Says:

    r u certain that is definitely correct?

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