‘My Dear Friend’
Inside the New Hillary Clinton Emails: All the Secretary’s Yes Men
Not all of the 7,000 new Clinton emails are sycophantic missives seeking approval, begging for favors, or heaping praise—but there are plenty.
Hillary Clinton has long had an army of yes men at her disposal, begging to be tasked with something to do—and they are on full display in a new batch of emails released by the State Department.
Tucked within the roughly 7,000 missives are exchanges with her merry band of misfit toys—including, but not limited to, Sid Blumenthal, who was reportedly barred from working at State by the Obama administration, and Lanny Davis, Bill Clinton’s former White House special counsel. In their emails to her they flatter, cajole, schmooze, and exchange gossip in an effort to get one inch closer to Clinton royalty—ethics and dignity be damned.
In one exchange, Davis prostrates himself before the secretary of state and begs her to throw him a bone.
He grovels for a favor in a 2010 email with the subject line “Personal.”
“[A] personal favor My dear friend Hillary: I hate to email you too much and to ask you for any favors,” Davis writes before proceeding to ask her for a favor. “I feel as if I am taking advantage of a great privilege that you allow me to send you a personal email every so often. But this is a favor that I fully understand for 100 reasons might not be appropriate or comfortable for you to say yes to.”
Davis launches into a long-winded diatribe about an article that is going to be written about his law firm and humbly requests that Clinton say nice things about him—but not before telling her she is nearly as important to him as his own wife.
“Aside from Carolyn, my four children, and my immediate family, I consider you to be the best friend and the best person I have met in my long life,” Davis writes. “You know that from the dedication and appreciation of you I have always felt and expressed to you over four decades. So that is why your comments would mean a lot to me, even if just a written statement.”
It is unclear whether Davis sealed this digital letter with a kiss.
“So my question to you, good friend Hillary, is: Would you be willing to talk personally to the reporter?” he begs, finally.
Blumenthal, long a loyal footman, sent Clinton a missive on Feb. 13, 2010, asking about Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation. Blumenthal dives right in and informs Clinton of many important facts about Clemons—including an all-important bit about his sexuality.
“Clemons runs the foreign policy program at New America Foundation, a character around town, very busy, gossipy, gay, friend of Laurie Rubiner (from her NAF days), former moderate Republican, funded in part by Bernard Schwartz, foreign policy realist, and who began his career as a walker of Hollywood wives,” Blumenthal writes.
In another exchange, Blumenthal assures Clinton there really is, quoting her famous words in the middle of the Lewinsky scandal, “a vast right-wing conspiracy.” The email includes Jane Mayer’s 2010 New Yorker piece on the Koch brothers, which brought the libertarian billionaire siblings more national notoriety.
“Ah, some light vacation reading!” Clinton responds.
In October 2010, Blumenthal told Clinton to “have a good trip building the de facto China containment alliance. Will discuss election carnage when you return.”
Blumenthal was also a defender of Noam Chomsky and asked Clinton to intervene when the noted far-left academic was banned from visiting Israel.
“You may have been alerted to this incident: the barring of Noam Chomsky from Israel,” Blumenthal writes in a May 2010 email with the subject line “US Should criticize Israel for barring Chomsky.”
“His political views may be ridiculous or objectionable, though he is the greatest linguistic scholar in the world, but barring him for his political opinions has created a needless PR disaster, not least for the us, as he is, after all, a US citizen, and a very prominent one internationally,” Blumenthal adds. “It is unfortunate on every level. And the US should not be a passive onlooker. He is a US citizen barred for his political views, after all.”
Then there was the time Blumenthal aired some grievances, based on “Republican sources,” about House Speaker John Boehner in an email about a potential Mitt Romney/Haley Barbour presidential ticket, an idea supposedly being pushed by Karl Rove.
“Boehner is despised by the younger, more conservative members of the House Republican Conference,” Blumenthal writes. “They are repelled by his personal behavior. He is louche, alcoholic, lazy, and without any commitment to any principle.”
He may not have liked Boehner, but Blumenthal did love him some Kathryn Bigelow, the director he saw as a sort of fill-in for Clinton. After Bigelow took home the Oscar for The Hurt Locker, Blumenthal sent Clinton an email.
He crows: “My immediate take on the Oscars is that it was Hollywood’s re-voting of the 2008 primaries, not giving it to the ‘Avatar’ but to the tough woman.” (Presumably Barack Obama is meant to be a blue alien in that metaphor.)
Blumenthal would get pretty excited throughout these emails. In one, he celebrated the launch of American Bridge, a liberal opposition research super PAC founded by Clinton ally David Brock.
When the PAC launched in 2010, Blumenthal sent The New York Times report to Clinton and got this gratifying answer: “That’s a good launch story! Congrats to all.”
Blumenthal wanted to make sure she was aware of just how much coverage their wonderful PAC was getting. “Also Politico, WSJ, Wash Post, NPR, and Hardball, more to come,” he responds with glee.
Beneath much of these exchanges is an undercurrent of criticism of the Obama White House. In February 2010, Blumenthal sent Clinton a Huffington Post piece critical of a White House deal, to which Clinton responds: “Good for Paul! I look forward to reading it.”
Thankfully, there was no attempt to express feelings in three emojis or less.