In the current issue of the New Yorker, Steve Coll, Dean of the Columbia University School of Journalism, has a brief piece on Hillary Clinton’s private email problems. He traces the current scandal to…Rush Limbaugh!
Hillary Clinton, in her memoir “Living History,” recounts her struggle to defend her privacy while residing in the White House. Some of her stories have a gothic tone. After Bill Clinton’s first inauguration, Harry and Linda Thomason, friends from Hollywood, found a jocular note under a pillow in the Lincoln Bedroom. It was from Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio host. How did the note get there? “I don’t believe in ghosts, but we did sometimes feel that the White House was haunted by more temporal entities,” Clinton writes.
Was Rush George H.W. Bush’s last Lincoln Bedroom guest? Did he really leave a note? Or did the White House staff already detest the Clintons so much that someone left the note as a joke? I don’t know. Perhaps Rush can tell us. But the real question is, what on God’s green Earth does this have to do with Hillary Clinton’s decision to conduct official State Department business on an unsecured, off-the-books server? Mr. Coll thinks it is a matter of privacy, explained by Rush’s “haunting” of the White House:
In late 2008 or early 2009, the incoming Secretary installed a private server at her New York home. She has said that she wanted to avoid carrying multiple e-mail devices, something that using the State Department system might have required.
She had to use multiple devices anyway. In any event, this is a dumb excuse for violating State Department regulations relating to official communications.
Late last year, Clinton turned over to the State Department about thirty thousand e-mails from her home system. But, before doing so, she and her attorneys singled out more than thirty thousand other e-mails, which they deemed to be “private,” and, as far as is known, deleted them permanently. Clinton has said that the deleted notes concerned only “yoga routines, family vacations,” and the like. Her unilateral culling raised eyebrows, but her lawyers approved her action, and her assertion of privacy rights seems to have resonated with Democratic voters.
See, here’s the thing: privacy was never the question. No one cares if Hillary uses a private email system to schedule her yoga lessons and plan her daughter’s wedding. On the contrary: that is what everyone does, and it would be inappropriate to use the official (and relatively secure) State Department system for this purpose.
Rather, the issue is that Hillary chose to carry on her official State Department correspondence, in which she had no legitimate expectation of privacy, through the home server that housed information on yoga lessons. Hillary is in trouble because 1) her decision to circumvent the State Department computer system for substantially all of her official communications unquestionably violated State Department policy, and 2) if she had classified information on her home server–as she evidently did–she is in violation of federal criminal statutes.
Therefore, whether Rush Limbaugh did or did not “haunt” the living quarters in the White House 23 years ago, there is no excuse for Hillary’s flouting of laws and regulations that are vital to national security.
You might think that this is a trivial deconstruction of an unusually stupid magazine article, and you would probably be right. But note: Steve Coll currently is the dean of what used to be regarded as America’s foremost school of journalism. It may still be, for all I know. Not only that, Coll was the managing editor of the Washington Post from 1998 to 2005, has won a Pulitzer prize, has authored numerous prize-winning books and has served as president of the New America Foundation. He is a model of contemporary liberalism, and he apparently doesn’t understand that Hillary’s use of a private email system for official correspondence has nothing to do with privacy. Let alone with Rush Limbaugh’s haunting the White House. Sadly, this is the state of today’s dominant, Democratic Party news media.
One more thing: I subscribed to the New Yorker for a decade or more, from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, and finally canceled my subscription because the magazine had become devoted to brain-dead, boring leftism. Since then, the New Yorker has continued to decline. Now, not even the cartoons are consistently funny. This is the magazine’s Cartoon of the Day:
There is, I am afraid, no cure for stupidity.
UPDATE: Here is the full story of Rush’s Lincoln Bedroom note, as related by the great one himself on August 26:
RUSH: Folks, I have to tell you. This was funny. Monday I wake up and there’s an e-mail from Snerdley. He said, “I love the first two paragraphs of this.” And he gave me the Web link. I said, “I wonder what this is?” Snerdley does not bother me with e-mail because he knows so many other people do. So he tries to go judicious. When I get an e-mail from Snerdley, I know it’s something, and the link was to the New Yorker.
It was a story on Hillary and her e-mail server and problem. And I read the first two paragraphs and I started laughing uncontrollably. I said, “You gotta be kidding me. All of this is my fault, or all of this is the reason she did this?”
“Hillary Clinton, in her memoir ‘Living History,’ recounts her struggle to defend her privacy while residing in the White House. Some of her stories have a Gothic tone. After Bill Clinton’s first inauguration, Harry and Linda Thomason, friends from Hollywood, found a jocular note under a pillow in the Lincoln Bedroom. It was from Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio host. How did the note get there? ‘I don’t believe in ghosts, but we did sometimes feel that the White House was haunted by more temporal entities,’ Clinton writes.”
Temporal entity? So Hillary Clinton’s telling this guy, Steve Coll at The New Yorker that her paranoia began when the Thomasons found a note from me under a pillow in the Lincoln Bedroom on the night of the Clinton inauguration in 1993. You want to hear the story about this? All right, in 1992, I was invited to the White House by George H. W. Bush and I spent the night in the Lincoln Bedroom. I called my mom from there. She didn’t believe it.
You know, it was never a bedroom during Lincoln’s presidency. It was his office. And the bedroom is a museum room with a bed in it. It’s a full functioning bed and bathroom and so forth, and they treat it as a hotel room. It’s got steward service, room service. It’s on the same floor as the living quarters of the first family. It’s all the way down at the end of the hall. Across the hall is what’s called the Queen’s Bedroom, I guess named because a queen once did something in there, probably slept.
The Lincoln Bedroom is a museum room. There’s artifacts from the Lincoln era. There are artifacts to denote the ties to Abraham Lincoln. But everybody thinks it was where Lincoln slept, and it wasn’t. It wasn’t ever a bedroom in his day. It’s a unique experience. I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to sleep. I bet I slept no more than two hours all night. I wanted to stay up and absorb the fact that I was there.
So we fast forward to after the election, this is 1992, the election’s in November. Harry and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason are TV producers. They produced a show called Hearts Afire that I guest-starred on as me. I was out there for a whole week shooting an episode with Markie Post and John Ritter. And they were great. Linda knew my dad. Her dad knew my dad. She’s from Poplar Bluff, which is some miles south of where I grew up. But the point is I knew them. I wouldn’t say they were friends, but I’d spent a lot of time with them shooting that episode of their show.
So I saw Harry, he was bragging that they were gonna be spending the night in the Lincoln Bedroom on inauguration night, how excited they were, and they couldn’t wait. So I thought, hmm, hmm, I wonder if I have the juice to get a note put in there while they’re at the inaugural ball. Well, during a trip there in 1992 at the White House, I made some acquaintances with White House staff, and one thing led to another. I composed a note, and I then checked to see if it were remotely possible that the note could indeed be put under the pillow.
I was told no guarantees, give it our best shot. I sent the note to where I was told to send it, and that’s the last I heard of it until March of 1993, when Harry Thomason was on some C-SPAN show. I couldn’t tell if he was laughing or complaining, but he was shocked, he said, “Yeah, we got in there and we come in from the inaugural ball and we get ready to go to bed and there was this note, turning down the bed, there’s this note from Rush Limbaugh.” They were clearly bugged by this.
The note was innocuous. The note said, “Harry and Linda, remember, I was here first, and I will be back. Have a good night, Rush.” That’s all it was. And the next I know of it it’s the lead item of a story in the New Yorker about Hillary’s e-mail service and server, and it’s one of the reasons why she is paranoid living in the White House. She couldn’t understand how in the world something happened in there that she didn’t know about. Somebody had to have snuck in there. Somebody had to have put that note in there. Somebody had to undermine, whatever, and it made her paranoid so she said I’ve got to do my own e-mail if I ever become secretary of state, or what have you.
Now, she wants to talk here about temporal entities, and she says I don’t believe in ghosts? BS! She told everybody she was communicating with the ghost of Eleanor Roosevelt at night in the White House, after this incident happened. She bragged that she routinely, almost in séance-like fashion, was able to contact Eleanor Roosevelt and get advice from her on what it was like to be a strong willed woman in the White House surrounded by men who were not interested in what you had to say, or some such thing. And I said, my God, this is fascinating.
Here it is 2015 and there’s a story in the New Yorker about her e-mail server, and she remembers something that happened in 1993 that’s at the top of her mind. This is why I say I live rent free in these people’s heads.
RUSH: You know, this note that I arranged to be placed under the bed pillow of Harry and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, Hillary writes about that twice in her memoir that nobody read, by the way. It’s the one she got a $14 million advance for, nobody showed up at her book signings other than donors, and I don’t think anybody’s read it. She recounts the incident as I just shared it with you in the New Yorker.
And the second mention in her book is even weirder. She says she came home to the White House one night and found that things had been moved around, that they weren’t where they normally were. She was told a security team had searched the room because they thought it might be bugged, and then she said it reminded her of finding my note under her pillow. But my note was not for her. I didn’t have a note for her, and it wasn’t under her pillow, unless she slept with the Thomasons. No, no, no, I’m not saying that. I’m telling you that note was under the pillow in the Lincoln Bedroom.
There was no note for her. But the moving of the furniture, she didn’t order it moved around. She came to find out that it was something that happened regularly. They come to sweep the place for bugs and whoever moved the furniture didn’t quite put it back where it was, and she noticed it, so all of this she claims made her paranoid. There were things happening in the White House she wasn’t controlling, things happening in the White House she didn’t know, and if it was that easy, if it was that easy to get that close to her, like a note under the pillow in the Lincoln Bedroom and suspiciously out of place furniture, why, I need my own e-mail server. I mean, that’s the thinking.
It’s a great story but, nevertheless, a pathetic excuse for violating–at a minimum–State Department regulations.