The knee jerk reaction of many in the media on hearing that White House emails were missing was to scream “Nixon!” (49 results in a Google News search for “white house emails nixon” as of this time). My knee jerked a different direction. I immediately thought, “sounds like Hillary Clinton and the Rose Law Firm billing records.” I was a bit disappointed that the President might be behaving like his adopted sister-in-law and even more disappointed that no one else was thinking the same thing. (The only result in a Google News search for “white house emails Rose Law Firm” was a hip-hop news site where I learned that Usher’s fiancee is pregnant.)
So, I pulled my knee back a bit and pondered the similarities and differences of the three events.
Even without the erased minutes, the Watergate tapes would still have been problematic for a couple of reasons. First, there was an Orwellian overtone to the secret taping of every conversation the President had. Email has no such baggage. Second, the Nixon tapes were vulgar. In the unlikely event that White House emails compare, I’d bet that it will just mean the President firing a few more people.
It was plausible that the Rose Law Firm billing records could have been misplaced. It’s equally plausible that emails could have been inadvertently deleted. In the time period we’re talking about for these missing emails, I’ve had two hard drive failures. Had I been using a program like Microsoft Outlook in its out-of-the-box configuration, I’d have lost all my emails – twice. Should people in government be careful enough to avoid such losses? Sure. Is it intelligent to actually believe government workers will be that careful? No. Is it surprising that liberals do expect it? Not really.
Of course, there is one basic similarity shared by the Watergate and Rose Law Firm episodes that simply isn’t shared in the Matter of the Missing Emails: there were actual crimes committed and being investigated in those cases. No one – not one single reasonable commentator – has suggested that the President committed a crime by exercising his Constitutional and statutory authority to fire his appointees. It’s not merely that there is no evidence of a crime; everyone involved is fully aware that there is no question that the President and his advisors acted within the law. Every “investigator” knows that he is investigating a nonevent. What did the President know and when did he know it? It really doesn’t matter one iota.
If the emails turn up in the First Lady’s closet, let me know. Otherwise, let’s find something more important to worry about. For example, is Anna Nicole still dead?