PART 2 OF 3
Scandal? What Scandal?— Look what WikiLeaks dragged in—-
Contempt and Backstabbing
There’s another batch of Podesta emails that bear mentioning simply because it’s astounding to see in black and white the cattiness and pettiness of the people running the Clinton campaign. “Many of the most powerful elements of the conservative movement are all Catholic (many converts),” wrote Center for American Progress fellow John Halpin. “It’s an amazing bastardization of the faith. They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy.” Responded Jennifer Palmieri, director of communications for the Clinton campaign: “I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion. Their rich friends wouldn’t understand if they became evangelicals.” If Catholic conservatives are “an amazing bastardization of the faith,” one wonders what that makes liberal Catholics who support the Democratic party’s abortion platform. As for Jewish Democrats, they might be alarmed to learn that campaign manager Robby Mook advises Hillary Clinton not to discuss Israel in speeches with Democratic activists. Clinton speechwriter Dan Schwerin, however, does chime in to say it’s okay to discuss Israel at fundraisers.
Podesta, for his part, is loath to discuss anything that could negatively reflect on Muslims. After the San Bernardino terror attack, MSNBC host Chris Hayes tweeted out the name of the killer, who had just been identified. Podesta responded to the Hillary campaign press team on email, “Better if a guy named Sayeed Farouk was reporting that a guy named Christopher Hayes was the shooter.” This attentiveness to the political ramifications of the killer’s religion and ethnicity says volumes about the sway identity politics holds over the Democratic party.
Indeed, when it comes to racial issues, politics are always the uppermost concern in Clintonworld. There is worry that Clinton’s record on race relations will haunt her in the era of Black Lives Matter, specifically that she will be asked about the design of the Arkansas state flag, which honors the Confederacy, and the fact that her husband, as governor, signed into law a bill creating an Arkansas state holiday for Robert E. Lee. (Elsewhere in the emails, Podesta notes that most of “the finalists in Miss America” came from “the CSA [Confederate States of America]”; Tanden sniffs, “I would imagine the only people who watch it are from the confederacy and by now they know that so they’ve rigged the thing in their honor.”)
Aside from the frequent contempt for their supporters specifically and vast swaths of America generally, it’s also worth marveling at the petty infighting in Clintonworld. David Brock spent the nineties digging up Clinton dirt before undergoing a political conversion, founding Media Matters, and becoming one of Hillary Clinton’s most ardent and controversial defenders. But when Podesta solicited advice on how the campaign should deal with Brock, Tanden called him “a menace” and an “unhinged soulless narcissist.”
In another email, Podesta tells liberal columnist, former Democratic aide, and confidant Brent Budowsky, “Sid is lost in his own web of conspiracies.” It was just a few weeks ago that the Clinton campaign was pretending it was absurd to believe, in the face of credible accusations from the McClatchy news organization, that Blumenthal, a “senior adviser” to Clinton’s 2008 campaign, started the “birther” rumor Barack Obama was born in Kenya and therefore ineligible to be president. Now we know even those at the highest levels of the Clinton campaign think Blumenthal is a conspiracist.
Another spate of emails is notable for how contemptuous members of Clinton’s inner circle are of Chelsea Clinton. The younger Clinton started taking an active interest in the Clinton Foundation in 2011, and it didn’t take long for Bill Clinton’s longtime personal aide Doug Band to start complaining. “I don’t deserve this from her and deserve a tad more respect or at least a direct dialogue for me to explain these things,” Band emails Podesta on November 13, 2011. “She is acting like a spoiled brat kid who has nothing else to do but create issues to justify what she’s doing because she, as she has said, hasn’t found her way and has a lack of focus in her life.” Chelsea was apparently concerned that Band might be using Clinton Foundation connections to drum up business for his consulting firm Teneo.
It’s hard to tell whether Band is right that Chelsea Clinton has nothing better to do than harass people or whether Chelsea was justly concerned that Band was violating the unspoken rule that the only people allowed to use the Clinton Foundation for grifting purposes are the ones with their name above the door. There’s a possibility they’re both right.
In the following months, Chelsea Clinton tried to make nice, but Band wasn’t having any of it. On January 27, 2012, he forwarded a flattering note he received from Chelsea to Podesta and Cheryl Mills, who was then Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department. Band appended the following note: “She sends me one of these types of emails every few days/week. As they say, the apple doesn’t fall far. A kiss on the cheek while she is sticking a knife in the back, and front.”
When WikiLeaks’s initial revelations centered on the Bush administration’s efforts in the war on terror, the media largely characterized the organization as a white-knight whistleblower. As the years went on, there was little scrutiny of the organization’s methods or ties to foreign intelligence services—even when WikiLeaks indiscriminately released information that provoked riots and protests in multiple African countries, in which hundreds were killed.
Only this year, now that WikiLeaks has attacked the Democratic party, is the organization being reevaluated. After years of tolerating WikiLeaks’s founder Julian Assange’s hiding out in Ecuador’s embassy in London, it was the release of Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speech transcripts that finally prompted enough international pressure to get the Ecuadorian government to cut off Assange’s Internet access.
source–wikileaks, mark hemingway, national review, jim geraghty, cheryl mills, nyt, huma, neera tanden, think progress, new republic, michael froman, david dayen, john halpin, robby mook, dan schwerin, jennifer palmieri, sayeed farouk, chris hayes, msnbc, brent budowsky, cnn, brain stelter, mark leibovich, milia fisher, lisa caputo, sheara braun, hohn haywood, maggie haberman, bill ivey,