On Monday, the State Department released 7,800 pages of Hillary Clinton's emails. And once again, the revelations are pretty mundane. This latest batch did include one email with potentially classified information — turns out it wasn't — but the vast majority were less-than-thrilling. For every email with a New York Times reporter about Wikileaks, there are a couple asking for help with the television. Clinton once needed help finding what channel Showtime is on. And hey, Homeland is that good. You might be surprised, though, at what else the secretary needed help with: responding to her emails.
No, Clinton didn't take a pass at the big stuff. But it seems that she just can't be bothered to respond to personal emails. There are exceptions. She responds sweetly and genuinely to her old childhood friend, Betsy Ebeling — albeit rather late. But most of the well-wishes? They get forwarded to an aide with "Pls respond."
Granted, Clinton traveled at least 956,733 miles to 112 countries during her tenure — seemingly surpassing a goal, if we're to believe her emails (in an exchange with senior aide Philippe Reines, 110 was mentioned as a "reasonable goal"). But if you send her a "Happy birthday, Hill," be prepared hear from one of her aides.
"Happy Birthday!," "Feliz Cumpleaños," And Other Birthday Greetings
Clinton received a large number of birthday wishes on Oct. 26. For someone so powerful and influential, it's not surprising that she received a multitude from State Department staff, business leaders, and even Donna Karan. But guess what? They all got the same "Pls respond" treatment. Bryan Pagliano, the tech guy from the State Department who helped set up her now-controversial server, didn't even get a "Pls respond" for weeks. Ouch!
Roberta Jacobson, then-Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, added a little bit of international flair with the subject "Feliz cumpleaños." Perhaps understandable, given that she'd have overseen Latin America. Too bad Clinton could not match her game with a "Contesta pfvr."
Prayers, Love, Thoughts, And "Well Wishes From Your Doctor Friend"
Clinton had a rough December in 2012, with more than her fair share of health trouble. First she fainted after becoming dehydrated, and suffered a concussion. Then she was admitted to the hospital for a blood clot in her head related to the fall. Needless to say, there was plenty to be concerned about. Friends and acquaintances sent her their thoughts and prayers. What they didn't get back, though, were any responses. Even David Petraeus, the CIA director who later was accused of sharing government secrets with his mistress, didn't get a response. Wait, maybe she saw that one coming.
But what bad things can be said about Paul Farmer, the doctor famous for his humanitarian aid work with the nonprofit he started, Partners In Health? He calls her a "national and international treasure." That's so sweet! He at least knew enough to CC aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills.
This might be the best. "Here's to health, happiness, and Hillary in 2013 :)" is how Rachel Vogelstein, a senior adviser in the Office of Global Women's Issues at the State Department, wished in the New Year in an email to Mills. Yep, "Pls respond."
"Farewell To Secretary Clinton — Public Servant And Friend"
Even long-form praises went without a direct answer. Despite the eerie similarity to an obituary title, this article written by pundit Lanny Davis was actually about how great Secretary Clinton was, and how she would continue to serve the public after stepping down. He forwarded a copy directly to her private email address. The two met at law school, and Davis served in the Clinton White House as a spokesperson. Clinton received a number of emails congratulating her on her time at the State Department. You guessed it: "Pls respond."
Given the important work Clinton was doing while serving as secretary, can you blame her that she delegated a bit? Another stint at the White House would surely put another dent in her personal communications — and she would be just fine with that.