The saga of Democrat frontrunner for president and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails may now be affecting her popularity. A new poll finds her unfavourability rating at its highest point since 2008. Clinton finds herself in the crosshairs because she used her personal email server to conduct official business, which can be seen as either just a breach of protocol or a criminal act. But the latest tranche of emails released by the state department this week also provides a rare peek into the daily lives of the high and powerful.
Consider, for instance, the cliffhanger of Clinton’s attempts to use a fax machine. Aide Huma Abedin tries to coach her into it, a hectic email chain follows, and concludes without telling us whether they managed it on that occasion. Then there’s Clinton’s cryptic “Where are we on this?” to Jake Sullivan, one of her top advisors, and Richard Verma, former assistant secretary of state and current US ambassador to India. The subject? Gefilte fish, a Jewish staple on Passover made of ground white fish, onion and egg whites. Gefilte fish is frequently invoked as an exemplar of how terrible food can be made to taste. Of course, there was an actual diplomatic reason for Clinton to be worrying about Gefilte fish — a minor contretemps involving shipments of Asian carp into the US right before Passover.
Also revealed is Clinton’s inability to Google, or use Netflix — she requests another staffer for the start times of The Good Wife and Parks and Recreation. She directs an underling to track down a rug she took a liking to on a visit to China. Then there’s her excitement over her new iPad. In response to Abedin’s email about it having been delivered, Clinton asks to be taught how to use it “on the flight to Kyev next week”. Another set of messages highlights her FOMO (fear of missing out) when she shows up to a cabinet meeting and finds no one there. Politicians — they’re just like us!