Three events on Friday, March 13 heralded the official end of 'Emailgate' or 'eGhazi' (or whatever you choose to call it) as anything resembling an actual scandal.
First, early that morning, the New York Times (who started all this) ran a story admitting that email rules in federal agencies have actually been quite vague until very recently.
Mr. Obama signed legislation late last year requiring government officials who use personal email addresses for official business to bring those records into the government within 20 days. Before that, the National Archives and Records Administration simply required those messages at some point to be provided to the government.
“The wiggle room for Mrs. Clinton is that those policies didn't come into play until after she was gone” from the State Department in early 2013, said Thomas S. Blanton, the director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, an independent, nongovernmental organization focused on transparency.Wiggle room! In other words "Remember when we said she "may" have violated the law? Well, um, she didn't. At all. Our bad."
The second hit occurred that evening when the Times partially made up for their botched story by sticking it to Jeb Bush for actually violating Florida law for failing to turn over his emails properly. And thus the news media must have collectively realized that if this entire campaign is going to be about each candidate's email usage, it's going to be a long, boring 20 months indeed. Next!
Finally, right around that same time, Bill Maher (who's not known for being a huge Clinton fan) came out swinging in some must-see video from HBO's Real Time....tearing the news media a new one for the stupidity of this story and admiring Hillary's performance at her press conference more than anyone else I've seen all week (including Democrats). The crowd went wild here, as well as when he pointed out that she's still crushing all Republicans. I disagree with Maher on some things, but his show is undeniably influential...and his unabashed support for her was striking.
So there you have it: I'm calling last Friday as the end of this phony scandal.
I know what you're saying.
Of course, some are going to try to keep this going for as long as possible. In fact, I have every expectation that John Boehner will follow through on his threat of a new House investigation. And what else is Fox News supposed to talk about...the reality of man-made climate change? It might as well be emails.
But going forward, this is officially a zombie scandal. It's dead, but still it walks...and there will be victims.
It won't be the Clintons, though. They'll get through this just fine. The American people are in their corner, don't care about this, and are generally pretty good about seeing through politically-fueled nonsense.
The victims will be the electability of Republicans in Congress who will continue to waste their time and our taxpayer dollars on partisan crapola instead of any actual governance...and the credibility of complicit news media who echo their talking points every step of the way.
'Emailgate' has now been definitively exposed as a big pile of nothing, and if they choose to keep pursuing this...the backlash will only keep growing.
Therefore, in the immortal words of our current president: please proceed.