The Corner

Reply to Ramesh

Ramesh, you make a very good point if the conservative objection was to secrecy per se. But if the conservative objection was, more narrowly, to an unelected, unaccountable person meeting in secret to form policy, the legal reality should affect the political argument. On the nature of the objection, you are a far better authority than I am; my hazy recollection is that the first lady aspect rubbed people the wrong way, but it may well be that this was minor compared to complaints about secrecy. It’s noteworthy that the president and vice president constantly meet in secrecy with people in and out of government to form policy. I think it’s a fair distinction to say that by electing a vice president we have implicitly approved of his engaging in such meetings (at least insofar as federal disclosure law permits), whereas we had no reason to expect — and thus cannot be said to have implicitly approved — that the first lady would be holding secret policy meetings on major national issues. But if it’s only secrecy that was at issue, I agree that Mrs. Clinton got a bum rap.

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