The bubble: Why Hillary's friends and confidants pose a challenge for her candidacy

That is the challenge the Clinton team faces on issues such as Hillary’s private email server. Setting it up was an end run around the rules, and it was facilitated by keepers of the bubble in the service of maintaining the bubble. (It was set up before Hillary Clinton was an official member of the cabinet). As Laura Meckler writes in the Wall Street Journal, when Clinton was at the State Department, aides scrutinized and sometimes blocked the release of documents requested under public-records law. When email records retained under the private server had to be turned over, the bubble kicked in again. Clinton didn’t wipe her server herself, and she didn’t go through all 60,000 emails making determinations about which ones to keep and which ones to discard. Her team—what in an earlier time might have been called the palace guard—facilitated this. 

Voters may or may not care about this kind of bubble. But whether it is a political challenge or not, it’s certainly a governing one. A bubble that has been in place for so long and acts instinctively to minimize threats can wall off a president and encourage groupthink. In the most extreme cases a single mentality takes over. That leads to a shrinking of options, because the voices from the inside of the bubble rise higher in the conversation because of their longtime association with the principal. That is the charge in the case of Blumenthal’s emails, whose ideas about Libya were sent through the State Department bureaucracy by Secretary Clinton. The other complexity with the Blumenthal correspondence is that he was reportedly advising a group of entrepreneurs trying to win business from the Libyan transitional government. In the wrong kind of bubble, that kind of conflict is allowed or isn’t even noticed.