What Hillary Clinton left out

Story highlights

  • S.E. Cupp: At press conference, Hillary Clinton insists there was nothing amiss with her use of personal email while secretary of state
  • Clinton is not invulnerable: She risks losing Democratic and independent voters, who abandoned her in 2008, she says
  • Cupp: She should have assured them that the rules do apply to her, that transparency and accountability matter

S.E. Cupp is the author of "Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media's Attack on Christianity," co-author of "Why You're Wrong About the Right," a columnist at the New York Daily News and a political commentator for Glenn Beck's "The Blaze." The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)Hillary Clinton made it clear Tuesday that when it comes to her emails, which traveled through a private server during her time at the State Department, we'll all just have to trust -- and she'll verify.

Using strong language, the former secretary of state insisted that despite concerns from both sides of the aisle on issues including national security, accountability and transparency, there's simply nothing to see here.
S.E. Cupp
"I went above and beyond what I was requested to do," she said.
    "I fully complied with every rule," she declared.
    And in case you were wondering if there was going to be an independent review of her emails, there isn't. Nor will she turn over her server.
    "The server will remain private."
    There you go. Defiant, unfazed, undeterred. You can believe fact checkers will work overtime to parse the bit about complying with every rule. Even the White House has disagreed with that.
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    As for everyone else, the question isn't whether Clinton did enough Tuesday to satisfy House Republicans, who will no doubt continue to hammer her on decisions she made while at State. Nor is it whether she did enough to satisfy Republican voters, who have a crystallized view of Clinton that goes all the way back to the '90s. The perception that this is just another in a long line of instances where the Clintons flouted the rules is fairly unshakable.
    Likewise, her cadre of loyal surrogates, who showed just how unhinged they are willing to sound to defend the irreproachable HRC in recent days, are sure to keep on circling the wagons and telling us that she is the victim of a right-wing smear campaign and -- wait for it -- media bias.
    The audience for whom this press conference mattered most was Democratic and independent voters, who may admire Hillary Clinton, but as history has proved, simply cannot be counted on to vote for her in 2016, especially if someone else comes along on her left.
    Remember, Clinton wasn't defeated in 2008 by Republicans. She was beaten by a little-known, inexperienced Democrat. That means that the half of the country that was predisposed to like her politics and who already knew who she was chose someone else. And the other half of the country did, too.
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    She's just as vulnerable, if not more, to the same kind of usurpation in 2016, thanks to an even greater sense of inevitability on the left, and the reflexive rush to protect her from valid questions and criticism isn't helping to dissolve it.
    Instead of insisting she did nothing wrong and smugly placating nosy reporters, she should have promised these voters that transparency and accountability -- two words she didn't utter Tuesday -- are the cornerstones of good government and any future administration she were to run.
    She should have assured them that the rules do apply to her, just like anyone else, and that in the future she'll pay closer attention to them. Finally, she should have told them that the last thing she wants is to take the trust of the voters for granted, and that she'll comply with any independent investigation that's offered.
    Defiance has paid off for the Clintons in that they've made it through some truly breathtaking scandals unscathed. But if Clinton wants 2016 to turn out differently than 2008, she and her surrogates can't keep insisting to voters that she is above scrutiny.