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Matt Blunt is nonchalant about the fuss over all the deleted e-mails in his office.

Blunt, in explaining his staff’s intentions, said with a chuckle, “I think people are trying to have a clear and manageable in-box. That’s what they’re trying to do.”

Chill.  Those e-mails will be available to the public “if they exist“.  So what’s the problem?

Jo Mannies pointedly rebutted Blunt’s easy assertions, insisting, for example that:

the preservation requirements mandate that all state communications or memos dealing with management, policy or financial matters need to be preserved for three years, or 90 days after the release of a state audit on that office. The law defines communications broadly, including those on paper or electronic.

And she defended Jay Nixon against one of Blunt’s misrepresentations (“Nixon has never publicly made such an assertion. What he has said repeatedly …”)

In fact, it was impressive the way Mannies refused, without being biased, to be sucked into the usual he said/she said journalistic “neutrality” game.

Despite Mannies resisting his charm, though, Matt is not worried.  I’m sure he’d tell us: this is no Rovian scheme to hide the fact that Ed Martin’s been doing anti-abortion campaign business on state time–or to hide any of the other illegal stuff we’re up to.  Hell, we don’t have anyone of Rove’s intellect steering us.  We just figure that when you control both houses and the executive, you don’t have to be sub-tile.  Right? 

In that respect, Blunt is a Bush clone, someone who believes he should be able to give a comradely chuckle, then flap his hand dismissively at pesky reporters and bloggers.

That was Dubya’s attitude when the whole Joe Wilson/Scooter Libby brouhaha surfaced.  He pretended for a few seconds to take it seriously–gotta offer the public at least a thin veneer of concern–but George knew all he had to do was pardon Libby.

And this situation is nowhere near as serious as Bush’s was.  Blunt knows, if worse comes to worst, that he might have to start saving e-mails.  Shrug. 

Only people who take themselves too seriously would wax eloquent about the indecency of covering up crimes and misdemeanors this way.  Only pontificators would remind the governor of what happened to Richard Nixon and Al Capone for their coverups.  Such sermonizers would be vastly overstating Blunt’s danger. 

No doubt, the governor sees this dustup as something that nobody but political nerds will notice.  The Republican base sure doesn’t care.  This subject is dry.  It lacks the blood and guts of stem cells and baby killers.  As far as that goes, the issue won’t grab many independents.  And if you want to know the truth, most Democrats will shrug and think, “everybody loses e-mail.”

Blunt’s probably right.  Yes, he’s broken the law, but he’s unveiling his health insurance for the poor scam program, and that’s more important than some dusty old Sunshine law.  Yada, yada.  Don’t get your knickers in a twist.