We are not here to talk about Davis’s other favorite subject, his very close friend Hillary Clinton, but that doesn’t mean he can avoid alluding to her in the course of introducing the prime minister. “I think everybody here knows I’m absolutely, sometimes, irritating, always talking about a certain presidential candidate,” he says with a grin. Davis’s gleaming teeth seem somehow to be younger than the rest of him. “We can save that for another time.”
Perhaps the idea of buying yourself a new passport sounds, on its face, a little exotic—sleazy, even. That’s OK! We are here to educate.
Allow Prime Minister Harris, a large, 50-year-old black man with glasses and a lilting accent, to explain. “Try as we might to pursue traditional paths of development, trade and so on, there is always the disadvantage of smallness,” he says, gesturing with the hand not holding the wireless microphone. “Small countries are faced with the challenge of being much more structured, much more creative about pursuing certain parts of development.” The two islands of St. Kitts and Nevis comprise just over 100 square miles, with a population of 55,000.
Last year, the U.S. Treasury Department issued an advisory to financial institutions warning about the risk that investor-purchased St. Kitts passports might be “used to facilitate financial crime.” But that was before Harris was elected, and he assures us he has cleaned house.
“We are a responsible government, and we take our responsibility seriously,” he says. “We are a respectable member of the international community.” As of a couple of weeks ago, for example, Syrians are no longer eligible for the citizenship program, due to “issues emerging with the proliferation of Syrian passports around the world.”
With that put to rest, the mingling begins. I approach Davis, curious to hear his thoughts on his recent star turn as perhaps the most prolific and proficient suck-up featured in the public releases of Hillary Clinton’s privately hosted email during her tenure as secretary of state.
This, mind you, was a very competitive category; in the absence, to the right’s chagrin, of any major Benghazi-related revelations, perhaps the most disturbing thing to be gleaned from the emails has been the overwhelming level of sycophancy Clinton either encouraged or tolerated from virtually everyone around her. Yet Davis—he has appeared 43 times in the emails released to date—outdoes all the other Clinton hangers-on.
There is one email in particular, from May 21, 2012, that stands out. Apropos of nothing really, Davis has drafted a list, for her eyes only, of Clinton’s most impressive qualities, to wit:
1. She is a hard worker - and people appreciate hard work.
2. She is fact-driven - and people appreciate someone who sticks to the facts.
3. She is sensitive to the perspective of others - she doesn't impugn motives and respects the interests of others - as was said about Atticus Finch in "To Kill A Mockingbird": "she can walk in other people's shoes and see the world through their eyes."
4. She is a gracious person - the most important quality for a successful diplomat….
So proud of you, Hillary - when President Clinton and I talked about my PBS column (I think I mentioned he called me, which was a great thing!), we both reflected on how great a Secretary of State - and person - you are.
There are so many things to appreciate in this missive: its comprehensiveness, its brazenness, its literary flair (Atticus Finch!), the gratuitous presidential name-drop snuck in under the wire. It is a tour de force of obsequiousness, a masterclass in ego-massaging administered to one of the most powerful people in the world—the Beethoven’s Fifth of brown-nosing.