Matthew Continetti devotes a Commentary magazine column to one of the less-explored aspects of the recent release of Hillary Clinton’s emails.

We like to think that the closer an adviser is to a government official, the more honest he is with that person. Familiarity and intimacy should allow for openness and directness. We assume that longtime friends can tell a decision-maker that he is wrong or that things are going badly. The Hillary emails reveal this to be a false assumption. Men and women who have known Clinton for decades are as likely to shower her with compliments and applause as is a random peacenik from Israel.

Washington attorney and gadfly Lanny Davis, for instance, has known the Clintons since their days at Yale Law School. But he is the very opposite of the straight-talking confidant: His emails are like parodies of D.C. toadying. He began an October 2010 email to Hillary with a quotation from his “soul-mate who, like me, agreed with every word of your speech.”

Then he proposed inserting himself in the Middle East peace process because George Mitchell (who was handling the matter) “was my first ‘boss’ in 1971 in a presidential campaign—Ed Muskie’s.” Finally, he ended with more over-the-top laurels for Clinton: “My heart truly was filled with gratitude and admiration for the courage you showed last night—courage because your words were tough love equally for both sides. Tough love for both sides. Isn’t that what you have done all your political life—fact-based policies and positions, whether offending purists on either side—or both?”

The month before, Davis had written what has to be one of the most unintentionally hilarious and pathetic emails in history. Addressed to “my dear friend Hillary,” the letter goes on: “The American Lawyer is doing a Cover Story (ugh!) about my new law firm.” He’d asked “a variety of people from Ds and Rs and in between to talk to the reporter about me.” Ted Olsen, Mike McCurry, John McCain, and Karl Rove all gave comments. “Even President Clinton and President Bush, I am told, may weigh in with nice written statements about their old friend from Yale days.”

Might Hillary talk to the American Lawyer, Davis asked? And if not, might she have one of her underlings issue a pro-Davis statement to the magazine? “Please please please—note there are three pleases—:Do not be bashful or concerned about saying no to my request.” He wasn’t even going to bother her with the invitation, Davis said.It’s just that, “aside from Carolyn, my four children, and my immediate family, I consider you to be the best friend and the best person I have met in my long life.”

Imagine: Davis wrote all of this just for two sentences in a trade publication. The saddest part is, despite being “the best friend and the best person” Lanny Davis has ever met, Hillary Clinton didn’t immediately respond. Instead she forwarded the email to her adviser Cheryl Mills and said, “Pls advise.”