** 12/20: Readers, please feel free to join the discussion on last night's debate in the comments section below.
*12/19: Updated below
'Twas the week before Christmas and all through Times Square, they finally stopped joking 'bout Bernie's wild hair.
And much to my wondering eyes did appear a headline, above the New York Times homepage fold, containing the name of Bernie Sanders!
But wait. The article didn't mention Bernie's record two million donors, or his two major union endorsements until the very end, as a kind of afterthought. Rather, it gleefully spread the news that one of his campaign's workers* had "breached" a voter database belonging to President-designate Hillary Clinton. The only thing shocking about this news is that Hillary Clinton is actually allowed to own a bunch of our names. Our personal information has been collected and collated, possibly without our knowledge. Politicians are cyberstalking us, and then they have the nerve to get upset when a rival inadvertently uncovers their strategy and methods. Don't we have a say in all of this?
Very conveniently, a firewall set up by the Democratic National Committee was allowed to collapse just as the Sanders worker went on his computer. The DNC immediately pounced, barring the Sanders campaign from accessing any further voter information from its site.
This should tell us three things. First, that the DNC website is as much a bungled mess as Healthcare. gov. Second, that Hillary Clinton and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz are taking the Sanders campaign very seriously. They see the same polls and numbers that we do. If they weren't scared, they wouldn't give a shit about what some low-level Sanders staffer was doing with Hillary's precious information.
The third possibility is that the Sanders campaign was simply set up.
But for now, they are "disciplining" Bernie for the data breach, even while admitting that it was a software error of their own subcontractor's making that enabled the Sanders staffer to see what he couldn't later unsee. The poor peeper was summarily fired for peeking at Hillary's data.
From the Times piece by Maggie Haberman and Nick Corasanti:
The timing of this news is exquisite, coming as it does on the very eve of the third primary debate among Clinton, Sanders, and Martin O'Malley. While Hillary might choose to not bring it up during the festivities, the publicity is at the very least designed to rattle Sanders' nerves as it implicitly impugns his heretofore spotless integrity.
Ironically, it was the Sanders campaign that has been warning the DNC about lax security on its digital databases.
Meanwhile, the Times is finally taking note that the Democratic debates are few and far between, compared to the nonstop GOP series of circus acts. Columnist Frank Bruni, for one, disingenuously wonders why he is just now hearing about this kick in the teeth to democracy. Maybe it's because he's been holding his fingers over his ears when he is not opening them wide to hear every blast of every Trump, Cruz, and Carly?
The Democratic National Committee has told the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont that it was suspending its access to its voter database after a software error enabled at least one of his staff members to review Hillary Clinton’s private campaign data.
The decision by the party committee is a major blow to Mr. Sanders’s campaign. The database includes information from voters across the nation and is used by campaigns to set strategy, especially in the early voting states.
The breach occurred after a software problem at the technology company NGP VAN, which gives campaigns access to the voter data. The problem inadvertently made proprietary voter data of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign visible to others, according to party committee officials.
The Sanders campaign said that it had fired a staff member who breached Mrs. Clinton’s data. But according to three people with direct knowledge of the breach, there were four user accounts associated with the Sanders campaign that ran searches while the security of Mrs. Clinton’s data was compromised.
My published response to the former restaurant critic/current horse-race style maven:
It's a little late for Frank Bruni to grouse over the Undemocratic Party specifically, and the demise of democracy generally.
By my count, since last June, he has written 6 columns devoted exclusively to Donald Trump, 3 on Ted Cruz, one on Carly Fiorina, one on Ben Carson, one on Scott Walker, and one on each of the four GOP debates. He's written 3 on Hillary, one of which inordinately praised her performance at the first and only weeknight Democratic debate.
He has written zero columns about Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley.
But Bruni is only part of the group-think pack which seems to have made a pact to either ignore Bernie, or to gently castigate him. ("he's unelectable, proles, because we say so!") This is regardless of the inconvenient truth that Bernie is more popular than Trump, and that a recent Quinnipiac poll has him beating Trump by a wider margin than Hillary.
Media Matters reveals that ABC is the worst, having devoted 81 minutes to coverage of Trump, to Sanders' 8 seconds.
Over the past month there have been 22 Sanders headlines in the NYT and 64 in the Post, while Trump got 145 headline mentions in the NYT and 535 64 in the Post:
(In retrospect, I should probably have been more careful what I wished for. More rapid than eagles, let the prancing and the pawing begin. Stay tuned for some very serious commentary about the Great Bernie Breach, or How Hillary Got Hacked.)
* The worker was not a low level naif, as I'd originally surmised. He was, in fact, Josh Uretsky, Bernie's national digital data director. Uretsky told MSNBC that his breach of Hillary's info was an intentional way of alerting the DNC about how effed up their security is, comparing it to leaving a friendly note in the hallway of a homeowner who'd stupidly left his door open. That is a pretty poor analogy, in my opinion. He should have compared it to staying on the premises till Hillary and her security detail returned (probably from breaking into a different house or database down the street), and then pleasantly surprising them with a welcome home party, complete with cocktails and snacks. Leaving a note, then cutting and running is just so lower class. You have to stick around and schmooze a little. Amazon gift cards for the Clinton volunteers would have been a nice gesture, too.
Meanwhile, the Sanders campaign took the DNC to federal court, suing the party apparatus for breach of contract over its rude slamming of Bernie's own door on his own house of data. A temporary truce has been declared, though the lawsuit is continuing. Maybe Hillary and Bernie can have a beer summit like the one Obama conducted with professor Skip Gates and the cop who arrested him for attempting to breach his own home while black. I hope not, though. Hillary is she who cannot be placated, so Bernie shouldn't even try. It is looking more and more likely that he was/is being set up... and in a most inept fashion, given the blowback against the DNC and the Clinton machine.
I'll write more either tonight or tomorrow, post-debate.
Meanwhile, if there is a Dump Debbie (Wasserman Schultz) petition circulating out there, please let me know. The sooner we see the back of that ham-handed autocrat, the better off we'll be.
Here's a challenge to Frank Bruni. Break away from the Group-think Pack and devote an entire column (serious and issues-centered, not snarky) to Bernie. Your readers will thank you.