Sunday, December 20, 2015

Politix Update: All's Fair In Love, War & Politics, Now Get Back To Campaigning

As secrets go, the fact that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is in the tank for establishmentarian Hillary Clinton and not an impartial Democratic National Committee chair isn't exactly earth shattering.  All that was needed for that bit of messiness to burst into the open was an excuse to lean on insurgent Bernie Sanders, and a not-so-smart computer wonk for Sanders's campaign provided one.
Did the punishment fit the "crime"?  Should the Sanders campaign have been denied access to its own important voter information after it was found last week that the campaign’s national data manager took advantage of a software glitch in the central DNC's voter information database to extensively mine Clinton data from all 50 states that he was not entitled to?  Possibly.
But having found an excuse to punish Sanders, who most annoyingly for Wasserman Schultz has been delaying if not spoiling Clinton’s coronation, as well as try to sully his reputation as a Mister Clean, Wasserman Schultz found herself on the receiving end of a firestorm of allegations -- and not just from Sanders supporters -- that she has made it more difficult for Sanders and Martin O'Malley to raise their profiles.  That includes scheduling most of the few Democratic debates on Saturday evenings when people are watching football or otherwise engaged.
Wasserman Schultz came off sounding more like an opponent of Sanders than an impartial party big and didn't like the heat she was taking, so the DNC announced less than 24 hours after the breach became public knowledge that an agreement had been reached to restore the Sanders campaign's access to its voter files.
I had thought the DNC might string Sanders along for two or three days before relenting, but the damage was done.   The Clinton campaign and its surrogates could get all huffy, including former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, who tweeted that the Sanders camp "should be careful playing the victim," while Sanders's aides could portray themselves as insurgents being unfairly penalized by the party establishment.
"They stole data as a reason to raise money for their campaign," Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook cried after Sanders's campaign sent supporters a fundraising email titled, Urgent: DNC tipping the scales for Hillary Clinton.
Meanwhile, somebody should tell Josh Uretsky, Sanders's fired national data director, to shut his pie hole.
Uretsky continues to insist that he had merely been trying to verify the data breach to see whether the Sanders campaign's data might also be vulnerable, which is unbelievable on its face since user permissions were given to other Sanders staffers during the 40-minute breach and a number of lists, some 25 by one count, were created.
Nobody "won" in the Datagate mudfest, and it was not exactly the civil war that Politico and other outlets called it, but Wasserman Schultz may be the biggest loser.
She has not exactly been a tent builder, and there has been a simmering feud between her and vice chair Representative Tulsi Gabbard, who has called for more than the measly six debates scheduled by the chair.  (There were 16 in 2008.)  
Most voters won't give a rat's ass about intra-party squabbling, something we're far more used to hearing about from those feckless Republicans.  But there is a consequence to Wasserman Schultz's sycophancy.  I hate to break it to Sanders supporters, but he's not going to win the nomination and that will have zip to do with Wasserman Schultz.  Clinton may need every vote she can get in the general election, and Sanders supporters who stay home on Election Day because they're sore about how the DNC treated their Bernie could be a problem -- if not a disaster.  Can you say President Cruz?
As I wrote in June 2008 when the proverbial shoe was one another foot:
"Like radio waves reaching earth from some cosmic calamity millennia ago, the yarbling of Hillary Clinton sycophants who believe that her candidacy was gang banged into extinction by the mainstream media, right-wing bloggers and Barack Obama acolytes can be faintly heard, although it is so much background noise as Clinton herself and practically everyone else who is determined to take back America link arms and march toward November.
"Has it only been five days since Clinton's extraordinarily gracious concession speech? It seems like light years in this corner of the universe where the political landscape changes by the news cycle, and yet some diehards just can't seem to face up to the reality that the fancy evening gowns they bought so they could dance the night away with Bill and Hill at her inaugural balls will have to be returned.
"The most obnoxious of these diehards claim that their refusal to turn the page, let alone return their dresses, is a sign of gender solidarity, while the most extreme of the obnoxious howl that for good measure they will vote for Mr. McCain or not at all, even though that would improve the chances that it will be John and the woman he has referred to by the four-letter name for her sex organ might be tripping the light fantastic come the evening of January 20, 2009.
 Can you say President Cruz?
Bernie Sanders showed again during the third Democratic presidential debate on Saturday night that why he's still not quite ready for prime time, that actually makes him more of a stand-up guy than the opposition.  Sadly, none of that matters in what passes for politics today
Although terrorism and ISIS are the big story of the moment, Sanders prattled on in his opening remarks about "establishment politics and establishment economics," the nation's "rigged economy," the "corrupt" campaign finance system, and then the "planetary crisis of climate change" before . . . um, noting that, by golly, he too wanted to destroy the Islamic State. 
The impression persists and grows that Sanders remains somewhat bemused that he's made it this far, and he's been more comfortable with calling his campaign a movement than making it one. 
It is one of his two greatest "weaknesses" -- an honest streak, by golly -- that keeps him from going all out against Hillary Clinton, who certainly is vulnerable on a number of fronts but once again emerged unscathed on Saturday night.  The other "weakness" is a reluctance to focus on anything more than his own message, and that message isn't patting frightened Americans on their heads and telling them he'll kill those bad jihadists, which happens to be Clinton's message and a winning one. 
Clinton also is a damned good debater and has been adept at softening the few punches thrown by Sanders.
"Should corporate America love Hillary Clinton?" ABC News moderator David Muir asked after Sanders called her out the other night on her Wall Street ties.
"Everybody should," Clinton responded to laughter all around.  So let's leave it at this: Sanders's supporters love him for who he is and not the candidate he needs to become.

Politix Update is an irregular compendium written by veteran journalist Shaun Mullen, for whom the 2016 presidential campaign is his (gasp!) 12th since 1968.  Click HERE  for an index of previous Politix Updates.


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