David Plouffe ran Barack Obama's campaign as a steady and extended fuck-you to the hyperventilating Drudge junkies at Politico, and we loved him for it. Now he's admitted he was leaking to them the whole time.
"If Politico and Halperin say we're winning, we're losing," Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, would repeat mantralike around headquarters. He said his least favorite words in the English language were, "I saw someone on cable say this. . . ."
Oh how that lifted our hearts and gave us solace! We've often returned to it late at night when our thoughts are troubled by Tea Parties and death panels, and we fall asleep with the sounds of Plouffe's soothing, measured voice whispering in our ear that it's all going to be OK—that the shouting and the cynical, empty-headed analysis and the superficial horse race obsession and the bullshit stories all amount to little more than sound and fury. He proved that you can win by ignoring it.
But it's still a useful sound, and a pliant fury! Because Plouffe dropped one of the biggest "I saw someone on cable say this..." Drudge-bait stories of the primary into Politico's lap—he was responsible for saddling John Edwards with the $400 haircut story via a tip to Ben Smith:
Obama's campaign had a particularly capable opposition research shop, a source of tips to many reporters, not all of them on policy. And Plouffe, in passing, outs the campaign as the source of a brief item I did in April 2007 off an Edwards campaign expenditure — probably driving as much traffic, chatter and grief as anything that short I've ever written.
"We did much less of this [opposition research] than other campaigns did," Plouffe writes a bit self-servingly, "but there were times we indulged — it was our researchers who found John Edwards's infamous $400 hair cut expenditures."
So you can't win by ignoring Politico. You have to pretend to ignore them while you service them with material that makes your opponents look like the shallow self-obsessed divas that they are. There are no heroes.