In 2008, David Plouffe helped Barack Obama win one of the most pivotal elections in American history. Today, he just announced he's going full-time at Uber, helping the transit startup try to conquer the world.
Recode reports Plouffe is now the "SVP of policy and strategy" at Uber, where he'll coordinate a national "campaign" against regulators and competition. In a blog post, CEO Travis Kalanick paints business success in political rhetoric:
We are in the middle of a political campaign and it turns out the candidate is Uber. Our opponent – the Big Taxi cartel – has used decades of political contributions and influence to restrict competition, reduce choice for consumers, and put a stranglehold on economic opportunity for its drivers.
Our roots are technology, not politics, writing code and rolling out transportation systems. The result is that not enough people here in America and around the world know our story, our mission, and the positive impact we're having. Uber has been in a campaign but hasn't been running one. That is changing now.
Emphasis added. Plouffe himself explains his mission, which is nothing less than destroying the regulated taxi cab industry:
Uber has the chance to be a once in a decade if not a once in a generation company. Of course, that poses a threat to some, and I've watched as the taxi industry cartel has tried to stand in the way of technology and big change. Ultimately, that approach is unwinnable. But I look forward to doing what I can right now to ensure drivers and riders are not denied their opportunity for choice in transportation due to those who want to maintain a monopoly and play the inside game to deny opportunity to those on the outside.
These are very righteous words to describe what is basically a business strategy to maximize profits for Uber and its investors.
Cabs were already mostly fucked in the face of smartphone competitors, so what are they now? What's the point beyond fucked, when a company wields hundreds of millions of dollars in cash from powerful venture capitalists, and now commands the loyalty of one of the top political operators in the United States? Plouffe also has a knack for playing dirty sometimes—his team planted the infamous $400 haircut story against John Edwards—so he should be right at home with his new team.