“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.” David Plouffe, President Obama’s former Chief Political Strategist
Plouffe for Free Markets
Obama’s strategist discovers the virtues of capitalism.
Aug. 20, 2014 7:18 p.m. ET
Everyone has to make a living, so far be it from us to complain that David Plouffe, President Obama’s former chief political strategist, is joining a private business to fight government regulation. The uber-politico will join Uber, the four-year-old San Francisco company that uses smartphones to compete with taxi services to get passengers around big cities.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick says Mr. Plouffe will oversee the company’s policy and communications strategy starting in September. Mr. Kalanick, whowe profiled in January 2013 when Uber was getting rolling, has been battling regulators and politicians across the world who want to maintain established interests in the taxi business.
“Uber has the chance to be a once in a decade if not a once in a generation company,” Mr. Plouffe said in a statement. “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.”
We couldn’t have said it better, and it’s nice to see the man who elected the most anti-free-market President since Richard Nixon extol the wonders of business competition. Uber’s fight is primarily in big cities, so Mr. Plouffe won’t have to lobby his former boss to change many of his policies. But having to fight city hall and the taxi cartel is suitable penance for his political sins.
The young policy wonk may also discover that Uber’s future will depend on the overall health of the economy. Uber is competing with ride-sharing upstart Lyft, as well as private cars, subways, buses and other conventional means of transportation.
The faster the economy grows the more money urban commuters and tourists will have to spend on Uber’s relatively high-priced services. Perhaps Mr. Plouffe can prevail on his former boss to be less hostile to every other American business?
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