Monday, October 22, 2007

It Takes Drudgery

Hillary Clinton has found yet another way to drive the Republicans and the wing nuts crazy: she’s buddying up with Matt Drudge.

Mrs. Clinton’s aides declined to discuss how the Drudge Report got access to her latest fund-raising figures nearly 20 minutes before the official announcement went to supporters. But it was a prime example of a development that has surprised much of the political world: Mrs. Clinton is learning to play nice with the Drudge Report and the powerful, elusive and conservative-leaning man behind it.

That man, Matt Drudge, came to national prominence a decade ago as a nemesis of the Clintons who used the Web to peddle, gleefully, the latest news and rumor generated by the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

That people in Mrs. Clinton’s campaign orbit would tip off the Drudge Report to its fund-raising numbers is in part a reflection of her pragmatic approach to dealing with potential enemies, like Newt Gingrich or Rupert Murdoch. But it also speaks to the enduring power of the Drudge Report, which mixes original reporting with links to newspaper, Internet or television reports far and wide.

I have no delusion that the Drudge Report or its keeper has suddenly turned liberal or that he’s interested in getting Senator Clinton into the White House for ideological reasons. As Mr. Drudge once noted, it’s all about the dough: “I need Hillary Clinton. You don’t get it. I need to be part of her world. That’s my bank.”