Is Obama cutting the Dem Congress loose?

We’ve heard plenty about “triage” — about the Democrats cutting loose their weakest members in hopes of saving the ones whose victory seems more within reach. But what about “auto-triage,” by which the White House dumps party money into an organization that will build up his 2012 chances but will have no effect in 2010?

This comes from none other than Time:

What happened to Barack Obama’s once vaunted political machine? The outfit that put upwards of 8 million volunteers on the street in 2008 — known as Organizing for America — is a ghost of its former self. Its staff has shrunk from 6,000 to 300, and its donors are depressed: receipts are a fraction of what they were in 2008. Virtually no one in politics believes it will turn many contests this fall. “There’s no chance that OFA is going to have the slightest impact on the midterms,” says Charlie Cook, who tracks congressional races…

So earlier this year, when the White House gave OFA a whopping $30 million — more than half of the party’s entire budget for 2010 — senior Democrats suspected a hidden agenda. Several tell Time that OFA boss David Plouffe, who ran Obama’s 2008 campaign, is using the cash to rebuild an army for 2012 under the cover of boosting turnout in 2010. OFA is putting staff into such states as Virginia, North Carolina and Arizona, which have few close statewide races this fall but which are all prime targets in an Obama re-election campaign. “This is totally about 2012,” Cook says.

Naturally, Plouffe denies this, but think about it for a minute. Time Magazine is not exactly a bastion of conservative thought, and Obama really is in trouble for 2012. So the story at least passes the laugh test.

Now think about it again while you watch what follows. It’s a strategy video by David Plouffe that contains a nearly ludicrous campaign discussion. For some reason, Plouffe chooses to discuss Pennsylvania — a must-win state for Obama 2012, but hardly Democrats’ best chance in 2010.

The Senate race is a “dead heat,” he says, and he adds that Joe Sestak (who polls six to ten points behind) is running a great campaign. He also talks up the chances of the Democratic candidate for governor, whom most people have written off as dead meat (he has trailed by 11, 14 and 15 points in the last three major polls).

Meanwhile, David Bernstein is getting calls from the DNC to see if he’ll be voting Democratic. He lives in the impregnably Democratic Northern Virginia district of Rep. Jim Moran, who would probably win even if he was caught robbing a bank the week before Election Day. There are no statewide races in Virginia this year.

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