Interestingly enough, after the 1972 campaign rolled around, even White seemed to agree. Tim Crouse, in The Boys on The Bus, his own constellation-dwelling campaign coverage expos√©, interviewed White, by then the author of ’64 and ’68 Making clones, in his Manhattan townhouse. White recounted an anecdote from the ’72 campaign, when reporters stalked George McGovern and an aide as they desperately sought privacy to chew over his upcoming vice-presidential pick, one of any campaign’s greatest “process” decisions:

“…all of us are observing him, taking notes like mad, getting all the little details. Which I think I invented as a method of reporting and which I now sincerely regret. If you write about this, say that I sincerely regret it.”

Alas, such regrets didn’t stop White from pressing ahead and releasing a 1972 Making of the President. Why? Was it the lure of money? The thrill of the trail? His exclusive access or transparent love of the political game? Who knows.

Halperin now helms “The Page,” Time.com’s bloggy campaign round-up. And today, the very day after renouncing his old ways in our nation’s most public forum short of Oprah’s couch, he’s back to his old tricks, pushing a regular diet of frivolous campaign squabbles, TV ads, and direct mailings. He also teases the implications of upcoming Obama campaign appearances by, yes, Oprah Winfrey.

For Halperin, like White before, it seems repenting is a step well short of reforming.

Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.