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January 18, 2008
Dick Morris' Cracked Crystal Ball
Bill Clinton’s former advisor and campaign director has parlayed his past affiliation with the Clinton’s into a career in political punditry. He often has extremely valuable insights, but his predictions of late don’t compare well with events.
Morris is a frequent commentator on the FOX television network, particularly the The Bill O’Reilly Factor and Hannity & Colmes shows, where his predictions are often engaging, entertaining, and wrong. A review of his most recent articles on his website documents his fallibility as a political seer. Here are several of his recent miscues.
December 12, 2007, The Oprah Factor: A Big Boost For Obama
Oprah’s endorsement of Sen. Barack OBAMA (d-Ill.) is truly unique and will have a profound impact on the presidential race. (Profound? “Short-lived” would have been a more profound prediction.)
December 20, 2007, Make Or Break In Michigan
Huckabee will enter Michigan seeking to recapture the momentum he’ll have gained after Iowa and lost in New Hampshire…If he loses Michigan, he’ll be gone. (Huckabee lost in Michigan and he’s not gone.)
The Democratic primary in Michigan doesn’t matter because Hillary Clinton is the only major candidate on the ballot. (The split among blacks who voted for Clinton versus Mr. Uncommitted does matter.)
January 4, 2008, Analyzing Iowa: Two Historic Victories
On the Democratic side, Obama – by winning in a totally white state – shows that racism is gone as a factor in American politics. (Hold that thought a moment, we’ll return to it.)
The Obama win last night [in Iowa] probably presages another in New Hampshire and follow-up victories in Nevada and South Carolina. (Oops, wrong on New Hampshire.)
January 8, 2008, Here Come Those Tears
She must have known the political consequences, particularly for female candidate, of tears…Hillary lacks the temperament to be president…And, on Monday, in the snows of New Hampshire, Hillary Rodham Clinton failed the test. (And won the primary there. Other pundits say the crying helped soften her image. )
January 9, 2008, Now Barack Better Brace For Barrage
As surely as Bill used the race card by attacking rap singer Sister Souljah in 1992, Hillary will use race to win in 2008. (Is this the same Dick Morris who wrote five days earlier, on Jan. 4, that “racism is gone as a factor in American politics?”)
The voters in New Hampshire did America a favor by knocking Mitt Romney back and possibly out of the race. (“Possibly,” then. Not actually, now.)
The GOP race will boil down to McCain, Giuliani and Mike Huckabee, a tough choice for down-the-line conservatives, but a choice among candidates who are most electable in November. (Morris used “will” instead of the non-committal “could” or “may” and committed a cardinal sin of political prognostication—he made a bold prediction.)
January 13, 2008, Man To Beat: McCain’s Cross-Party Appeal
John McCain is starting to look like the candidate to beat for the GOP nomination. (Hold Morris’ thought a moment, we’ll come back to it.)
[And] each primary provides more proof of how unattractive voters find Romney…he still can’t sell because people don’t like him. (They liked him in Michigan. Romney wins one small primary, finishes 2nd in the two others, and wins Michigan. This is categorically “unattractive?”)
After Michigan, McCain was no longer the only “Man To Beat.” So, in his January 16 piece entitled “Michigan’s Meaning: GOP Chaos,” Morris blamed the cracks in his crystal ball on the GOP, and wrote,
The GOP race has now descended into total chaos…This is no way to select a nominee who can win. The Republican Party is simply not used to selecting a nominee without having it imposed from above. (And letting citizens select, and not having it “imposed from above,” is a bad thing?)
The GOP race always was chaotic. Morris’ attempts to predict events and read the voters have mirrored that chaos.
Nevertheless, Morris will continue to be a guest commentator on FOX because he’s good humored and entertaining. May he long flourish! But if he’d been handicapping the ponies for barber shop bookies in Chicago, both his legs would be broken by now. Politics may not be beanbag, but it is not the roughest game out there.
Finally, on January 16, "In Contrast To Obama, Hillary Plays The Race Card," Morris wrote
But precisely to distinguish himself from the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of American politics, Obama resisted any racial appeal or even reference. His rhetoric, argumentation, and presentation was indistinguishable from a skilled white candidate's.
Morris has overlooked Obama's oratorical motif
of imitating the speech patterns of Dr. Martin Luther King as a gentle play of the race card.