Until recently, this political epitaph might have been written for Dick Morris: "An amoral but brilliant consultant, strategist, and analyst -- the man who kept Bill Clinton in, and Hillary Clinton out of, the White House."
By selling the strategy of triangulation to Bill Clinton, Morris successfully neutered the Gingrich revolution of 1994. But he also neutered the worst political impulses of Bill Clinton (he couldn't do anything about the sexual ones) and forced Clinton to work with the Republican congress to balance budgets and reform welfare.
But Dick Morris is doing his best work now in his crusade against ObamaCare. He seems charged with high purpose, principle, and energy. If he continues to receive support, he might help save America from a health care catastrophe.
Catastrophe, of course, is also the title of Morris' recent co-authored bestseller outlining the countless ways that the most radical president in American history is leading the country towards a rendezvous with decline and doom. Almost nightly on Fox, he holds court with Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, or Greta van Susteren, offering up new and practical ways we can fight and win against the current 4,000 pages of legislative plague masquerading as health care reform.
Morris rightly sees the health care fight as the most crucial battle to wage against the Obama putsch. Without that victory, there is little chance for America to remain free, capitalistic, and dynamic. If we lose the battle against ObamaCare, America will become indistinguishable from the fatigued nations comprising socialist Europe. We'll have lots of vacation, but little freedom. We'll be considerably poorer. In permanence, at least 10% of us will be unemployed. And the quality of our health care will deteriorate, too, as all of it becomes scarce and rationed.
Morris' strategy relied first on baring the most illogical and untenable features of ObamaCare for all to see. For Morris, the easiest target was the large numbers of uninsured who would suddenly join the club of the cared-for.
His equation was simple. It would be impossible to add fifty million currently uninsured to a system whose physician totals were constant without seriously degrading the quality of medical delivery. Only longer waits for care -- the kinds endemic in both the British and Canadian systems (and now developing in Massachusetts, whose system is being stupidly parroted in Washington) -- could result. Morris captured this frightening future in an earnest ad with a neurosurgeon as spokesman.
Morris' second ad blitz deployed the strategy of carefully homing in on specific age segments that would be harmed by the current proposals. He targeted these groups by airing short, focused commercials.
Senior citizens largely happy with their current Medicare or Medicare Advantage coverage would be the age group most damaged under ObamaCare. Indeed, Morris points out that ObamaCare and the end of Medicare go hand in hand. Of the so-called savings in the current Senate bill, $400-$500 billion comes from Medicare cuts. A senior speaks of her worries with dirge-like background music in another very effective Morris placement. The result of these Morris-inspired ads and many of his blogs and columns, besides righteous indignation from Huffington Post offshoots, is that seniors have been the most negative demographic in health care polling. In a recent Rasmussen poll, 60% of seniors are opposed to the health care plan. With seniors apparently won over in opposition, Morris has recently begun to focus on the young. Well-designed polling hinted that the young, who were at first the most positive in their support of government health care (2:1 in favor, nearly the precise inverse of seniors' 2:1 against) became dramatically less supportive when educated about the details in the health care proposals. Indeed, Morris claims that according to a Zogby poll commissioned by his client, The League of American Voters, the young are now the most negative health care demographic of all. The ad addressing the young, who will have to fork over 12% of their salary for coverage, is cast as a spoof of the famous I'm a Mac/I'm a PC computer ads, with an officious government bureaucrat playing the role of PC and a perplexed twenty-something as the Mac.
Morris has been tireless in pushing back the government takeover of health care, and his efforts seem to be gaining traction among the groups that have literally defined the democratic coalition for generations: the old and the young. And Morris points out that the most difficult battles in Congress are only just looming, and that sixty Senate votes will be very hard to come by as coalitions splinter and Senate and House versions are reconciled. Morris still believes ObamaCare can be vanquished.
Perhaps a revised epitaph for Dick Morris is in order: "A tireless opponent of socialized medicine who led a long, productive life thanks to a health care system he played an instrumental role in preserving."