Less is Morris

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 11 2010 9:43 AM

Less is Morris

Media Matters takes a whack at Dick Morris, which -- let's be honest -- is not that hard to do. Among his pre-election predictions:

"[Y]ou have Washington state, where Rossi and Murray are dead even tied, which I think it means Rossi is going to win."

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

Advertisement

"[D]on't count out Linda McMahon in Connecticut."

"Don't count out Christine O'Donnell in Delaware."

Morris also predicted, upsets in House races where Democrats won by landslides, like Steny Hoyer's re-election bid. Why'd he do this? Because Morris realizes that pundits are not punished or rewarded based on whether their predictions come true. They are punished or rewarded based on whether their predictions make good TV. And specifically, in his case, they are rewarded if they run PACs that raise money based on the idea that Republicans can win a bunch of crazy upsets. Before the election David Corn turned the lights on Morris's "SuperPAC."

In his fundraising email, Morris asserts that "there are 50 likely seats that Republicans will win this year" and the Republican Party and other donors "are contributing heavily" to these races. The Super PAC for America, he maintains, will select 50 "second-tier" races for seats the Democrats consider "safe." Morris claims, "With a relatively small amount of money spent by Super PAC in these districts we could win an additional 50 seats, giving Republicans 100 new seats for this Congress." And he says he's looking to raise $20 million, noting that about $400,000 dumped into a congressional district will "give us one more Republican in Congress." But if you can't afford to give Super PAC for America $400,000, he suggests you consider $100,000; $50,000; $1000; $5000; or $250.

The pitch: Dick Morris, a former Clinton adviser, knows a lot about politics! The hard sell: Dick Morris is on TV, putting his mouth where his mouth is, saying Republicans can win these things! The hope seems to be that no one will notice when the upsets don't happen.

(Hat tip: TNR's Brad Plumer.)

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Photography
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
  Arts
Television
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 21 2014 11:38 PM “Welcome to the War of Tomorrow” How Futurama’s writers depicted asymmetrical warfare.
  Health & Science
The Good Word
Sept. 21 2014 11:44 PM Does This Name Make Me Sound High-Fat? Why it just seems so right to call a cracker “Cheez-It.”
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.