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. 


"[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. 



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