DICK MORRIS ’08 PLAY-BY-PLAY ANALYSIS
Volume 1, #14
June 29, 2007
FAILURE TO PASS IMMIGRATION REFORM BILL WILL HELP DEMS IN ’08
The primary objective of the Democrats in the immigration debate was to put ten million illegal immigrants on the road to citizenship in the hopes that they would swell the ranks of their party’s adherents. But if the bill failed, as it did, their backup plan may have been to alienate Republicans from the Latino vote because of the failure.
And the backup objective may have been achieved.
Bush had been making significant inroads into the Hispanic vote. Gore carried Latinos by 30 points but Kerry won them by only 10 points. Now, by rejecting the bill, the Republicans have likely driven the Latino vote back into the waiting arms of the Democrats.
Angry at the Republican-led rejection of the immigration bill – and despite the defection of fifteen Democrats who voted to kill it — Latinos are poised to reject Republicans in 2008.
Indeed, is it possible that fifteen Democrats voted against the bill to assure its defeat and guarantee that Latinos would turn on the Republicans in retaliation for killing the bill?
It’s certainly possible.
Another casualty of the immigration debacle is McCain. With falling poll numbers, conservative anger over his immigration position, and the entry of Fred Thompson into the race, one wonders how much longer McCain can hold on.
HOLD ONTO YOUR WALLETS: HILLARY CLINTON HINTS AT HUGE TAX INCREASES BY REMOVING CAP ON SOCIAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTIONS
Hillary Clinton seems to be planning a major tax increase by removing the cap on the Social Security tax. Currently, the 12.4% tax is eliminated when a self-employed individual’s earnings reach $97,500 (employees and employers equally share the burden for the rest of the work force). But Hillary is suggesting that the tax is unfair and that the cap favors the rich.
She’s never hidden the fact that she plans to increase taxes on the rich, but now she seems to be targeting people who aren’t so rich. At a speech in California last year, Hillary Clinton told an audience of wealthy supporters that she planned to take money from them to contribute to the general good.
But at last night’s Howard University debate, Clinton suggested that she supported eliminating – or at least changing – the social security cap. Echoing the position of Warren Buffet (and shamelessly pandering to him), Clinton argued that
“And when you cut off the contribution at $90,000, $95,000, that’s a lot of money between $95,000 and the $46 million…. So, yes we have to change the tax system," Clinton said, "and we’ve got to get back to having those with the most contribute to this country."
Clinton’s flacks were obviously concerned that the press might notice that she was truly off message on the tax issue. She’s supposed to be very careful about how she discusses tax increases. Pollster Mark Penn – who knows nothing about public policy but everything about polls – insisted that she was not even considering an increase in the social security tax.
At least not until she’s elected, right?
NOTE: While it is our policy to only make play-by-play articles available to subscribers, we will be releasing the above information today AFTER it is sent to you because it is so important.
FRED THOMPSON SURGES, BUT CAN HE REALLY BE THE ‘OUTSIDER’ CANDIDATE OF CHANGE IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY?
Without even declaring his candidacy or participating in any of the debates, Fred Thompson finds himself vaulting past Gingrich, Romney, and McCain into second place – with only Giuliani ahead of him among Republican primary voters. Will it last?
The surge for Thompson reflects the disenchantment in the Republican base of the candidates’ records and positions on a number of conservative issues. They’re angry at McCain because of his sponsorship of the immigration reform legislation that was just killed in the Senate. And they’re suspicious of Romney after his flip-flopping on the abortion issue (after his pro-choice posturing as Massachusetts governor). While they like Giuliani’s anti-terror positions, they don’t like his pro-life stance.
And, along with almost all of the other voters in America, conservatives are sick of the ‘inside the Beltway’ mentality that has crippled Congress and prevented long overdue legislation on immigration, taxes, health care reform, etc. So they are looking for a new direction and a new kind of candidate.
Enter Fred Thompson.
In virtually every poll taken in June, Thompson beats Mc Cain and hovers near 20% of the primary vote – a remarkable achievement for someone who hasn’t spent a dime on advertising or self-promotion.
Thompson is a charismatic one-of-a-kind politician. At first glance, he seems to have all of the characteristics of an independent outsider who isn’t wound up in the ways of Washington that voters so despise. Although he’s been both a Senator and a lobbyist, his history is one of a maverick who calls things as he sees them.
Early in his career, as Minority Counsel to the Watergate Committee, he showed guts and brains. He wasn’t afraid to ask the tough questions. It was he who asked the question that led to the revelation of the Nixon taping system in the Oval Office. In Tennessee, he publicly fought corruption and was instrumental in outing the Republican Governor who was selling pardons.
So, Thompson seems like a new face who can bring about the change that voters want in Washingotn.
But a careful look at the people he’s surrounding himself with suggests that a Thompson Administration might mean more of the same old, same old.
If you liked the politics of Cheney and the Bush White House, you’ll love the Thompson campaign.
Thompson has brought in Liz Cheney, the daughter of the Vice-President and a former State Department employee as a consultant. He’s also listening to another unpaid adviser, Mary Matalin, a former Cheney counselor in the White House. Remember the horrible job she did in handling the press for Cheney after his shooting accident? She was ridiculed by the press for advising secrecy, telling a preposterous story, and grandstanding. She is not going to be helpful with the press. And you can’t get more Washington insider than Matalin. She even described herself as an ‘insider’ on Meet the Press when she was promoting and advising the doomed presidential candidacy of former Virginia Senator George Allen before he was resoundingly defeated in the Senate race. According to Matalin, the “insiders” were supporting Allen, herself included. So much for the insider vote. Ms. Cheney and Ms. Matalin won’t do much for Thompson’s outsider image.
And there’s more.
Tim Griffin, a former aide to Karl Rove who was at the epicenter of the U.S. Attorney scandal, has also joined the team. Griffin was one of the eleven U.S. Attorney appointments that are under Congressional scrutiny. Griffin was forced to resign. Thompson’s unofficial spokesman, Mark Corallo, was Karl Rove’s spokesman on the Scooter Libby matter.
Thompson is also advised by aggressive Washington partisans Dave Bossie and Victoria Toensing, who are long time insider operatives.
With a team of experienced high profile ‘inside the beltway’ partisans, Fred Thompson will have a hard time maintaining the image of the cool-headed outsider who rises above partisan politics.
In fact, given Giuliani’s truly outsider status and McCain’s history as a maverick, Thompson may become the poster boy for the status quo.
Then there’s his lobbyist team members who are tied to the tobacco industry. Tom Collamore, described as his “campaign manager in waiting” served in the Reagan and Bush I administrations and was a Vice-President of Public Affairs at Altria, the newly sanitized name for Philip Morris. According to The Nation, Collamore’s division was "responsible for implementing countermeasures to combat public health efforts to control tobacco…”
Rumored to be joining Collamore is Ken Reitz who reportedly collaborated with Griffin in the tobacco wars. Reitz created the supposedly grass roots organization “National Smokers Alliance” for the tobacco industry when he was at Burston-Marstellar, the mega lobbying and public relations firm. The Alliance was supposed to look like an independent organization, although it was funded by Philip Morris. In another example of Beltway six degrees of separation, Burston is now headed by Mark Penn, the Clinton pollster who has lately been in hot water for overseeing work with Burston’s union-busting clients.
So far, Thompson is not putting together a team that reflects his message as the independent outsider who can change the way that Washington does business. Mr. Outsider is looking more like Mr. Insider, who will do business as usual.
But, so far, Thompson’s doing great and will likely have another upswing in the polls once he announces.
Stay tuned to see how the insider/outsider image works.
THE KEY TO HILLARY’S STRENGTH: UNMARRIED WOMEN
The key to Hillary Clinton’s ability to consistently remain ahead of her competitors in the polls is based on one key factor: her incredible level of support from unmarried women. Those who intuitively feel that she cannot win have just not asked enough unmarried women about their opinion. Single women will elect her President!
A recent analysis by Gallup highlights the vast gap in opinions of the New York Senator depending on the respondent’s gender and marital status. Single women who vote in Democratic primaries are twice as likely to have a favorable opinion of Hillary as are married male Democratic primary voters. No other candidate has a gap even approaching this order of magnitude:
Perceptions of Democratic Candidates by Gender and Marital Status
Candidate % favorable
Single Married Single Married
Hillary 61% 47% 49% 37%
Obama 55% 52% 50% 53%
Edwards 54% 53% 51% 45%
The difference in voting habits based on gender is no new phenomenon. In the last three presidential elections, married voters backed the Republican candidate by a 19 point average margin while unmarried voters backed the Democrat by an average of 17 points.
In current polls, the gender and marriage gap remains formidable:
Party Identification by Gender and Marital Status
Single Women 64% 29%
Single Men 56% 34%
Married Women 46% 46%
Married Men 39% 52%
Not only does Hillary run better among single women, but, because they are more likely to identify with the Democratic Party, these unmarried women are far more likely to participate in the Democratic primary than in the GOP contest, giving Hillary a double advantage.
The fact that Hillary runs strongest among the strongest element of the Democratic Party’s constituency gives her an enormous advantage in the primaries. And there are lots of single women.
Why do single voters, particularly women, identify more with the Democrats? Abortion is the most likely single factor. Reproductive political issues are, of course, far more relevant with unmarried voters than with those who are married. But there’s another issue: Single women are overwhelmingly against the war in Iraq. Does that help explain Hillary’s journey from hawk to dove?
But economic differences likely play a huge role as well. Married voters, who typically have two wage earners, are richer than single voters. Particularly among women, the economic differences between those in and out of marriage are substantial.
Finally, single women are often very much in need of government services. Particularly if they have children, they are likely to be more focused on the need for child care, education, good public transportation and a host of issues normally identified with the Democratic Party.
Single women now constitute half of the female population in the United States. But of the 65 million women who voted in the general election of 2004, only 27 million were single. Had they voted at the proper share they represent in the population, there would have been at least five million more single women voters. (As it was, the single female vote rose from 19 million in 2000 to 27 million in 2004). If Hillary is running, the chances are excellent that the turnout among single women will rise even more dramatically than it did in the past, giving her a big advantage.
If we want to examine the strength of any of the other presidential candidates, we need to look at their political positions and appeal. But to understand Hillary’s advantage, we need, instead to look at her voters and their demographics. It is this factor, more than any other, that gives Hillary a big edge going into the elections.
WHY THE SOPRANOS AD?
Voters are buzzing over why the Clintons ran a video imitating the TV series, The Sopranos, in their final scene at a neighborhood diner. Were they trying to get Italian voters? Was it an effort to appear down-to-earth?
No. It was really an effort to bind the Clintons together in the public’s mind. As their tempestuous marriage has waxed and waned, the public often has concluded that it is a political marriage of convenience rather than a real bond. But as Hillary runs against Obama in the primaries, she needs to stress the difference in their relative levels of experience.
The problem is that there really is very little difference. Obama has been a Senator for just four fewer years than Hillary and has a longer experience in elected office than the former first lady. To exploit Obama’s lack of experience, Hillary needs to co-opt Bill’s experience at the White House and appropriate it as her own. She needs to foster the image of a co-presidency, emphasizing her role in his accomplishments – even though she had nothing to do with most of his record.
So, now, she was virtually running the Clinton Presidency. During the White House years, she told a different story. After her extensive involvement in Bill’s presidency led to disaster when her health care reform initiative was defeated in 1994, Hillary and Bill both made a conscious effort to downplay her involvement in the workings of the Administration. Hillary traveled the world, visiting more than seventy countries, wrote a best seller – It Takes A Village, went on book signings, wrote a newspaper column, and was generally absent from the White House. She never attended strategy or policy meetings and was quite clearly out of the loop.
Indeed, after the 1994 debacle, it was a deliberate act of political strategy to sideline the first lady so that the popular perception that her strength equaled Bill’s weakness would not stop his re-election. Back then, the marriage was seen by voters as a zero sum game and surveys found voters saying “she wears the pants in the family.” To diminish this negative and reinforce the image of Bill Clinton’s strength, Hillary deliberately stayed away from the center of power.
After the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke in January of 1998, Hillary returned to the White House to stand by her man to assure that he would not be removed from office. Denying that the reports of Bill’s relationship with Monica were true, she very publicly backed him up, calling the charges against him part of a “vast right wing conspiracy.”
Now it is especially important for Hillary to be seen as close to Bill, not just to exploit his popularity, but to merge their records and give her a vast edge in experience over the ingénue Barack Obama.
So, we’ll be seeing lots of Bill and Hillary together. And we’ll start to hear lots more from Bill about Hillary’s ‘experience.’
BUSH ALIENATES WHAT’S LEFT OF HIS BASE
George Bush’s approval rate is down below 30% in most surveys…and he seems on losing whatever support he still has. Bush’s support of immigration reform, widely seen as amnesty among Republican stalwarts, has cost him approval from his core voters.
So why did Bush do it? Why did he push this bill?
Both Republicans and Democrats are terrified of losing the Hispanic-American vote in perpetuity. Latinos cast 6% of the vote in the election of 1996. By 2000 they were up to 8%. In 2004 they cast 10% of the vote and, in 2008, may account for 12% or more. By 2020, they are expected to constitute 20% of the electorate. With blacks now accounting for 12% of the vote and edging up, although more slowly than are Latinos, it is likely that blacks and Hispanics will cast more than one-third of the vote by 2020.
If the Latino population votes the way blacks do – 9:1 Democratic – the Republican Party is doomed. It would just not be possible for it to carry the white/Anglo vote by the 2:1 margin it would need to offset the black and Latino vote if Hispanics block vote for Democrats.
So Bush was determined that the bill giving Latinos legal status in the United States would have the signature of a Republican president. Now that the bill is dead, the argument goes, it will lead to the permanent loss of the Latino vote to the Republicans.
Republican voters were so turned off the immigration bill that they give Bush a 24-48 negative rating in the most recent Rasmussen Poll for his performance on immigration. In fact, it is Republican disapproval of Bush’s actions in support of the immigration bill that have pushed his job performance numbers below 30% for the first time in his presidency.
OUTRAGE OF THE WEEK:
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WANTS A 4.4% RAISE!
At a time when public disapproval of Congress is at the lowest in history, the House wants a cost of living raise. No one likes the job that they are doing – only 14% of Americans have a positive view of Congress – and with good reason. They do nothing, get paid a lot, and often travel to exotic places on free trips paid for by the taxpayers or private organizations.
Consider their schedule for last week:
On Monday, they were in session for approximately SIX MINUTES – from 6:24 P.M. until 6:30 P.M. And what weighty business did they transpire? Well, they passed the following resolutions:
1) A sense of the House that a "Welcome Home Vietnam Day" should be established.
QUESTION: Aren’t they a little late on the welcome home? The War ended more than thirty years ago. How about making sure the sacrifices of the Vietnam Vets are recognized and that their physical and emotional needs are taken care of?
2) Naming the Charles George Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center.
3) Passing a resolution "recognizing the innumerable contributions of the recreational boating community and the boating industry to the continuing prosperity and affluence of the United States."
And although the House failed to pass a tough immigration reform bill that deals with the Mexican border, it did, however, pass a resolution “prohibiting the use of funds for continued operation of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program!"
That’s what passes for a day’s work in the House. They’re already paid at least $165,500 – and now they want more!
Now that’s an outrage!
Senator John McCain showed up to vote in the Senate on only two days in the entire month of June – on the 28th to vote on the Immigration Bill and on June 6th. The Senate was only in session for 13 days in June – about 3 days a week, but still McCain didn’t appear.
And it sounds like Hillary Clinton is getting ready to start missing votes, too. She indicated to The New York Times that she would probably be missing votes and would try to balance her commitment to the Senate and her “commitment to the campaign.”
Both Clinton and McCain were elected – and are being paid – to sit in the Senate. But, in effect, they are being paid by the taxpayers to run for another office.
The other candidates have bad attendance records, too – especially Dodd and Brownback.
***Copyright Eileen McGann and Dick Morris 2007. Reprints with permission only***
Did fifteen Democrats vote to kill the immigration bill to assure its defeat and guarantee that the Latino vote would go Democrat in the 2008 election?
Published on FoxNews.com on June 28, 2007.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has disclosed that she holds stock valued at up to $15,000 in Alcatel-Lucent (formerly Alcatel SA), a company with extensive investments in Iran and Sudan- nations that sponsor terrorism.
The defeat of the immigration bill will boost the chances of a Democratic victory in 2008, giving Hillary Clinton, the probable Democratic candidate, a strong advantage. Hispanic voters will undoubtedly blame the Republicans for the failure of the bill. In 2004, Bush made progress among Latino voters, coming within ten points of Kerry among Hispanics, having lost them by 30 points to Gore four years before. But in 2006, Latinos voted Democrat by more than 40 points according to exit polls because of their anger at the harsh Republican immigration proposals. Now that the Republicans have defeated the immigration bill, they will very likely pay a steep price at the polls in 2008.
Published on TheHill.com on June 27, 2007.
Will George W. Bush try to steal a page from Richard Nixon and, reading the handwriting on the wall after a dismal showing in the congressional elections, begin to pull troops out of Iraq by the end of the year? If he does, will it save the Republican Party?
Published in the New York Post on June 25, 2007.
The conventional wisdom says that we have two choices in confronting and containing Iranian nuclear ambitions – United Nations sanctions and diplomacy, or a military strike to knock out key nuclear sites. But neither option is a good one. U.N. sanctions are relatively tame and don’t go to the heart of how to cripple the Iranian theocracy. A military strike, meanwhile, would solve the regime’s major problem: how to gin up popular support and stay in power. Any attack risks causing nationalism in Iran to soar, rallying the public around a now-unpopular government.
It may be wishful thinking, but the increasing evidence that the US military does not think highly of the way the Iraqi leadership has used the extra time afforded by the surge in American troop strength raises the possibility that Bush could begin to order a draw down of US forces in Iraq by the end of the year.
Published on FoxNews.com on June 22, 2007.
Americans are not happy about the job that Congress is doing, and with very good reason. According to the results of a Gallup Poll completed last week, only 14 percent of the American people have a lot of confidence in Congress.
That’s the lowest Congressional rating since Gallup started measuring confidence in American institutions in May of 1973. Even then, at the height of the Watergate scandal, Congress scored a 42 percent confidence rating. And now, Congress is rated as the worst of all 16 American institutions measured.
Hillary Clinton’s opponents, eager to make up the ground between their candidacies and hers’ in most national polls face a basic problem: The Democratic primary voters will not tolerate negatives. So partisan is the division in the country as the 2008 election approaches that Democrats resent it when members of their own party speak ill of Hillary. So how are Obama and Edwards to make up lost ground? They can’t throw negatives. Hillary has coopted their position on Iraq by reversing her previous commitments and voting for a date certain to withdraw and to cut off funding. Neither of Hillary’s major opponents have a handle to use in defeating her. And that’s why she will probably win the nomination.
Published on TheHill.com on June 20, 2007.
Anyone who wonders why Congress has a job approval rating of 23 percent, seven points lower than even Bush’s, need only look at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) failure to change the ethics of the Congress. Having pledged to make Congress full-time and put the lackadaisical members to work, she then announced a schedule for 2007 in which House members will have 20 weeks off (and when they work, it’s Tuesday to Thursday most of the time).