Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

January 23, 2009

WE CAN FINALLY REST EASY.... In a classic episode of "Seinfeld," George Costanza comes to realize that all of his instincts are completely wrong, all of the time. To improve his life, Costanza starts doing the opposite of everything he would ordinarily be inclined to do, and his reverse judgment pays off.

Conservative personality Dick Morris reminds me a lot of Costanza, except Morris hasn't quite learned that he's always wrong, so he doesn't realize that he shouldn't trust his misguided instincts.

In his latest column, for example, Morris insists that Obama will turn the United States into a quasi-socialist state in which the government "determines private-sector priorities," and will "create a permanent electoral majority that does not pay taxes, but counts on ever-expanding welfare checks from the government." It led Morris to conclude:

...Obama's name will be mud by 2012 and probably by 2010 as well. And the Republican Party will make big gains and regain much of its lost power.

Helping drive GOP gains, Morris explained, will be Obama's decision to ... wait for it ... re-impose the Fairness Doctrine, which he said would help undermine the growth of the Internet. There was no evidence Morris is kidding.

Morris' piece is obviously sky-is-falling hysterics, not to be taken seriously, but keeping George Costanza in mind, it should offer hope to the rest of us. Indeed, perusing Morris' recent columns, we learn that independents would break late for McCain; Sarah Palin would drive voters to the Republican ticket; Hillary Clinton would undermine the Obama campaign; ACORN was committing fraud and would drain support from Obama; and a weak economy would improve the Republicans' election chances. And that's just his print column -- it doesn't include how strikingly backwards Morris has been on television.

And now, the scandalous conservative commentator believes Obama will destroy the country, abandon capitalism, and lead to a historic resurgence for the Republican Party.

It sounds to me like Americans can rest easy.

Steve Benen 8:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (41)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

CPAR : Conservative Pundit Arms Race

Posted by: CarlP on January 23, 2009 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

Why such a crazed-obsession with the so-called "Fairness Doctrine" - that conservative pundits are saying that Democrats/Pres. Obama want back.

For some days after the election, on Boston 96.9 talk, Michael Graham would start his show as if reporting from warfare trenches, on the run... from evil Democratic censors.

At all - has there been any type of discussion or mention of something that gives the wingnuts some foothold\standing on their complaint? Or are they just totally off the bend!!!

Never mind - I think I can answer my own question.

Posted by: sduffys on January 23, 2009 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

Sometime, somewhere, someone should have practiced abstinence after marriage.

Posted by: e henry thripshaw on January 23, 2009 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

If Dick Morris had applied the Costanza principle, he would have hired a child prostitute.

Posted by: Danp on January 23, 2009 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

In Bizarro America, McCain is President and Dick Morris is Lord High Master of All.

Posted by: howie on January 23, 2009 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

you are missing the point...you say "it sounds to me like Americans can rest easy" which is what they want. we ALL must be active participants in the governmental process and cannot be lulled into a false sense of security, that the last 8 years won't ever happen again.

Posted by: peter on January 23, 2009 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

Gotta admit, Fairness Doctrine Paranoia is my favorite manifestation of the way the wingnuts are totally unmoored from reality. We owe a big debt to George Will for getting the ball rolling with columns back in August and September.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on January 23, 2009 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

He probably doesn't believe this stuff. He seems too smart for that. He's just doing what he needs to do to make the Fox viewers happy.

Posted by: Jim W on January 23, 2009 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

Dick knows the Fairness Doctrine wouldn't actually apply to the internet, right? you know, since there are no exclusive licenses to parts of the internet?

hold it, I just had a thought, which many others have probably had before me, but I haven't seen. is the hullabaloo about the Fairness Doctrine a new front in the Net Neutrality war? I bet it is, even if a lot of the pundits whinging about it don't know. Think about it. the Fairness Doctrine, updated for a modern time and the digital age, gives you net neutrality. Think about it, we've been unable to compete on radio, for a multitude of reasons (including the wingnuts who own a lot of radio stations) so they get liberals to say "we don't need the government to tell radio stations what to broadcast, we can compete anyway" from there, it's not a long jump to the media that conservatives can't compete in, the internet. So who's the government to say what Comcast should pump through its coaxial cable?

am I insane? I know it's not a direct correlation, but I can see this as laying the groundwork. all you need is a bunch of useful idiots to keep talking about how unfair it is.

Posted by: northzax on January 23, 2009 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

For a while I was worried that an Obama Presidency would result in a drastic reduction of comedic material for TDS and Colbert. It's heartening to see Fox — led by that little troll Morris — step up to the plate to remedy the shortfall.

Posted by: bluestatedon on January 23, 2009 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

The cynic in me believes that Obama could bring peace to the world, provide everyone with health coverage and a job, plus cure cancer in his spare time, and in eight years a Republican will take back the White House anyway by telling Americans that they don't have to pay taxes because the Supply-side Fairy will float over the economy sprinkling her magical pixie dust which will keep roads and bridges from ever wearing out, will make schools better without spending any more money and will give us cars that run on dreams and starlight.


Posted by: SteveT on January 23, 2009 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, you wrote:

And now, the scandalous conservative commentator believes Obama will destroy the country, abandon capitalism, and lead to a historic resurgence for the Republican Party.

It sounds to me like Americans can rest easy.

I thought exactly the same thing when I read that column!

The Obama administration should put Dick Morris on the White House payroll to do nothing but write negative columns about the president's plans and initiatives.

It would guarantee that every single one of them would be an epic success.

Seriously, when I read that column, I took a cleansing breath and felt the tension in my shoulders dissipate. If the man who is wrong about everything - and I mean everything - thinks Obama will fail, then the next four years will be nothing short of a Renaissance.

Posted by: UncommonSense on January 23, 2009 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with Jim W. Morris's rant is not about issues, policy, or legislation. It is about TV ratings and entertainment. He has to keep his viewers or he looses his show and his money.

This is also about self importance. These "pundints" are so self absorbed with the idea that what they say or write is gospel. to the point that they themselves cannot see how ignorant they really are.

Posted by: David on January 23, 2009 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

The extreme right has taken to the mattresses. Every now and then I tune into one of the idiotlc right wing radio shows and what I hear is beyond belief. According to them it is the end of the world as we know it, and I think to myself, "And isn't it grand.

Posted by: Chris on January 23, 2009 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

This is also about self importance. These "pundints" are so self absorbed with the idea that what they say or write is gospel. to the point that they themselves cannot see how ignorant they really are.
Posted by: David on January 23, 2009 at 9:13 AM

I think you are wrong. I think they understand just how stupid they sound to rational people. Sadly they have to say crazier and crazier things to reach the level of ignorance of their ever shrinking audience. It is what happens when the world moves away leaving a few true believers who believe truly because they never examine what they are being told.

There is an audience for Morris' garbage. It is the same ditto head audience that believes Limbaugh knows what he is talking about and thinks Ann Coulter is something other than performance art.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 23, 2009 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

" will "create a permanent electoral majority that does not pay taxes, but counts on ever-expanding welfare checks from the government." It led Morris to conclude:

...Obama's name will be mud by 2012 and probably by 2010 as well. And the Republican Party will make big gains and regain much of its lost power."

If a "permanent electoral majority" is created,how will the Republicans make big gains in 2010 and 2012?

Posted by: Ekim on January 23, 2009 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

Here they go again with that mindless Socialist stuff. The Socialist accusation tally so far:

Sen. Inhofe (R-OK), 01/14/09: accused Carol Browner of being part of the Socialist International and a secret socialist conspiracy. Also included the Center for American Progress in a sweeping condemnation of Browner.

Sen. DeMint (R-SC)01/21/09: chastised fellow Senators for not standing up strongly enough to stop this "slide toward socialism."

Dick Morris (R-Podunk) 01/22/09: accuses Obama of "quasi-socialism".

None of these speakers/pundits have defined what they mean by socialism. Do they know what the word means or is throwing the term around just a way to categorize and dismiss any ideas they don't agree with?

I'm concerned that this will quickly escalate to charges of "Communism" and polarize the policy debate even further, just as Gingrich did with his Republican Revolution back in the mid-90s. The bombing in Oklahoma City followed shortly after Gingrich began mouthing off.

Republicans should be challenged on every use of the term "socialism." Force them to think, which may be hard because they are so out of practice.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on January 23, 2009 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Meme for Democrats - Republicans are wrong about everything! After observing conservative pundits and pols the last couple of days on the TV machine I'm convinced.

Posted by: phastphil on January 23, 2009 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

I agree. He is always, always wrong (except for the fact that a broken clock is right twice a day.)

Here's another example: Dick Morris predicted that Hillary Clinton couldn't win a Senate seat in NY. He was quite certain that there was no way she could win.

Posted by: debbie on January 23, 2009 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, there is an audience - The majority of BillO's followers. Having heard Morris at various times, it caused me to wonder what advise he could have ever given Clinton, except for some phone numbers from his little Black Book.

Posted by: berttheclock on January 23, 2009 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

Why such a crazed-obsession with the so-called "Fairness Doctrine"

I don't know -- it's a bafflingly explicit admission that conservative domination of the public airwaves couldn't survive if required to present opposing views.

Posted by: Gregory on January 23, 2009 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

The Seinfeld episode that you referenced is The Opposite, the Season 5 finale that brought George his job with the Yankees that would yield comic gold for the next several seasons. A slightly different analogy from that episode might be more heartening for liberals. As George's fortunes rose in that episode, those of the previously successful Elaine plummeted (IIRC, Jerry saw this as some sort of necessary cosmic karmic balancing), culminating in the loss of her job. If we see George as the Democrats and Dick Morris and the Rethufs as Elaine, the next few years might loook brighter.

Posted by: Marlowe on January 23, 2009 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

With a success record like that, Bill Kristol must wake up every morning in fear he's about to be replaced by someone whose better at being wrong than he is.

Posted by: dweb on January 23, 2009 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

Fairness Doctrine paranoia has been around for years. In the early '60s, there was a far right minister in Collingswood, NJ, Rev. Carl McIntire, who railed over the airways about the Doctrine restricting his rights. His rights included having Ian Paisley as his regular guest denouncing the "evil" Pope and how the Catholics were trying to destroy the Orangemen. Just loved Carl's sidekick "Amen Charlie", adding "Amen" to every comment.

Posted by: berttheclock on January 23, 2009 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

If Dick Morris were as erudite as he envisions himself, he would realize that there is a contradiction between a Democratic “permanent electoral majority” and “historic resurgence for the Republican Party”. Predict away, Predicty Dick!

Posted by: captain dan on January 23, 2009 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

If a "permanent electoral majority" is created,how will the Republicans make big gains in 2010 and 2012?

Hold it, I think I have Dick's answer around here somewhere. Yep, he's the big picture guy. Others can take care of the details.

Who cares if his big picture looks like a cheap knockoff of a Salvador Dali.

Posted by: freelunch on January 23, 2009 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't this a dog bites man story? Some wingnut pundit says something, based not in reality, but rather some fantasy that would be super for the far right - then sits back and waits for the trained seals of the lower right wing pundacracy to clap and bark their umanimous agreement. This was how they manufactured 'conventional wisdom'.

It might still even work, but for the rise of the progressive networks of the intertubes and the astonishing disintegration of the republican party. In the reality of the present day, Morris comes across as a guy marching up and down the aisles of the supermarket, wearing one shoe and a party hat, while tooting on a noisemaker. Good luck with that.

Posted by: JoeW on January 23, 2009 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Last night, on Fox News, Hannity and Limbaugh were giving each other back rubs, and sniping at quislings like David Brooks and George Will for being "co-opted" by Obama. Day by day, the bricks and mortar rise at Fox, as it erects its own ghetto walls . . . meanwhile, practically wishing that Bin Laden would strike the US so that we'd grab our blankies and go running for "real Americans" to protect us.

Posted by: Sophie in VA on January 23, 2009 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Morris may be right in a small way.

If Obama DOES improve the economy with Keynesian pump priming and the private economy finds maybe it DOES want to invest in expansion to sell products to all these people with the tax dollars arriving in their pockets (rather than credit card loans), the private sector will start to get some cash together and pay lobbyists to shill to the public about the evils of the socialist Obama and the American people might be prosperous enough to throw the election to some of the low-tax financial wizards the Republicans have always claimed to be and the public may still, for unknown reasons, believe them.

Nevermind that massive tax cuts to the upper crust resulted in massive mergers, stifling of competition, strangling of small business competitors, and the second depression. Tax cuts work and that's what Morris' friends will push with a LOT of advertising.

I don't trust Americans' memories to last for two years. They can be convinced that Reaganomics isn't the problem,. Bush was. Reganomics under Jindal (or whoever) CAN work.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on January 23, 2009 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK
He is always, always wrong (except for the fact that a broken clock is right twice a day.)
A stopped clock is right twice a day. A broken clock can be wrong all the time ... just like Dick Morris. Posted by: Bernard HP Gilroy on January 23, 2009 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Bert" As someone who's old enough to have watched the show from which you get your nick, I remember the fuss about McIntyre -- somewhat. I think he may have been the inspirtion for the original Fairness Doctrine. Certainly he was one of the few -- possibly the only -- person successfully prosecuted under it.

But, as several people have pointed out, the Internet makes the idea simply silly. If no one is prosecuting Hal Turner there's little likelihood that anyone else is in danger of hearing a 'late-night knock' on the door for what they say on the Net.

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on January 23, 2009 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

and will "create a permanent electoral majority that does not pay taxes, but counts on ever-expanding welfare checks from the government." It led Morris to conclude: "...Obama's name will be mud by 2012 and probably by 2010 as well. And the Republican Party will make big gains and regain much of its lost power.

Um....if Obama's plans will "create a permanent electoral majority" then how exactly will the Republican Party "make big gains and regain much of its lost power"?

Does Dick Morris not quite understand what the word permanent means?

Posted by: Stefan on January 23, 2009 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

Can someone please explain to me how this moron was ever considered someone whose opinions should be listened to by anybody?

Oh, right - he used to be Billy's procurer.

Posted by: TCinLA on January 23, 2009 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

I like 236.com and their take on Dick "Dick" Morris.

NEVER FORGET: DICK MORRIS HIRED PROSTITUTES.

Posted by: Andrew on January 23, 2009 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

"create a permanent electoral majority that does not pay taxes, but counts on ever-expanding welfare checks from the government."

This already exists - it's called corporate America.

Posted by: Tree on January 23, 2009 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

I remember his last column in the NY Post before the 2002 midterm election. He predicted a Democratic pick-up of five Senate seats, and the opposite happened.

Posted by: Tim on January 23, 2009 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

"Morris hired prostitutes"

Ah, professional courtesy.

Posted by: berttheclock on January 23, 2009 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

is there an MP3 on the internet anywhere of Morris singing "Popeye the Sailor Man?"

Posted by: vax on January 23, 2009 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

as much as i hate to point this out, morris actually wrote "The effect will be to drive talk radio to the Internet, fundamentally change its economics, and retard its growth for years hence."

HOWEVER..that's not much less batshit.....dick totally misunderstands what the fairness doctrine actually was, how it worked and what would happen if it was brought back....

Posted by: dj spellchecka on January 23, 2009 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

whoops almost forgot...some bonus batshittery from the essay...

here's a couple of things dick's REALLY AFRAID OF : "We will shortly become like Germany, France, the United Kingdom, or SWEDEN — a socialist democracy in which the government dominates the economy." or this "The result will raise the proportion of the labor force in unions up to the HIGH TEENS from the current level of about 12 percent."

I'M TERRIFED....how's about u?

Posted by: djspellchecka on January 23, 2009 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

I liked this one:

He (Obama) will begin by passing every program for which liberals have lusted for decades, from alternative-energy sources to school renovations, infrastructure repairs and technology enhancements.

WOW, as if those things are bad. Granted he admits that these may be good programs, but Obama would be WRONG in wanting them too fast. It needs to be stretched out - kind'a like the trickle down theory we're still waiting to see coming any time now.

Posted by: bruno on January 23, 2009 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly