HARRISBURG, Pa.—The man considered one of the premier sculptors of Bill’s Clinton’s re-election in 1996 predicted Friday night that Republicans would take control of the Senate and the House in mid-term elections this fall.
Noting that he keeps reading quotes from GOP leaders such as Republican National Chairman Michael Steele that they are “optimistic” about the elections this fall, Dick Morris told a packed dinner at the Pennsylvania Leadership Council: “I’ve got news—it’s not even going to be close, guys.”
Fresh from addressing a 4,000-strong Tea Party in Arkansas, Morris—best-selling author, syndicated columnist, and Fox News commentator—held the PLC audience spellbound with his bold predictions.
“Republicans will win the Senate with 52 or 53 seats,” Morris said without hesitation, “and the House will go Republican by 10 to 20 seats.”
The former Clinton strategist-turned-Republican pointed out that it will take a minimum of 39 seats to change from Democrat to Republican for the GOP to win a majority. Seven of those 39, he predicted, “will come from right here in Pennsylvania—the epicenter of change.”
Beginning with a Republican pick-up of the Western Pennsylvania seat of the late Democratic Rep. John Murtha in the special election May 18, Morris said that the GOP’s gains in the Keystone State would come from unseating Democratic Representatives Kathy Dahlkemper, Jason Altmire, Patrick Murphy, Christopher Carney, and Paul Kanjorski. (Although that ads up to only six, others at the dinner told me Morris came to his figure of a gain of seven by automatically factoring in the likely pickup by GOPer Pat Meehan of the Delaware County district vacated by Senate hopeful Joe Sestak).
As to the claims of Altmire (who voted twice against the Obama-backed healthcare bill) that he is a “moderate Democrat,” Morris recalled his days as a “moderate Democrat” in the 1990’s working with Bill Clinton on issues such as “tough love” welfare reform and cutting the capital gains tax.
“Today, the moderate Democrat is as extinct as a do-do,” declared Morris, “I am extinct.” He said that in the Democratic Party of today, “you are either an Obama-Reid-Pelosi Democrat or you are a Republican. I am a Republican.” Morris also quoted Ronald Reagan that “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me.”
And even if moderate Democrats weren’t extinct, he added, “the first vote any of them would cast would be to make Nancy Pelosi speaker, put [California Rep.] Henry Waxman in charge of energy policy, [Mississippi Rep.] Bennie Thompson in charge of homeland security, and [Massachusetts Rep.] Barney Frank in charge of the banking and financial industry. No other vote matters after that one.”
The leftward drift of the Democratic Party under Obama (“the most liberal President in history,” Morris said) and its agenda of “nationalilzing healthcare, cap and trade, and card check” was the reason he felt Republicans would have a banner political year in 2010.
In suggesting that clashes between a Republican Congress and Obama could lead to a government shutdown similar to that of 1995, Morris predicted that congressional Republicans would not experience the blame they did 15 years ago. He explained that “people didn’t blame President Clinton because he was not trying to raise spending. Everybody knows that Barack Obama has raised spending and will blame him. And we will win.”
A Footnote: Before Morris’s address, PLC organizer Lowman Henry told me that when the former Democrat’s name was discussed as a speaker, a number of the organizers of the conference were upset by Morris’s past association with Clinton and other Democrats. “Some said they were going to boo or throw bread rolls,” said Henry. “I told them ‘he works for Fox and is an opponent of Obama. That’s what you should pay attention to.” They did–and no one threw any bread rolls.