Dick Morris: A sign of the times

Two weeks ago, the Fox News pundit hailed McCain's campaign suspension as "brilliant." Today, he blames it for McCain's plummeting poll numbers.

Published October 7, 2008 12:14PM (EDT)

Dick Morris, September 24, The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Rove says it's a risk for McCain to bail temporarily on the debate and go back to Washington. What say you?

DICK MORRIS, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's the most brilliant move since Sarah Palin.

O'REILLY: You think it's brilliant?

MORRIS: Bless the McCain campaign. It's fabulous, because McCain is going to save the country, because he's the only one that can deliver the Republicans and the administration. . . . He's going to solve the problem, because the key is the bailout's going to pass. And the bailout's going to work. And [McCain's] going to get credit for it. And then Obama is the guy left out. And then McCain is the credentialed expert for handling the economy.

Dick Morris, September 26, Newsmax:

McCain's Brilliant Bailout Strategy

McCain has transformed a minority in both houses of Congress and a losing position in the polls into the key role in the bailout package, the main man around whom the final package will take shape. . . .

Then McCain comes out of the process as the hero who made it happen when the president couldn't and Obama wouldn't. He becomes the bailout expert. And, of course, the bailout will work. . . .This bold move by McCain is about to work. Big time.

Dick Morris, New York Post, today:

The polls now all indicate an Obama win on Nov. 4; some even suggest a landslide. . . .

Anger over the Wall Street mess has been pushing voters to Barack Obama in droves. And John McCain's effort to get involved in the solution only hurt him.

By suspending his campaign and heading to Washington, McCain made himself a central actor in the unpopular bailout, and thus a target of populist outrage. It also hurt his his effort to show how he far he is from President Bush -- there he was, shoulder to shoulder with Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, Bush and Wall Street.

Two weeks ago, Dick Morris was running around proclaiming McCain's decision to suspend his campaign and make the bailout happen as a "brilliant move" that would pay off "big time" for McCain because he would be viewed as the bailout's prime mover by a grateful public. A mere two weeks later, with McCain continuing to plummet in the polls, Morris today just blithely announces in his column that McCain's woes are due to his awful decision to suspend his campaign and involve himself in the unpopular bailout -- and never bothers to mention or even acknowledge that it was Morris himself who, at the time, was breathlessly hailing the move as "brilliant" strategic choice that would be the centerpiece to McCain's imminent victory.

That Dick Morris is a buffoon is hardly news, but he was one of Bill Clinton's closest advisers and, for people who watch Fox News and read The New York Post, he's considered to be one of America's foremost political analysts. A potent reflection of our predominant political culture is the fact that people like Dick Morris can not only exist, but thrive within it (speaking of which, here's jubiliant Fox News genius Frank Luntz after the Biden-Palin debate: "Brit, this debate's gonna have significance; this debate is gonna stand out; watch the polling data over the next 48 hours, because you’re going to see a shift").

By Glenn Greenwald

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