If people want to criticize Dick Morris and other Republican pundits and strategists for being wrong in their election predictions, go ahead.  20/20 hindsight is a beautiful thing.

But it is something else to go the extra step and accuse Morris and others of being dishonest in their predictions.

That is what Taggan Goddard of Political Wire did today, and it is not supported by the evidence.  In fact, Goddard cut off one of Morris’ sentences in order to create the false impression that Morris admitted to lying in order to help Romney, when the full sentence and context was just the opposite.

I raise this not so much to defend Morris, but to point out that there is a serious Operation Demoralize going on at multiple levels, and the attempt to portray Republican pundits and strategists who were wrong as not just wrong, but dishonest, is part of that effort.

Morris always was very clear that his prognostications were based on a three-cycle presidential election turnout model, one he put together with Republican pollster John McLaughlin.  It certainly seemed reasonable at the time, as many people viewed 2008 as an aberration.  It turned out that 2008 was replicated in 2012.  We’ll have to see if that is a permanent change or a change specific to Obama being at the top of the ticket.

Others also were wrong as to the turnout model, including Michael Barone, and the Romney campaign itself in its internal polling.

In the effort to portray Republicans as hacks, there is some serious exaggeration going on in which the reason Morris and others were wrong (turnout modeling)  is ignored in favor of unsupported theories of a self-filtering coccon supported by a  profit-driven conservative media complex driven by “sheer wishful thinking, hackery, or something else.”

And of course, the next step is to say that because Republican predictions were wrong, we need to become more like the Democrats.

Perhaps the worst anti-Morris attack I have seen was made by Goddard based on a report by Fox NewsHounds, an anti-Fox news watchdog-style website started and run in conjuction with MoveOn.org and the Center for American Progress, which runs Think Progress. [See Note below]

I don’t know much about Goddard, so perhaps this incident is an aberration.  But it’s a pretty abysmal aberration in which a sentence by Morris was cut off mid-sentence to create the false claim that Morris admitted he made his predictions in order to help the Romney campaign.

Goddard sent this tweet promoting a Bonus Quote of the Day:

Here is the post it links to:

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I think that there was a period of time when the Romney campaign was falling apart, people were not optimistic, nobody thought there was a chance of victory and I felt that it was my duty at that point to go out and say what I said.”

– Dick Morris, in an interview on Fox News, explaining why he predicted a landslide for Mitt Romney in the presidential election.

The link is to a post at Fox NewsHounds, Dick Morris: I Predicted Romney’s Landslide To Help Him Win.  The spin put on Morris’ statement — that he simply made the prediction to help Romney — is not supported by the full text or audio.  Here is the quote from Fox NewsHounds (emphasis in original):

But later, Morris openly admitted his prediction was an election ploy:

Sean, I hope people aren’t mad at me about it… I spoke about what I believed and I think that there was a period of time when the Romney campaign was falling apart, people were not optimistic, nobody thought there was a chance of victory and I felt that it was my duty at that point to go out and say what I said. And at the time that I said it, I believe I was right.

In other words, don’t hold a grudge because was only trying to help the home team.

Except that Morris did not “admit[] his prediction was an election ploy.”  Notice the parts not highlighted — “I spoke about what I believed” and “I believe I was right.”

Here is the actual clip, listen starting at 2:45, in which Morris emphasizes that at the time of his predictions he believed them to be true based on his turnout modeling:

Now go back to the Goddard quote, it is even worse that Fox NewsHounds, because it cuts Morris off mid-sentence:

“I think that there was a period of time when the Romney campaign was falling apart, people were not optimistic, nobody thought there was a chance of victory and I felt that it was my duty at that point to go out and say what I said.”

But that’s not where the sentence ended.  The sentence ends with “I felt that it was my duty at that point to go out and say what I said and at the time that I said it I believe I was right.”

So rather than Morris admitting he was deceptive, Morris denied being deceptive and acknowledged the reasons why, in hindsight, his analysis was wrong.

Criticize Morris and other Republican pundits and strategists, by all means.

But do not fall for Operation Demoralize.

[Note added 11-14-2012 -- Fox NewsHounds emails -- "Lastly, you misrepresented the News Hounds blog. The blog was an outgrowth of work that the original bloggers (including myself) did on the Outfoxed documentary. That documentary was associated with MoveOn and Center for American Progress. The News Hounds blog is not and never has been."]

 
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