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Before you jump on the bandwagon accusing Dick Morris and others of being dishonest …

Before you jump on the bandwagon accusing Dick Morris and others of being dishonest …

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 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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A lot of us thought Romney would win big (raises hand).
A lot of us are still in shock (hand still raised).
A lot of us know in our heart of hearts there’s something
fishy going on….. (raises other hand)

    Kenshu Ani in reply to paddy. | November 13, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Yup, I thought Romney was going to win big. Not because of polling, but because of the speech turnouts, the amazing number of people paying to see a political documentary, 2016: Obama’s America and general economic mood that the country was in.

    I had forgotten why I was opposed to Romney in the primary, which was because Romney would turn off GOP voters since he was, in essence, the father of Obamacare.

    I can’t say I’m in shock though, I’m too cynical for that.

    click here to view Goddard, the face of evil.

    This mutt actually accused Morris of trying to help Romney win the election? In the middle of the entire MSM going nuts-up corrupt for Obama?

    Apparently Goddard thought he was viewing evil and did not realize he was at the time looking in a mirror.

This election as a whole is very troubling. Morris and others were working the numbers that clearly indicated that this was the GOP’s election to lose and I think that they were correct in their assumptions.

What is troubling was in the end there was a similar turnout for Romney as there was for McCain in 2008. Every indicator including the crowd turn out in many toss up states supported the above assumptions.

With that stated, it’s my gut feeling that nearly a million votes were incorrectly/fraudulently cast and another million or so siphoned off by the libertarian Johnson followed by a lot of Republicans that stayed home. It is that last category that is most troubling of all.

Now that it’s over, all the soul searching, complaining and speculating is going to do now good.

Best to face reality and the challenges that such will bring…

Morris may be a bit of a blowhard at times, but he’s always a genial bloke and his assumptions were in no way beyond the pale.

As I remember, his prediction was not that different than Michael Barone’s, and Barone is about as straight-as-an-arrow boy scout as one will find in the world of politics.

Although flamboyant at times, I like Dick, and he’s a mensch for starting a fund for the infant child of one of the Seals killed in Benghazi.

It still makes little sense that after Obama proved himself to be a lying failure, just as many would turn out to vote for Obama, and fewer would turn out to vote for Romney than McCain. Informed people could not expect there to be that many gullible people.

The message is basically right … but we must figure out how to persuade those that are deceived, and whether there are elements that we need to drop (e.g. sperm/egg, two cells must be protected with full force of government, IF the sperm penetrates, otherwise kill those two cells with impunity, screw the ignorant catholic bishops). Hard line on abortion has cost us much … perhaps all. Romney used to be pro-choice … he pragmatically submitted … and lost.

There is much religion in politics, and many have elected Obama as Pope. Even Coulter said we need no more Akin, Mourdock, Angle, notawitch O’Donnell.

I’m confident all the hard core “those two cells must be protected with the full force of the law, and Republicans that don’t agree must be destroyed” will “Dislike” me. The hard core communist operatives that think abortion is a great way to divide the Republicans will also “Dislike”.

We really need to choose our battles where we can win.

    I’m not angry and exhausted at having to fight these commies again in 2014 and 2016. But I am angry and exhausted by those who complicate our efforts, and having to do PR damage control for those in our Party who refuse to uphold Article 6, Clause 3 of the Constitution.

    In all fairness though, I’m not sure we would have been impervious to the Media Complex’s onslaught had our Party been composed of 100% Ayn Randian Capitalist Objectivists.

    NC Mountain Girl in reply to Midwest Rhino. | November 13, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Then please explain why the last moderate Republican to win a presidential race was George H.W. Bush and he won by promising to be the third term of Ronald Reagan. When he broke that promise he had his ass handed to him.

    For over twenty years I listened to Illinois RINOs, that subspecies of Midwest RINOs, tell me we had to reflect the values of the Chicago Tribune editorial board. They relentlessly drove conservative voices out of the party organization. Please explain how that has been a winner for the Republican party in Illinois?

I really followed the polls like a hawk this election. I have to say I learned a lot about how they work. I would say emphatically the problem was with turnout models. I believe those who thought Romney was clearly going to win were operating on reasonable turnout assumptions.

Axelrod’s assumptions were based on efforts to shape the electorate they wanted not the one that was most likely in a general election. Many reasonable people on the right and left thought his turnout model was a pipe dream though they seem – on the left anyway – to have forgotten that point. They are quick to point fingers at the right for lying or living in a cocoon, however.

All those white people who stayed home and didn’t vote. The question is…why? The 2nd question is should we even bother to count on their votes ever again? The party needs to answer those 2 questions completely.

    Mary Sue in reply to PhillyGuy. | November 13, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    We have to find out why they didn’t vote and then work our tails off to make sure they do next election. Obama won this by turning single women and AA voters into likely voters. There was no surge in Dem registration, these were voters on the rolls who never really bothered to show up in the past. He made them *bother* to show up.

There were loads of reports of “vote flipping”: votes cast for Romney but recorded for Obama in at least 4 states: NC, OH, CO, and NV.

I believe that is how Obama won the Battleground States. Statistical probability alone would predict Romney should winning at least one or two more states. “Flipping” is doubly-damaging because not only does the intended candidate not get the vote, his opponent gets it. It is diabolical, a specialty of Barack Obama and Democrats.

I ran the numbers. All it would take is one of every 15 to 20 votes getting “flipped” by software, making it very hard to notice. I wouldn’t be “going there” if there hadn’t been so many reports of it in 2012, and in 2010 in Nevada for the Senatorial race. I truly believe Nevada ’10 was a dry run.

Blame Romney and the GOP for not jumping hard on voter fraud. There’s a good probability that Republicans are in bed with the corruption. They see the rise of the Tea Parties, their ideological appeal, and their staying power. The worthless human beings who run our government are frightened to death of losing their power or reduced government. Ergo, they rig the system for the Democrats to win.

Do not underestimate the corruption of the Establishment or their loathing for and fear of the people they would rule.

    Midwest Rhino in reply to CalMark. | November 13, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    with black panthers armed with clubs, not fully prosecuted from 2008, and Holder showing he would attack even Boeing to protect “the union borg”, it was clear cheating for Obama was encouraged, certainly not prosecuted. The prosecutor that provides arms to Mexican drug cartels has his Obama tats on display.

    What happened with the story of the election judges that kicked out like 50 watchers? Or the 50 some precincts that were 100% Obama, and 120% above registered voters. Does that indicate anything?

I am not sure how you can say that 2008 was replicated. Yes it was replicated that Party handed the candidate selection process to the media, who then proceeded to pick the absolutely worst candidate in the field. Look at Obama, even with a Hurricane he lost 10 Million votes, that’s a 20% drop from 2008!!!! Holy, crap, why couldn’t we take on a guy like that! Completely demoralized. Why, what was different from 2010? Romney! Now he is certainly not a horrible guy, but quite frankly he was absolutely the worst candidate with the wrong past running for President. He made us Vulnerable in the South instead of giving us a war footing in the North. That’s why we Needed a Perry or even better a Newt. , to lock up the South, and Force the dems on the defensive everywhere else. Only 400k southern votes stood between the Obama and the Presidency, and if Newt had been the candidate, Obama simply couldn’t have gotten them.

So No Professor. this is not the Santa president, this is the 2 rather liberal politicians who agreed on nearly every major position down to almost the very last detail. Why in the world would the Republican party be excited to run for a liberal?

…because Republican predictions were wrong, we need to become more like the Democrats.

I absolutely hate that. I read a Megan McCardle piece a couple days ago where she suggested the Republicans capitulate on just about all their principles. According to her, the GOP should embrace open borders, learn to love ObamaCare, and raise taxes.

Well, of course the GOPe have no principles, but the base does.

Dick Morris was not, in my considered opinion, dishonest. He was simply unable to keep up with the late in the day slide back towards Obama which started with Hurricane Sandy.

It is unbelievable to me the fence sitters who threw in with Romney following the first debate and drove the polls into Mitt’s column made an about face.

Morris was overly optimistic with his analysis predicting a 2010 GOP Senate majority and I learned then to take what he says with a grain of salt.

Liberals are sure going on and on about the election. Hard to get out of campaign mode I suspect….since other than tax increases they have no clear plan other than 2016.
And I can understand really looking back. They know what its like to lose. Why heck..even St Clinton wouldnt have been elected if Ross Perot hadnt helped him indirectly.
And never remind liberals that Clinton’s popular vote % was about as low as they get.
Let the liberals banter. Their names will be on the coming tax increases and voters have long memories.

I also believe the Dem party’s focus on holding WH and the Senate in this election forced them to financially underwhelm the Congressional Dem campaigns.

The DEMs/Union money plus their free airtime compliments of their Liberal Media constitutes very formidable foes.

What really frightened them this time was a combination of the 2010 beatings and the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision which they overcame with a lot of money + message.

If nothing else, DEMs were forced to dump a bloody fortune into the 2012 elections.

Dumping a total of over $38 million into a single Senate campaign (Elizabeth Warren) was a major liberal drain and all they really got was a dog bowl for a Senator-Elect.

    NC Mountain Girl in reply to VotingFemale. | November 13, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    The Democrats smartly concentrated on the House Districts that were split close to the 50-50 in party ID and did very well there. For example, through redistricting they rolled back the gains made in Illinois in 2010 and recaptured MN-8. The problem is there aren’t many districts to fit that description anymore. Also some of the ones they won could flip back in 2014 on turnout when younger and childless voters are more likely to stay home. Some Republicans who lost on Tuesday actually had more votes then when they won in 2010.

Something I really didn’t draw attention to during the final three weeks of the race was betting on the presidential election.

Intrade betting never gave Romney the nod leading up to the election. I checked it every day found it quite alarming.

Not having monitored Intrade election predictions before, I had no personal observational history of past Intrade election predictions which would have allowed me to put their Obama win prediction in context.

    jimzinsocal in reply to VotingFemale. | November 13, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Intrade basically mirrored what Real Clear Politics presented as “no toss up states” on their electoral map.
    They arent predictor’s particularly but rather an expressionof “today’s odds”. I believe their final prediction was 303 EV for Obama same as RCP difference being Florida if I recall correctly

Well, I’m going to go ahead and say it: It’s very easy to suppress turnout in one group, and exaggerate it in another by flipping the votes. A single vote electronically changed from one candidate to another in a 2-candidate race will have a doubled effect.

NC Mountain Girl | November 13, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Besides a superb boots on the ground operation – my independent neighbor tells me he had several calls from real people telling him why he should vote for Obama- the Democrats did one smart thing. They realized a huge percentage of the population doesn’t watch network or cable news shows anymore. Thus Obama advertised on cable entertainment channels and on internet entertainment sites. I’d cringe to open an entertainment site and be forced to watch the 15 second Obama video before I could access what I wanted to see. Romney was largely absent from such venues. Thus Obama’s message went largely unchallenged with low information voters.

Why wasn’t Romney on the NFL games? The last weekend of the election? I have Sunday ticket and the Colin Powell endorsement ran on every game I watched. I bet there are tons of voters who only turn on the TV for sporting events. That’s the only time I do.

The question should be, what do we do now? Doing the musical chairs of doom buys us nothing.

But here is what I might suggest for the future. —

* GOP contracts to political consultants should be out in the open, including $$ amounts.
* For anybody being considered their track record ought to be known and public.
* Consultants pay scale should be results based. You win, then you get a big bonus. You lose, its bupkis.

The last couple of election cycles I have increasingly felt like I was just throwing my money away. There appears to be no accountability in those hired. And was not the guy who lost the election for McCain involved with the Romney effort? If so, why was the man even considered, again?

Jack The Ripper | November 13, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Headline Unemployment Rate 8%
U-6 Unemployment Rate 15%
Right Track/Wrong Track
Approval Rating for Obama less than 50%
Generic Congressional Ballot
Enthusiasm Ratings
Washington Redskins losing last home game before the election
The Economy
Household Incomes
The fact that 2008 was a phenomenon election followed by 2010 wave election
The unlikelihood of young voters turning out again in such numbers
The unlikelihood of black voters turning out again in such numbers and with similar enthusiasm, post-Biden Outing Obama on the issue of gay marriage
Mediscare not seeming to work with seniors
Coal Country, UMW withholding endorsement
Hollywood trimming back its enthusiasm
Wall Street trimming back its enthusiasm
Congressional Democrats trimming back their enthusiasm (was he asked to campaign for many people)
Golf, vacations, fundraisers.
You Didn’t Build That
Romney and Obama’s crowd sizes, bumper stickers and yard signs.
And the general unlikelihood that Obama would maintain significant enough popularity with swing whites, white Democrats (as well as black Democrats above), Catholics (A Sandra Fluke fluke), maybe even Hispanics due to a shitty economy prompting lessened remittances to family back home and self-deportation, military voters, and even college students and the elderly.
Throw on big Mitt-mentum after the First Debate, Benghazigate and some other factors, and there was reason to believe that pro-Obama turnout and depth of support would fade and that pro-Republican turnout would pretty much hold its ground, maybe increase, and probably chip away at Obama’s 2008 coalition.
And, Nevada is 7% Mormon and although heavily union, its union in the gaming, hospitality industry, which Obama must not have stroked by saying “Now is not the time to go to Vegas.” Throw in Steve Wynne, Sheldon Adelson, and Wayne Allen Root.

I thought Mitt would win. I thought it was going to be hard fought all the way through election day. I thought it would be a lot uglier than even what it was, which was still pretty damned ugly. I did not expect a blowout in the Electoral College, just because of the way some states are.

Iowa Electronic Markets, InTrade, and the overall clustering of polls in RCPs Electoral Map, and Intrade’s, etc. were accurate, and not for the first time.
Objectively and Subjectively, a student of history would find it hard to believe that this President would get re-elected handily (which he did not accomplish for himself or his party, although the Senate turned out better than Democrats originally expected).

Mourdock and Akin did not help in the Senate or in some other tight races.

I am not ready to pronounce that the presidential election was “stolen,” meaning that enough fraud took place in enough places to flip enough electoral votes, but, there is something that does not seem to add up, literally or figuratively, rationally or intuitively. I hope John Fund, Scott Rasmussen, Michael Barone and friends are on the case. Eric Holder isn’t.

Jack The Ripper | November 13, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Oh, and Jewish Voters.

I am Jewish. Wife, too.

I happily predicted to a handful of friends and family that the Jewish Vote in the presidential election would drop to 70%.

I sadly predicted to those same people that the Jewish Vote in the presidential election would not drop below 70%.

Jack The Ripper | November 13, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Obama down 9 million votes.

Romney down much less from McCain, but enough to have made the difference. And, that is what stinks and stings.