DICK MORRIS, REPUBLICAN CELEBRITY…. Is there anyone quite as sleazy and odious in the political world as Dick Morris? It was 14 years ago when Morris was forced to resign in disgrace from the Clinton White House after a prostitution scandal, but the conservative hatchetman never actually went away.
After spending much of 2007 and 2008 using media platforms to try to destroy Hillary Clinton, and devoting 2009 to destroying President Obama, Morris is spending 2010 positioning himself as a leading Republican campaign surrogate for the first time.
[I]n his latest iteration, Morris has become something of a principal himself, headlining rallies, fundraising and advocating for Republican House candidates. He’s formally endorsed some of the party’s top prospects, raised money for a slate of GOP House candidates including David McKinley in West Virginia, and Bob Gibbs and Tom Ganley in Ohio, and even blasted out a message to his e-mail list subscribers heaping praise on David Harmer, a challenger for a northern California-based seat.
House candidates who haven’t received material political benefits from Morris also report having informally discussed their races with the consultant and current FoxNews commentator at conservative events.
Morris hasn’t limited his role to House races. He’s offered public endorsements to GOP Senate contenders Carly Fiorina in California and Rep. John Boozman in Arkansas and Republican gubernatorial hopefuls Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania and Bradley Byrne in Alabama.
A spokesperson for a Republican congressional candidate said, shortly before a scheduled Morris appearance, “There is tremendous excitement about his visit, lots of grass-roots buzz that he is coming to our district in such a competitive race.” Morris, the campaign said, “will certainly energize our base.”
That says more than it should about the Republican base.
Of course, Morris being Morris, the goal is not limited to electing right-wing candidates — there’s also money to be made. A deep-pocketed far-right outfit called Americans for Prosperity “has sent Morris to headline rallies in Colorado, Virginia and Arkansas,” and he’s appeared at the organization’s events. Asked whether Morris is getting paid to do all of this, Americans for Prosperity wouldn’t confirm, but said, “We are happy to pay people, in general, if we are happy with their message.”
Yes, and what a message it is. Zachary Pleat reminds us:
Morris has used the credibility that his Fox News employment gives to conservatives to shill for financial schemes, including urging readers to buy an investment newsletter where he gets a cut of each subscription. Morris frequently uses his employment by Fox News to urge viewers to contribute to or help Republican candidates or causes. He has also directed viewers to donate to political organizations to which he apparently has financial ties.
All of this is only the very tip of the iceberg that is Dick Morris’ many, many problems. For instance, Morris has spread falsehoods about progressives, made comically off-track political predictions, and has a history of extremist statements, including his comment that “Those crazies in Montana who say, ‘We’re going to kill ATF agents because the U.N.’s going to take over’ – well, they’re beginning to have a case.”
If only Republicans could show better judgment in choosing their celebrity heroes.