Republican congressional candidates should stick to the issues and avoid getting sucked into personal clashes with their Democratic opponents, says star political strategist Dick Morris.
The Newsmax contributor says Democrats have come to realize they can’t win on the issues -- healthcare reform, financial reform and the economy. So instead they’re turning to personal attacks against their Republican opponents, Morris tells Newsmax.TV.
“Republicans need to answer each of those attacks, but we also have to bring the election back to the issues – the healthcare proposal, the deficit, the stimulus package, the economy and cap and trade,” he said.
“You have to depersonalize this campaign and bring it back to the issues.”
Morris doesn’t see the Republican National Committee (RNC) providing much help.
“The RNC as in [Chairman] Michael Steele, they don’t exist,” he said. In going district to district campaigning for Republicans, Morris hardly encounters the national party.
“The RNC could safely float off on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and do no damage in this election. Fortunately they aren’t cost us any votes at the moment.”
On the Democratic side, while House members Charles Rangel of New York and Maxine Waters likely won’t suffer personally for the ethics violations they are accused of, the Democratic Party will, Morris says.
The effect of the ethics scandal will likely be similar to what happened to Republicans after the scandal surrounding Florida congressman Mark Foley in 2006, Morris maintains.
“That was one of the big factors costing Republicans control of the House. Now Democrats’ ethics problems are really hurting them.”
The poll numbers for Democratic congressional candidates are worse than those for President Obama, Morris notes. “Congress on its own with its ethical issues – Rangel and Waters as exhibit A – is contributing a great deal to its own demise.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s claim at the beginning of this Congress that she would clean it up is laughable, Morris says.
“It’s ridiculous to say she ran the most ethical Congress or drained the swamp,” he said. “She just added to it.”
The interesting point is that this time around, deals to buy off the votes of congressional members were made in public rather than private. That “ended up leaving a sour taste in people’s mouths,” Morris said.
He is enthusiastic about Republicans’ election chances, particularly in Illinois. The GOP has a shot to pick up five or six congressional seats there. And Republicans Mark Kirk and Bill Brady are likely to win the Senate and gubernatorial races respectively, Morris says.
“I think you’ll have a Republican sweep in Illinois, even though it’s one of the most quintessential blue states in the country, and that’s just typical of what I’m finding all over the country.”
Discussing the $26 billion bailout for the states recently approved by Congress, Morris said, “When Republicans take over Congress, they’ll start saying no.”
The states will inevitably come back begging for more. “I hope Republicans will tell them we’ll only grant assistance if you declare bankruptcy under rules we will set up requiring you to abrogate your labor union contracts that got you into this mess in the first place,”
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