Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee ‘has the knowledge’ to be president but needs to convince voters, Obama may never get his healthcare legacy, the GOP is poised to repeat its landmark gains of 1994, and there’s no presidential frontrunner for the Republicans, says Dick Morris.
In an extensive, in-depth interview with Newsmax.TV’s Kathleen Walter and Ashley Martella, the veteran political analyst and best-selling author likened the tough road for healthcare reform to George W. Bush’s description of the War on Terrorism: We have to be right and win all the time while the terrorists need only to get it right once.
In the case of the Democrats healthcare reform, he says, the opposition has many chances to derail it, while Harry Reid and President Barack Obama have but one chance to get it right.
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“What's likely to happen now is that the Senate will tie itself in knots debating this bill and Reid will take out all of the controversial provisions… And when it goes to the conference committee, that's where I think you really have a terribly difficult problem,” Morris said.
“The Democrats have to write a bill they can get 60 votes for in the Senate and a majority in the House, so we need a bill that Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Sen. Joe Lieberman agree on… I think we have a long ways to go on this,” he added
“The key thing is not to fall for Obama's line that something will pass anyway; that this is inevitable. That's wishful thinking on his part,” Morris said.
Losing the Seniors Support
Morris envisions a massive media blitz that educates the young men and women. Once they know what the reforms truly mean, they will move away in droves.
“Young people in particular start off by saying of course everybody should have health insurance; it should be a right; everybody should be covered,” Morris said. “But then you go and you tell them you will have to pay $15,000 out of pocket, or pay a fine, or go to jail … and you may want only catastrophic insurance, but you have to buy insurance on everything -- so that your premiums can be used to subsidize others.”
“We had a fascinating thing that just when we were advertising about these issues aimed at young people in Arkansas, North Dakota and Maine… We succeeded in moving the young people's vote people under 30 by more than 20 points against it… Our only hope is that we can run this over the country.”
Morris thinks that the AARP sold out its members in endorsing Obamacare.
“There is a thing called Medi-gap insurance for anyone who wants coverage beyond what Medicare gives. It is pretty expensive and is provided mainly by the AARP,” Morris explained.
“About five years ago, Bush came along and said this is a very good coverage but it's far too expensive. He sets up something called Medicare Advantage which is voluntary. Ten million seniors enrolled with lower premiums subsidized by the government …really great stuff … but it's not offered by the AARP.
“So Obama told the AARP I will kill Medicare advantage – if, in return, you endorse the bill. This bill takes $170 billion away from Medicare advantage and forces people to buy Medi-gap insurance so they can pad the AARP’s pocket,” he said.
Morris further opined that in his opinion, if the Democrats get 59 votes, nobody is going to walk the plank to offer that final vote. He wants to use a continuing advertising blitz in Maine to keep Snowe and Collins in line – keep them from deserting the GOP on the bill.
“The voters of Maine supported this bill before we began our advertising, but now they oppose it by 38 to 43, and we just need to keep piling it in to build up that margin…”
2012: Huckabee, Romney, Palin
As to 2012 and the far-off Presidential race, Morris says no one has emerged yet as the clear front runner.
Recent polls suggest that former Governor Mike Huckabee is leading the GOP pack for 2012.
Dick Morris, who once worked for Huckabee as a campaign consultant, says the former Arkansas governor’s biggest challenge is “breaking through” with voters who might view negatively his background as a religious pastor.
“I think voters trust him on values, think very highly of his personal morality, they like him as a person, but they don't feel that he has all the expertise in economics or national defense. Now in the aftermath of Lewinsky, we might have voted for that, but in the worst depression in our modern history, we want someone who's conversant with economics…”
Still, Morris says that Huckabee “has the knowledge” on these matters to be president, his challenge is convincing voters of his abilities.
And Morris sees other contenders in worse shape. “Romney I think is virtually out of this race because he proposed healthcare reform in Massachusetts very similar to Obama's, and it's a disaster in Massachusetts now.”
“I think that Sarah Palin’s book sales are doing well, and I think she's an incredible woman, but a lot of people were concerned when she resigned from the governorship of Alaska. Right now there is no front-runner…”
Morris also opines that there is a very good chance that the Republicans will take control of both houses in 2010. “This is not the year for the Republican Party to run centrists. This is not the year to triangulate which is what I brought to the Clinton White House -- because the voters right now I'm not in the mood for that.
“They want sharp contrast to Barack Obama. They want someone who's a vigorous apostle of free enterprise and low taxes to fight the socialist agenda of Obama.
Morris sees the coming GOP landslide as something beautiful to behold – and reminiscent of the run-up to 1994 when the GOP took control over both houses of Congress. He notes that the Republicans triumphed in New Jersey and New York then – a repeat of the recent history in those key governor races. “So we are on a trajectory to reach where we got in 1994,” he says.
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