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What Dick Morris Knows About Hillary
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Yukking her way through this week’s softball interviews on ABC, her path to the Democratic nomination gilded with bull-beep, Hillary Clinton had to marvel at how far she had come since the dark days of 1994.
After the Democrats’ shellacking in the midterms that year, President Bill Clinton’s approval rating had dipped to an unnervingly low 45 percent. The rating of his most likely Republican opponent, Senate majority leader Bob Dole, was cresting at 62 percent.
The only place where Bill Clinton bested Dole was in the “disapprove” column, and here by a chilling 51-25 percent. Clinton was staring down the barrel of a one-term presidency.
Like the Soviets at Stalingrad, the Clintons had no choice but to fight on. They began their mad scramble back to power in December 1994 when they held a secret meeting with the one man who could possibly turn the tide of battle, political consultant Dick Morris (pictured below).
Years earlier, Bill Clinton had physically attacked Morris and Hillary had stung him with an anti-Semitic rant, but desperate times called for desperate measures, and so Morris was summoned once again, this time by Hillary herself.
At their first get-together, Morris insisted on weekly meetings thereafter, and the president agreed. For the first month, Hillary attended the meetings and then strategically withdrew.
As Morris related in his 1997 book “Behind the Oval Office,” Clinton would share Morris’s advice and the polling data with Hillary, and “she read every word.” When he encountered Hillary, Morris added, “She showed familiarity with every bit of it.”
By the summer of 1994, Morris and Hillary were holding their own private bi-weekly meetings. The rules of the game, which had been only loosely followed to this point, were about to be scrapped altogether.
In a more disciplined fashion than they had done anything else since coming to town, the Clintons were preparing to launch what Senator Fred Thompson would call “the most corrupt political campaign in modern history.”
From the beginning, Morris insisted on one strategy above all others: filling the airwaves with TV ads early and relentlessly. “Week after week, month after month,” wrote Morris, “from early July 1995 more or less continually until election day in ‘96, sixteen months later, we bombarded the public with ads.”
With the DNC broke and demoralized after the 1994 rout, raising this much money was not easy. The lack of enthusiasm for Clinton even within his own party put the onus for raising money on the White House itself.
“You don’t know, you don’t have any remote idea,” Clinton would tell Morris, “how hard I have to work, how hard Hillary has to work, how hard Al [Gore] has to work to raise this much money.”
The bulk of the money went to TV. An adept strategist, Morris understood the sympathies of the media and devised a strategy to accommodate their willful innocence.
It was painfully simple, and it worked. To achieve “relative secrecy” he chose not to advertise at all in New York City or Washington DC and only occasionally in Los Angeles.
“If these cities remained dark,” recalled Morris, “the national press would not make an issue out of our ads—of this we felt sure.”
“No one in the media really caught on,” confirmed Robert Woodward in his book on the election, “The Choice.” The reason they did not catch on, as Morris well knew, was because they did not want to.
The story the media chose not to watch unfold was an extraordinary one. The Thompson Committee did a concise job of summarizing what that story was:
The president and his top advisors decided to raise money early for his re-election campaign. To accomplish their goal, the president and his top advisors took control of the DNC and designed a plan to engage in a historically aggressive fund-raising effort, utilizing the DNC as a vehicle for getting around federal election laws. The DNC ran television advertisements, created under the direct supervision of the president, which were specifically designed to promote the president’s re-election.
In the afterword to the paperback edition of “The Choice,” Robert Woodward had the grace to admit he “vastly underestimated the significance of money” in the campaign.
He noted too that the ads themselves “were deceptive enough to be appalling.”
Newsweek’s Evan Thomas, primary author of the campaign book “Back from the Dead,” also admitted that “one of the great underreported stories” of the campaign was how the Democrats, not the Republicans, engaged in “the really effective negative campaigning.”
Neither Thomas nor Woodward explained why, during the campaign itself, no one in the major media chose to tell the true story.
An unprecedented series of untruthful, illegally produced ads, which reached about 125 million Americans three times a week, should have been obvious to the media and scandalous from the outset.
The scandal would have exploded if the media had asked where the money was coming from to pay for the ads and how it was being raised. Again, the Thompson Committee report proves instructive:
The president and his aides demeaned the offices of the president and vice president, took advantage of minority groups, pulled down all the barriers that would normally be in place to keep out illegal contributions, pressured policy makers, and left themselves open to strong suspicion that they were selling not only access to high-ranking officials, but policy as well. Millions of dollars were raised in illegal contributions, much of it from foreign sources.
Hillary’s role in siphoning money out of Indonesia and the People’s Republic of China to assure her husband’s re-election would have made the “House of Card’s” Frank Underwood cringe.
Dick Morris knows where the skeletons are buried. Time will tell whether he has the nerve to unearth them.
Webmaster's Note: Jack Cashill's Book-TV presentation of "Deconstructing Obama" can be viewed at http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/298382-1
Editor's note: For a more complete account of this phenomenon, read Jack Cashill's amazing book, "Hoodwinked: How Intellectual Hucksters Have Hijacked American Culture.
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