Dick Morris’ Empty Podium

Dick Morris was the inspiration for an hour-long thirty-six mile round trip to Clermont County late Tuesday afternoon.  Early arrivals signed in and hurried for a front row seat.  Then came the news…..Dick Morris reportedly had transportation difficulties and was unable to get a flight due to the weather event dominating the news and eastern seaboard air traffic – Hurricane  Sandy.

Americans for Prosperity was hospitable and attempted to assuage disappointment by serving food and giving away free t-shirts to the standing room crowd of 250 to 300.

To their credit, AFP techies did a herculean job getting audio set up last-minute for Morris to call in. Communication was one-way so he was unable to field questions from the audience.

Ted Stevenot, Clermont County Tea Party, and Seth Morgan, Policy Director for AFP-Ohio, made opening remarks before Dick Morris’ phone call.

Sometimes cosmic forces align to create the unexpected – usually accompanied by a twist of irony or humor.  In these unavoidable circumstances, it’s helpful to be easily entertained and find the funny.  Paradoxically and unfortunately, the absurdity and mirth usually occur at inopportune moments.

Today, it was a lengthy round trip in the rain, ironically, remnants of “weather event” Sandy, to hear what amounted to a 15 minute speech radio broadcast with the sound quality of a squawk box at Mickey D’s drive-thru,  or a Dick Morris online “Lunch Alert” without the picture.

The visual was the empty podium flanked by the Ohio and U.S. flags, hearkening back to Clint Eastwood’s empty chair speech at the RNC convention in August.  Morris’ voice boomed through the speakers like the Great and Powerful Oz, except he wasn’t behind the curtain.

Adding to the picture, Holiday Inn staff continuously marched in wheeling racks of empty chairs to add to the front rows, eventually surrounding the empty podium during Dick Morris’ speech.

Seth Morgan, “We have more chairs on the way in. Matter of fact, for all the empty chair promises that have been made, it’s great to see so many chairs full.”  And, “I apologize on behalf of Dick Morris – you’re allowed to be mad at him, that he decided to wimp out and not come to Ohio with us today. I can’t say that I blame him…everybody was just concerned about his safety.”

Morgan asked for a moment of silence for those who died in the east coast hurricane.  “When one of us is attacked, we’re all attacked.  We’re still Americans.”

Excerpts from Dick Morris’ policy briefing message to Ohio:

“This is a non-political, non-partisan rally, but I would like to begin by saying, we are going to win.  (HUGE applause line)  We’re going to carry Ohio.  I think things have been going very wonderfully for the Romney campaign, and I think the momentum is clearly in our favor..…so I think Romney is going to win in excess of  five point margin of the popular vote and I think he’s going to win in excess of 100 point margin in the electoral vote.  So I think we’re going to have ourselves a new president.”  (Thunderous applause) 

“Bill Clinton, the guy I used to work for, was the last Democrat to get re-elected to a second term – and in three weeks, he’ll still be. (Laughter)  He’ll keep his title.”

“The other big thing…is the United States Senate.  We’ve got to win control of that so we don’t go to a repeat of dealings with Harry Reid.  Here it’s going to be close, but I think we’re going to be ok. And I think once again, it’s going to come down to Ohio…I believe it’s going to be a very close contest between Sherrod Brown and Josh Mandel. Let’s remember that Sherrod Brown is the second most liberal member of the United States Senate.  The only guy that’s to the left of him is Bernie Sanders who is not a Democrat, but a Socialist.  (Laughter)…..At the moment, Brown has about 45 or 46 percent, and Mandel has about 43 or 44.  It’s very close and I can’t ask you enough to work hard on that Senate race… We have the potential for 8 republican take-aways.”

“But we’re going to lose some.  First of all, I hate to break the news to you all, but that apostle of conservatism, that warrior for our cause, Olympia Snow, is (inaudible)…but unfortunately we aren’t going to keep that seat…Scott Brown is in a very tough fight against Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, but at the moment it looks like Warren has taken the lead…so you’ve got 5 to 8 seats as a pick up, and two possible seats as losses.”

“And then, we got a curve ball the other day when …or actually more like a screw-ball, when the candidate in Indiana, Richard Mourdock, made some stupid comment.  That made that race a tighter one that it normally would have been…..We need to get at least 3 seats to get control…..then the new Vice-president Ryan would break the tie on our behalf….. It’s all gonna come down to a handful of seats, basically, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Indiana, and Massachusetts…..So again we need your help urgently here.”

“That is really what Obama is doing to our economy.  The cure here is what’s making us sick, not the disease it was originally designed to cure.  Now, there is a solution to this, and if Romney is elected, I think he’ll implement it.  It’s very complicated and I’m not sure I can explain it in a speech like this, or even in a call, but let me try….STO-PPP!  (Laughter)  We just need to stop.  We need to stop the borrowing, stop the spending, and stop the indebtedness.  And the world will breathe a sigh of relief…”

“We’re not in the middle of a recession anymore – we’re in the middle what’s called a debt implosion cycle – it happens every forty or fifty years.  It happened in 1760’s, 1840’s, 1890’s, 1930’s, and now.  When the debt level gets so big and so threatening it freezes economic activity throughout the country, the world really…I think Romney will be able to stop it.”

According to Morris, there are five parts of the federal budget, totaling $3.7 trillion in spending:

  1. Defense budget – which hasn’t increased under Obama
  2. Social security budget – risen 4% per year
  3. Medicare – 7 or 8% increase per year
  4. Government agency spending – Departments of Education, Housing, and Transportation have doubled their budgets
  5. Welfare – includes Medicaid and food stamps, has almost doubled during this presidency

According to Dick Morris, we need to roll back spending to 2008 levels and give it back to the states.  Reductions in government spending and the Romney tax program are revenue neutral, but positive psychologically since earners keep more of their money.

Dick Morris’ emotional closing remarks:

“I just want to close by saying to you all, this.  And this is very personal and maybe it’s a little emotional, but I mean all of it. I don’t live in a swing state…you do. You guys live at Ground Zero.  You live in the single location where you can MOST change the course of history in this country.  You live on the Green in Lexington and Concord. You live on Cemetery Ridge and Little Round Top at Gettysburg.  You live on the battlefield at the beaches of Omaha.  You live at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. You live in the place where we can strike the most important blow for liberty and freedom of this generation. You live in Ohio.  And please do what’s right for the American people. Thank you.” (Applause)

An ear-splitting tone was heard after the call concluded…one person observed, “It’s over”, accompanied by laughter.  And another, “We’re done now.”  Seth Morgan quipped, “It’s the red phone ringing, and I answered it.”

(Over and out)

(Double-click on images to enlarge)

Ted Stevenot, Clermont County Tea Party, talks about using citizen journalism and the importance of sharing stories using social media like Facebook and Twitter to reach the largest audience and outrun the liberal media.  When we use social media,”We don’t need the press´permission to get the story out.”  Ted implored people to  help at the polls on election day, “where 60% of the electorate will vote next Tuesday.”

Seth Morgan announced AFP will host Fred Thompson on Thursday at noon at the Holiday Inn Eastgate in Clermont County.  He stressed the importance of coal and energy in Ohio.  He asked attendees to stay afterward to make phone calls for AFP.

Crowd of 250 to 300 at Holiday Inn Eastgate.

Dick Morris’ empty podium.

The onslaught of more empty chairs

Crowd at AFP Dick Morris event at Holiday Inn Eastgate

Dick Morris’ empty podium is engulfed by empty chairs at AFP event at Holiday Inn Eastgate.

Dick Morris’ stand-in “speaker”.

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