by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
308 Pages | Buy this book
In their seventh co-written book, husband-wife team Morris and McGann give their take on the Obama administration (summary: lots of debt, socialism run rampant), which Democrats should be targeted by Republicans in the 2010 congressional races, and the best way to campaign against them.
What's The Big Deal?
Morris and McGann have become a brand unto themselves when it comes to Obama administration takedowns. Just a year into his presidency, they already have two volumes (Fleeced and Catastrophe) under their belts. As Republicans look anxiously to the midterm elections, they’ll be particularly receptive to the duo’s outline of whom to target and how to win.
Buzz Rating: Hum
While the book has good presales on Amazon—it currently leads the “Public Policy” section as the bestseller and has a No. 22 ranking overall—press coverage has been scant. The Wall Street Journal has written an item, as has FoxNews.com, on Morris’s recent appearance on the network to plug the book. Perhaps the title needs rethinking; it’s tough to pull off a battle plan without an army.
One-Breath Author Bio
Morris served as a longtime consultant to Bill Clinton (largely advising him on how to better appeal to Republicans) but stepped down from the president’s 1996 reelection campaign when the media reported on Morris’s relationship with a call girl. He went on to become a political commentator, appearing frequently on Fox News and in the New York Post and churning out conservative political books with McGann, his wife of 30 years.
The Book, In Their Words
“In 2010, in this 234th year of our astonishingly successful American democracy—at the dawn of the second decade of the new millennium—America stands on the edge of an ideological precipice ... on the one side is the familiar America that we know and love. On the other is a very different America: the dream of Barack Obama” (page 1).
Judging By The Cover
Red background, bold blue fonts, no art, and big text basically scream “political rallying cry.”
Don't Miss These Bits
1. Harry Reid is enemy No. 1. Morris and McGann make no bones about their target: “the defeat of Senate majority leader Harry Reid in November should be the number one priority for everyone who wants to stop the Obama agenda” (page 152). He’s the opener to a laundry list of vulnerable Democrats, largely in swing districts, including Arkansas’s Blanche Lincoln (“the 60th Vote for Obamacare!” page 167) and New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand, whose defeat could well tip the balance of power in the Senate.
2. Morris and McGann argue that, in 2010, “all politics is national.” Obama has started that shift by implementing two large federal policies in his short tenure: the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and health-care reform. Republicans would be wise to attack these large policies as the creation of Obama, the authors say, and by and large brush over the role a local Democrat may have played. That way they’ll “leave plenty of room for those who are still Democrats to vote against Obama because of their disenchantment with high unemployment and continuing hard economic times” (page 260).
3. Morris and McGann include a handful of ad scripts that could be a harbinger of television spots to come in November. That’s the outcome they’d like, anyway: the authors give “blanket permission—and encouragement—to use any sample ad in this book” (page 252). One choice ad, “Party Hack,” features a man in a suit stamping bills and “a pounding, repetitive beat.” “Jones runs as a moderate,” the script reads. “He says he’s his own man. But when party leaders like President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid tell him to jump, he’s got only one question: how high?” (page 255).
Conservative rallying cries from Fox News commentators have become a genre unto themselves in the past month. Sean Hannity came out with Conservative Victory on March 30, right on the heels of Karl Rove’s Courage and Consequence (March 9) and O’Reilly Factor regular Andrew P. Napolitano’s Lies the Government Told You (March 2). While none of the authors speak too favorably about the Democrats, Morris and McGann take a slightly different tack: they specifically home in on the 2010 election as a key window of opportunity.
Swipe This Critique
The first 140 pages of 2010 are pretty standard, boilerplate criticism of the president. The better parts of the book are sections two and three, “Targets” and “Strategy,” in which Morris and McGann look at vulnerable Democratic politicians district by district and then propose a plan of attack. The “Targets” section is a nice outline of the important races to watch in November, but “Strategy” feels a little schizophrenic. The authors instruct the Republican Party “to make it clear that it points in a decidedly new direction” (page 266) but that candidates should not “complicate things by making detailed affirmative proposals on issues” (page 267). Candidates should “make Obama the issue” (page 255) and run against the president rather than the Democratic Party. But the authors constantly treat the party as the real plague, bemoaning how Democrats who reach Congress “all morph into rubber stamps, endorsing whatever Obama, Pelosi and Reid want” (page 250). While Morris and McGann have a good idea of which Democrats to target, their explanation of how—and, to some extent, whether—to target them is fuzzy.
On page 180 there’s a pretty extraneous but nevertheless entertaining transcript of the infamous exchange between Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and a brigadier general in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in which she repeatedly asks the official to address her as “Senator” rather than “ma’am.” “It’s just a thing,” she explains. “I worked so hard to get the title, so I’d appreciate it.”
Prose: Morris and McGann use direct, straightforward statements sure to rile up anti-Obama sentiment. They’re an experienced team, so it’s no surprise they have nailed down the tone.
Aesthetics: Whether or not you align with the authors politically, you have to appreciate their use of charts, graphs, and statistics to pick out the Democrats who occupy precarious seats. Particularly in the “Targets” section (pages 143 to 245), there are some great graphics that highlight the districts to watch, using approval ratings and voting records from the past year.
Organization: 2010 falls short in providing a clear plan for how Republicans ought to run in the upcoming elections, vacillating between strategies rather than providing a single directive for the best way to win seats.