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Dick Morris on Filibuster, Howard Dean and His Favorite Topic - Hillary Clinton

Reported by Marie Therese - May 25, 2005

Yesterday (5/24/05) on the O'Reilly Factor, political analyst Dick Morris made one of his myriad appearances. I dismiss most of what Morris says as political pandering. However, every now and then he puts forth something interesting, as he did in this interview. If he's right, there may be a new centrism being forged in the United States Senate which iwll act as a counterbalance to the extremes on both sides. Here are some tidbits from the segment:

O'REILLY: ... the far right and the far left are angry. I think the center didn't want this fight from the beginning, but who won and who lost in the filibuster deal?"

MORRIS: The big loser was the Majority and the Minority Leaders, the established parties, because neither Reid nor Frist could control this action. Instead, fourteen Senators - seven and seven in the middle - made the deal. And, when your Majority leader doesn't lead the majority and your Minority Leader doesn't lead the minority, but seven renegades from each party make an arrangement, the leadership is the one that suffered. ... What this really amounts to is the emergence of a third party in the United States Senate. I call it the party of sanity, but some would call it the centrist party, the moderate party, but it's very interesting because those 14 folks can run the country.

O'Reilly interrupted Morris to explain to the folks why 14 Senators tipped the balance.

O'REILLY: ... And this filibuster thing. The conservatives wanted to knock it out forever and the liberals, obviously, don't want and up and down vote on the judges because the judges are gonna get - they will be passed, I believe.

Later:

MORRIS: So, you really have a situation where, if those 14 folks work together, they could pass social security reform, medicare reform, a sane position on stem cell research. They could vindicate what the majority of the country wants, which is none of this craziness that led to an impeachment on the one hand and a government shutdown on the other.

O'REILLY: But one of the reasons that we haven't really covered the filibuster fight is that most Americans don't really care and they're not engaged and they don't watch it and they don't understand it and they don't know what's goin' on. Not the people who watch the O'Reilly Factor and, you know, news junkies. They're not - they know what it is. But the majority of people simply don't know and don't care.

MORRIS: You just didn't cover it 'cause you don't want to cover Senators bloviating.

O'REILLY: ... I mean the important thing is that these judges that Bush nominates are gonna get voted on and they'll all get approved, I believe, so you'll have some pro-life judges on the bench which drives the far-left nuts. But the far-right didn't want the filibuster ever again. They wanted it knocked out. Do you believe that vote would have knocked out the filibuster had they taken it?

MORRIS: No, because the reason that they came to the deal is that you had 7 Republicans who said: We're not gonna vote for the filibuster ... and you really had an eighth in Specter, but he didn't want to be on the deal. But, the interesting thing here is how Bush sees this. I believe that, when Rehnquist steps down, Bush will name a pro-lifer and so what. Pro-lifer for pro-lifer. But when a pro-choicer steps down, he can now go to the far-right and say: Hey, I would incur a filibuster if I named pro-lifer. I gotta name a moderate. ... And this gets Bush out from under a tough situation.

After the commercial break Morris was back to discuss their opinions on Howard Dean and Hillary Clinton.

Morris said that Dean's former campaign manager, Joe Trippi, had it right when he said "This guy is not f***n' ready for prime time."

MORRIS: And the Democratic Party has got to realize that they have - it's not a loose cannon - they've installed a live hand grenade as their chairman and they're gonna spend four years trying to undo the damage this guy's doing to them. ... Hilllary doesn't mind it because she can play off it. She can say: Oh, that's what the bad Democrats are like. I'm the new moderate Democrat that Newt Gingrich loves.

Morris went on to say that if Westchester County D. A. Jeanine Pirro runs against Hillary Clinton in 2006, Hillary will eventually withdraw her name because, as Morris puts it, "Hillary can run against an opposite very well ... but when she runs against a woman who's pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-affirmative action like Jeanine Pirro is, she has a hard time making distinctions. And Pirro's issues - child abuse, internet porn, pedophilia, law & order - those are all Hillary's issues, too. And, I think that Pirro gives Hillary a very tough fight. ...."

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