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Jewish World Review Dec. 24, 2002 / 19 Teves, 5763

Dick Morris

Dick Morris
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Kerry in the lead | The first post-Gore Gallup poll for the 2004 Democratic presidential race shows Joe Lieberman in the lead at 25 percent, John Kerry next at 21 percent, Dick Gephardt third at 14 percent and Tom Daschle trailing at 10 percent. But what matters at this earl y stage is not how many votes a candidate gets, - but how many of those who know him are "voting" for him.

By the primaries, voters will know all the contenders. Early polls are important only in that they indicate how the candidates will be received. That's why these figures must discourage Gephardt and Daschle.

Dick Gephardt is known by 65 percent of the primary voters, but manages only 14 percent of the vote. Daschle fares even worse. With 64 percent recognition, he draws only 10 percent.

John Kerry shows the greatest strength. Known by only 45 percent of the voters, he pulls 21 percent. Joe Lieberman, known by 70 percent, gets 25 percent.

So why are Gephardt and Daschle in such bad shape? As Trent Lott just found out, there is no gratitude for leading your party in Congress. You have to appear partisan all the time, can never duck an issue or hide under a nearby rock, and are out there all the time saying what you have to say whether you want to or not.

As Bob Dole found out, you can't keep a positive image while being your party's mouthpiece in Congress. That's why no legislative leader since James Madison has ever been elected president (except LBJ, who ran as president after succeeding JFK).

Kerry profits from the fact that people haven't found out that he's a liberal. Eventually, this primary will boil down, as usual, to a battle between left and center - Kerry vs. Lieberman. (North Carolina's John Edwards, now lagging at 5 percent, could move up if he runs.)

Notable, too, is how Hillary Clinton blows away all competitors. When she enters the field, she dominates with 40 percent. Way behind are Kerry and Lieberman at 16 percent and 15 percent. Hillary can get the Democratic nomination when she asks for it. But she won't ask until 2008.

Yes, the order of presidential succession in this benighted country is likely to be: Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton.

The most successful piece of domestic legislation since the 1964-65 Civil Rights Act was welfare reform. As a result of its enactment, welfare rolls dropped by more than half and poverty dropped by almost one-third.

It never, ever would have passed without Trent Lott. Upon taking over as majority leader from Bob Dole in June 1996, he stripped the GOP welfare reform bill of its Medicaid cuts which would have hit nursing homes the hardest. He eliminated other poison pills like cuts in child-protective services and food stamps, and added more day care. When Lott was done with it, Bill Clinton was able to sign the bill.

Because of Lott, Congress passed, and Clinton signed, a 23 percent increase in the minimum wage, portability of health-insurance benefits, clean-water legislation and the balanced-budget deal.

Ousted because he spoke well of Strom Thurmond, who broke with Truman over anti-lynching legislation, he now swings from a tree in Washington.

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JWR contributor Dick Morris is the author of, among others, "Power Plays: Top 20 Winning and Losing Strategies of History's Great Political Leaders" Comment by clicking here.


12/19/02: Lieberman the frontrunner
12/17/02: In defense of Lott
12/02/02: An issue for Bush: Drugs
11/27/02: Women gone wobbly?
11/25/02: The U.N. over a barrel
11/15/02: Gore's suicide
11/15/02 One-party control is an illusion
11/13/02 The House of Extremes
11/08/02 I have egg on my face
11/01/02 Is Bush losing control over events?
10/25/02What is causing Bush's free fall?
10/25/02: Anybody sense a trend?
10/23/02: A deadline for Iraq
10/18/02: Only sure bet of 2002 elections is voter angst
10/16/02: Endangered incumbents
10/11/02: Why multilateralism doesn't work
10/09/02: Hey, Dems: Believe NYTimes polling at your own risk
10/03/02: Dem suicide: Let's count the ways
09/30/02: The Dems just can't stop themselves
09/26/02: The perils of polling
09/19/02: W. boxed in the U.N.
09/19/02: Welfare reform: Keep on keeping on
09/12/02: Are Dems insane on Iraq?
09/09/02: Twin shadows of Election '02
09/05/02: GOP should triangulate
08/28/02: Trust the military
08/22/02: It's not the economy, stupid
08/09/02: As America unites, Gore goes divisive
08/01/02: Bush must focus on big picture
07/23/02: Election 2002: Advantage Dems
07/19/02: Rudy for SEC tough cop
07/17/02: The investor strike
07/15/02: Door open for drug testing students --- go for it, GOP!
07/12/02: Dubya looking out for No. 1?
07/03/02: The DNA war for Bush's soul
06/21/02: Why are conservatives winning?
06/19/02: Learning to love the feds
06/14/02: Hey, journalists and Dems: Dubya is doing just fine
06/12/02: It's terrorism, stupid!
06/10/02: Sanctions are a potent weapon
06/04/02: Al Qaeda's more dangerous new front
05/31/02: Why '04 looks tough for liberal Dems
05/24/02: Democratic self-destruction
05/22/02: The Clinton failures
05/15/02: Pataki positioned to win
05/08/02: A wakeup-call for American Jewry
05/03/02: Give Bush back his focus
05/01/02: Immigration fault li(n)es
04/25/02: It's the war, stupid
04/17/02: Bush goes small bore
04/12/02: Bush must be a gentle partisan
04/10/02: In defense of polling
04/08/02: Focus on Iraq, not the Palestinians
04/01/02: Only Internet will bring real campaign finance reform
03/27/02: Where W's drawn a line in the sand
03/22/02: Enron scandal will not trigger a wave of economic populism
03/20/02: Term-limited --- by war
03/15/02: Europe doesn't have a clue
03/11/02: Bush popularity = GOP win?
03/01/02: Will America be forced to chase its tail in its war on terrorism?
02/27/02: The Arafat/Saddam equilibrium must be destroyed
02/21/02: Campaign finance reform won't hurt GOPers
02/13/02: Dodd scurries for cover
02/11/02: U.S. 'unilateralism'? The Europeans don't have a case
02/06/02: WAR: What women want
02/01/02: They all talk in the end
01/30/01: The odd couple: Chris Dodd and Arthur Andersen
01/22/01: His father's son? Bush better get an 'Act II' fast!
01/18/01: Dubya & the 'vision thing'
01/14/01: The Rumsfeld Doctrine 01/03/01: A President Gore would have been a disaster
01/03/02: Clinton's priority: Political correctness over fighting terror
12/27/01: Terror network grew out of Clinton's inaction, despite warnings
12/24/01: Call 'em back, George
12/18/01: What Bush did right
12/13/01: Libs worry too much
12/11/01: "Open Sesame": Feinstein's proposed bill allows 100,000 non-immigrant students from anti-American countries to our shores
12/07/01: The non-partisan president
12/05/01: Both parties are phony on stimulus debate
11/29/01: When terrorists can enter legally, it's time to change the laws
11/21/01: Go for the jugular!
11/16/01: You are all incumbents
11/14/01: Clinton's failure to mobilize America to confront foreign terror after the 1993 attack led directly to 9-11 disaster
11/12/01: To the generals: Don't worry about losing support
11/08/01: The death of the white liberal
11/07/01: Our leaders are being transformed in a way unprecedented in post-World War II history

© 2002, Dick Morris