By Leslie Jorgensen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN
Calling himself a former Democrat and atheist, political consultant and author Dick Morris told several hundred conservatives there’s salvation for America’s economic crisis — elect hard core Republicans to regain control of the U.S. Senate and House.
“This state is the epicenter in this election,” declared Morris, who called on Colorado Republicans to win the U.S. Senate race and congressional seats in the 3rd, 4th and 7th districts.
“If you don’t live in one of those districts, adopt a poor, deserving Democrat and send him home,” said the Fox News commentator of U.S. Reps. John Salazar, Betsy Markey and Ed Perlmutter.
Morris said the November election is crucial to Republicans seizing majorities in both chambers of Congress in order to reverse the “path to socialism” and reduce both the federal budget deficit and national debt without raising taxes.
His remarks drew repeated boisterous applause from 600 conservatives at a breakfast on July 11, the final morning of the three-day Western Conservative Summit sponsored by the Centennial Institute of Colorado Christian University.
Before launching into a spirited speech about politics and economics, Morris shared a personal story about himself and CCU President and former U.S. Senator Bill Armstrong.
“It was Bill Armstrong who introduced me to Jesus Christ,” declared Morris, who received a standing ovation with thunderous clapping and cheers.
“I remember once we had lunch together, we were working with Terry Considine,” said Morris. “I said you know you are only the second man I have ever met, at the time the first was Mike Huckabee, who is really smart and believes in God. How could you?”
“That began my religious education. And then after my scandal which God sent to me to make me a better person, the first thing that I received when I got home was copy of “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis sent by Senator Armstrong.”
During the 1996 National Democratic Convention in Chicago, a supermarket tabloid story alleged Morris had had an affair with a call girl. He denied the assertion, but promptly resigned as a political advisor on President Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign.
“I was baptized as a Christian in 1997,” Morris told the breakfast crowd in the Denver Marriott South’s Park Ridge ballroom. “So when people say you switched parties, I say under my breath, you don’t know the half of it.”
The conservatives embraced Morris for his religious and political conversion — and candor. They applauded repeatedly throughout his 43-minute speech.
“Everybody always says that this is the most crucial election in our lifetime — we’re at a crossroads. Most of the time it’s not true — this time it is completely and totally true,” declared Morris.
He said the percentage of the economy controlled by government is an important statistic. Morris said that President Ronald Reagan had reduced the control from 37 percent to 30 percent during his first term. Now, he said, President Barack Obama has increased the percentage to 38 percent and after federal government health care is implemented in 2014, it will exceed 40 percent.
The percentage of government control, he said, is a measure of socialism.
“If we bring taxes up to the level of spending as opposed to bringing spending down to the level of taxes, these changes will be permanent,” predicted Morris. The cure, he said, is to win Republican majorities in Congress to reduce spending to the level of existing taxes.
“We’ll succeed in reversing the trend toward socialism by Barack Obama,” said Morris.
With the help of Democratic majorities in Congress, Morris said that Obama “can take over any institution he wants because he can claim it’s too big to fail.” The political author said Cap and Trade, a policy measure to reduce carbon emissions in the environment, is essentially the government “takeover of manufacturing and utilities.”
According to Morris the country doesn’t need government intervention to meet reduced carbon emissions standards because it’s already fallen through Americans’ individual voluntary actions.
In an over simplified history of the national debt, Morris said that between the terms of President Washington and President George W. Bush, the national debt rose to $9 trillion. But, since Obama took office 18 months ago, it’s added another $5 trillion to total $14 trillion.
“That’s the magnitude of what this guy has done to us,” asserted Morris.
He said the country’s debtors, including China and Japan, are “going to wise up” and realize that the United States’ payments on the debt are unsustainable.
“Republicans in Congress will come under pressure by Obama to raise taxes to close the debt,” predicted Morris. Conservative Republicans, who oppose increasing taxes because it will lead to a deeper recession, will be criticized as “too right wing.”
Morris recalled spending weeks in the Oval Office with President Clinton to find ways to cut federal spending and increase revenue. Among the solutions, Clinton cut the capital gains tax from 28 percent to 20 percent. Morris said that revenue poured into the government coffer and the budget was balanced within 17 months.
“Clinton knew every single line (in) the federal budget,” said Morris. “That photographic memory was applicable only to his public life.”
Egged on by the audience’s laughter, Morris shared the tale of a woman who had worked under Betsey Wright, who had served as chief of staff to Clinton when he was governor of Arkansas. During the Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, Wright had dubbed accusations of the governor’s infidelities, “bimbo eruptions.”
Morris said that when the young woman heard Clinton’s infamous “womanizing denial” during the presidential campaign, she remarked to Wright, “I got the impression he forgot we slept together.”
Morris said that he and Clinton were “conservative Democrats,” but today, “there’re extinct. They’re obsolete.”
If he showed disdain for Democrats, Morris also sneered at Republican-in-name-only moderates. He said folks will be able to discern “RINOs” from conservative Republicans when the budget crisis hits in 2011. Republicans will say no to new taxes, he said, RINOs will claim they have no alternative but to support the increase.
“Swishiness can have no place in the Republican Party!” declared Morris.
He predicts the economic crisis will spread to the states, particularly California, Michigan and New York, which will ask for government bailouts. Morris said conservative Republicans will say, “hell no!”
Morris said that he’d like to see changes to the bankruptcy law that allows municipalities to declare bankruptcy, but not states. If it was amended to allow states to declare bankruptcy, he said, it would sever contracts and “break the power the Democratic Party — union connection that controls state and local governments throughout the United States.”
Government health care, he said, sets up a system where bureaucrats instead of health care professionals determine the level of medical treatment — if at all — a person will receive. Morris said folks can disagree on whether life begins at conception, but they do agree it ends at death.
“Permit people to die when they die — not when the government decides to kill them,” said Morris.
From his standpoint, the voters have a life-and-death decision to make at the polls for the viability of the country.
“Will we follow Barack Obama into the grave? Or will we be a free country?” asked Morris. “Those are the stakes.”