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It's fun beating up on Dick Morris, since he's a treasure trove of material. As recently noted, Morris used his media platforms to promote an advertiser to his email newsletter without disclosure, which I'm sure all of his other publishers appreciated.

But let's not forget that no matter how corrupt he might be, he's also dishonest and stupid. To wit:

Conservatives cannot count on the Republican Party to fight their battles for them, and certainly cannot count on them to win. The right needs to develop cyber-roots conservative organizations to rival the power of groups like MoveOn.org. The stellar efforts of NewsMax.com and its ally, GOPtrust.com, illustrate the power of such efforts. Together, these groups raised $10 million for an independent expenditure on media in swing states featuring the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's anti-American bombast.

And their efforts worked.

Virtually all the polls agreed that Obama would win 52-53 percent of the vote, but the surveys varied in the amount of undecideds they found. On Election Day, virtually every undecided voter went to McCain, and Obama's final vote share was no more and no less than the 52-53 percent the surveys had predicted. This unanimity among undecided voters is attributable to the endgame of groups like GOPtrust.com and NewsMax.com.

Wow. That's quite the assertion. So what do the exit polls say?

When did you decide who to vote for?

Today Obama 50, McCain 45
Last three days: Obama 47, McCain 52
Last week: Obama 48, McCain 50

That's a funny definition of "every undecided voter". And note, the Wright ad began running in a couple of swing states starting October 27, and went nationwide October 30. So if that ad convinced any undecideds, it did so in the time span listed above.

When Morris wrote those words above, the exit polls had already been released. He could've checked the data and realized his premise was wrong. But then, he'd have to admit that the organizations he was shilling for didn't actually have the kind of impact on the race he claimed. He'd have to admit that the GOPTrust crowd spent millions of dollars on Rev. Wright ads, and had essentially zero impact on the race.

What polling did show (for example, looking at our R2K tracking poll) is that McCain's mushy support among Republicans shored up that last week, as they probably would have without the Wright ads. That includes both undecided and Obama-leaning Republicans, as well as a bunch of Republicans and independents who were saying they'd vote for Bob Barr. The Libertarian protest vote never materialized, however, which might've been related to the Wright ads, but was probably due more to the "Obama is a socialist who will redistribute your wealth". (That's the sort of thing libertarians care about, not crazy black preachers.)

Again, the data was out there to peer into, but Morris didn't give a shit. I mean, this is a guy who thought Arkansas was going to go Blue (McCain won it by 20 points), while Arizona and Tennessee were "tossup" states (among other blatant misfires). If the guy ever knew what he was talking about, he betrays no evidence of such competence these days. That he still gets any media appearances is testament to the fact that conservatives can never be so wrong that they lose their gigs.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:35 AM PST.

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