The American Spectator just held a conservative journalists' breakfast with Dick Morris, the former (very former) Clinton advisor and a current St. George to Hillary Clinton's dragon. He's working on an anti-Hillary film (which he describes as a "swift-boating" project), for example, which will be the third explictly anti-Hillary product he's released in four years. Despite this, he's absolutely convinced that the GOP will blow it and Hillary will win.
I think what's going to happen in the world is that Hillary's going to be the next president. I think she'll be the world's worst president. I think Republicans will get massacred in Congress in the '08 election, massacred. But then I think in '10 they'll take Congress back because I think that Hillary will give the Republican party in 2010 the same gift she gave them in 1994. And then I think Hillary will be defeated '12, but I think that will be the last Republican president we'll ever see, because I think at that point the Hispanic and the black vote become so large, and the Hispanics I think now are irretrievable anyway.
This is not incredibly surprising; this kind of talk pays Morris's mortgage. What was a little surprising was the sense of soul-crushing doom radiating from the conservative journalists and activists sitting around the table.* The idea of the Iraq "surge" actually working was brought up only as a hypothetical. It was taken for granted that Hillary would beat Obama in the primary, bring him on as a running mate, and defeat whomever the Republicans coughed up. Mitt Romney was generally dismissed as a flip-flopper. There wasn't a lot of disagreement with Morris's claim that the 2006 immigration fight killed Republican chances of winning the Hispanic vote. (Morris compared it to the effect of the 1964 Goldwater nomination with black voters, souring them on the GOP for generations.) Most of the room thought McCain would lose the nomination, which, actually, should count as optimism.
Morris saw the room for a Bush comeback, though, in the buildup to a conflict with Iran.
Iran, which I think is going to be the looming international crisis over the next year, dwarfing Iraq - the only way to distract Americans from four deaths a day is a nuclear war - I think that as Iran develops its nuclear capability and moves toward that, I think that bush can do a huge amount by echoing the Gaffney disinvestterror.org stuff. Like I'd like to see a conference of all the mutual funds in the United States, to discuss how to disinvest terror. Administrators of state pension funds about how to implement the disinvestterror.org, and really lead a national effort to cut off funding for Iran, and I think he can very successful in doing that. Those kinds of steps could repair his approval rating to the point where at least he's viable.
Well. At least he doesn't think Condi will run for president anymore. Oh, and for a sense of what conservatives think of Ron Paul… Morris ran down the "pygmies" in the Republican race and left out Paul completely. When James G. Poulos mentioned Paul, voices piped up asking if he was running as a Republican (he is ) and Morris thought he was the guy who ran against John Boehner for majority leader (he wasn't).
*Here's my unpopular prediction, which differed from the room's CW: The war in Iraq will continue to deteriorate, Hillary will continue to let the issue eat away at her support, the battle over the surge will wound her even more, white liberals in Iowa will give their caucus to Obama, and Obama will brawl his way to a convention that nominates Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as his running mate.