When I read Dick Morris’ latest column, the first thing I thought was that is that it’s foolish to predict who the GOP nominee will be. The second thing was that picking McCain was Morris’ pick. Here’s a portion of his analysis:

McCain could even beat Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. His record taps into a latent populism that attracts Republicans, Democrats and Independents. His battle against big tobacco, efforts to address global warming, opposition to torture during interrogations and fight to reform corporate governance and to protect investors and pensioners appeal to voters of all stripes.

His issues cut across party and ideological lines, for an attraction far broader than the single notes sung by the evangelical Mike Huckabee and the anti-terror Giuliani.

His heroism is apparent and his independence from special interests notable. He’s pro-life and suitably conservative on social issues, so he attracts conservatives as well as moderates. And his credentials on terrorism and other national-security issues are outstanding. He’s got two main obstacles to overcome: his support for amnesty for illegal immigrants and his age.

The first thing Morris gets wrong is that McCain attacts enough Republicans now that we’re entiring the Republican phase of the GOP primaries. McCain is a populist, just like Huckabee is. Neither will get the endorsement because they don’t attract conservatives.

Morris got it right in saying that McCain’s support for shamnesty will hurt him. That’s just one of his transgressions against the GOP. Frankly, he’s with the GOP on very little. Certainly, he’s a national security hawk. He’s also pro life enough to pacify most Republicans. But his constant yapping about manmade climate change isn’t winning him votes in the GOP. That’s subtracting votes, if anything. His role in putting the Gang of 14 together isn’t something movement conservatives appreciate, either.

Here’s another thing that Morris got wrong:

But consider his competition: Giuliani, who draws from the same well, has squandered his early lead in what can only be described as a determined passivity. Fred Thompson is also catatonic.

Morris must’ve submitted this before Thursday night’s debate. He certainly couldn’t have written it after that debate. At minimum, he couldn’t have written that with a straight face. I’m wondering what Mr. Morris would say if he read this article:

In fairness, it was Thompson who started the spat, calling Huckabee a liberal on the economy and foreign affairs in Thursday’s GOP debate in South Carolina. He ticked off Huckabee’s alleged sins against that most hallowed of Republican institutions, the church of Ronald Reagan.

“On the one hand, you have the Reagan revolution. You have the Reagan coalition of limited government and strong national security,” Thompson said. “On the other hand, you have the direction that Governor Huckabee would take us in.”

Among Huckabee’s transgressions: He called President Bush’s foreign policy “arrogant,” he supported taxpayer-funded scholarships for children of illegal immigrants and he signed a smoking ban into law.

“So much for federalism,” sniffed Thompson, who enjoys cigars. “So much for states’ rights.”

Fred absolutely torpedoed Gov. Huckabee with that critique. Meanwhile, Gov. Huckabee’s defense was limited to a bad attempt at humor, saying that “Fred needs to take some Metamucil.” As I’ve noted before, Gov. Huckabee didn’t dispute anything Fred said on a substantive level. He didn’t attempt it because he knows he couldn’t say it and get away with it.

The biggest difference betwee Sen. Thompson and Gov. Huckabee is that Fred’s the substantive guy with a sense of humor. Gov. Huckabee is just the guy with a sense of humor.

These are just a few examples why it’s foolish to be predicting who the GOP nominee will be. The only thing that’s worse is if you’re picking Huckabee or McCain. That’s sheer folly.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

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