Sixteen months ago, to some fanfare, Dick Morris re-entered the anti-Clinton fray with a new PAC. He launched Dick Morris's Just Say No to Hillary PAC, registering it from Tampa. From time to time, stories about the potential hurdles for a Hillary Clinton run would cite the rise of PACs like Morris's.
But there is a rather glaring problem with adding Morris to this narrative: No one has been giving money to his PAC. Literally, no one. In filings today, first flagged by Center for Public Integrity reporter Dave Levinthal, Just Say No to Hillary PAC reported no donors through all of 2014. That squares with data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics.
If that finding is surprising, it's because other people have done perfectly good business in the sturdy ant i-Clinton industry. Dan Backer, a conservative attorney and strategist who won at the Supreme Court last year to undo some restrictions on individual donors to parties, launched the Stop Hillary PAC after Morris's PAC was already in the field. The Backer group has hauled in more than $1 million, and built a sizable social media presence. When I pointed out Morris's problems to Backer, the newer player sounded bemused.
"Is he the cat from the Friskies commercials?" Backer asked in an e-mail. "I thought he died…"
He did not, though his profile has never quite recovered from two events in 2012. First: He went further on a limb than any comparable commentator in saying Mitt Romney would win the presidency. He would take it in a "landslide," said Morris on Fox News. Since Romney lost, Morris hasn't appeared as much on Fox; his last prime time hit came before the 2014 midterms, when he was flogging his latest book about Hillary Clinton's radicalism. (She was as bad as Obama, said Morris, who wanted to make America a one party state. "That's why he wants to open the borders. That's why he's letting in 100,000 Syrian refugees.")
Second: Morris played in the 2010 midterms via his Super PAC, which ended up paying most of what it took in—close to $1.7 million—to Newsmax Media. Newsmax Media operated the mailing list that Morris rigorously worked over to get donations. Morris was hardly the first prominent politico to anger donors over where their money went. His problem was that his cause was too popular, and when he stumbled, plenty of other people were ready to run "the" anti-Hillary PAC.