Thursday, July 28, 2005

Joe Morris on TV: Grading “W” on “substance,” and “communications.”

This week’s suburban edition of “Public Affairs,” continues to feature Joe Morris, Chairman of the United Republican Fund of Illinois. For more about Joe Morris, the show with Morris and the suburban and City of Chicago airing schedule of “Public Affairs,” as well as a partial transcript of the show, [See here.]
An additional partial transcript of the show is included, below:
Jeff Berkowitz: … [President] George Bush. Do you think you could grade him-- uh, objectively, and fairly-- again, the typical University of Chicago style--

Joe Morris, Chairman, Illinois United Republican Fund of Illinois: Yes. But, I have to give him two grades. One for substance, and one for process. “A,” for substance, the guy’s got, I think, a very clear understanding of what it is he needs to do in the job, and a spine of steel to stay with what he concludes he needs to do. I have to give him, I have to give him a “C minus”for his ability to communicate to the American people, whether through the media, or, over the heads of the media.

Berkowitz: Can’t speak, can’t articulate at all, right?

Joe Morris: He has plenty of people around him who can articulate very well, but he himself –

Berkowitz: Can’t.

Joe Morris: Has a very hard time selling his message.

Berkowitz: So, you give him—what? a “C minus”.

Joe Morris: A “C minus” for communication.

Berkowitz: What about on substance?

Joe Morris: I said an “A.”

Berkowitz: An “A?”

Joe Morris: An “A.”

Berkowitz: From the University of Chicago?

Joe Morris: An A for a steel of spine—or, a spine of steel.

Berkowitz: Domestic policy, you’d give him an “A?” Big spender, right? I mean the Heritage organization would not; [I mean] the Heritage Foundation would not give him that, would they?

Joe Morris: George Bush has made mistakes. There are, there are--

Berkowitz: Big time.

Joe Morris: Plenty of things to regret-

Berkowitz: “Big time,” mistakes, to borrow a phrase from [Vice- President] Dick Cheney.

Joe Morris: Plenty, plenty of things to regret in his [Bush’s] budgeting--Plenty of things to regret in his inability to use the veto pen. I think, I think that-

Berkowitz: [His] domestic policy has been a disaster in the words of conservatives, right?

Joe Morris: Um, well. In, in-

Berkowitz: Come on. Be fair. A disaster-

Joe Morris: Some, some aspects of his domestic policy-

Berkowitz: Education, his little compromise with Ted Kennedy? Come on. No Child Left Behind?

Joe Morris: If, if, uh-- I would be delighted to see No Child Left Behind-

Berkowitz: Left behind.

Joe Morris: Repealed, yes. I would be, I would be delighted if he had vetoed McCain-Feingold. I would be delighted if he was able to exercise budget discipline.

Berkowitz: He screwed up-- so far--social security reform-

Joe Morris: Oh, no, no. That’s a communications issue. If you’re-

Berkowitz: Well, it’s a major flaw.

Joe Morris: And, I’ve given him a “C minus” in his communications.

Berkowitz: Foreign policy, you give him an “A?”

Joe Morris: On, on social security, the guy’s got the substance of the issue right and deserves enormous credit for being willing to touch the so-called third rail of American domestic politics. Social security is a huge issue that needs to be-

Berkowitz: “A” for effort. But, what about substance?

Joe Morris: Substance? What--

Berkowitz: It’s dead in the water.

Joe Morris: We’re, we’re--

Berkowitz: Private [Or as the President likes to say, Personal Retirement] accounts are dead in the water.

Joe Morris: It’s, you’re, you’re-- You want to flip back and forth between communications and process on the one hand or substance on the other.

Berkowitz: Come on. Keep up with the flow. Keep up with the program.

Joe Morris: Come on, Jeff! Well, you can’t, you can’t whipsaw me--

Berkowitz: Who’s the host here? Come on [laughs].

Joe Morris: You can’t, you can’t whipsaw me between substance and process.

Berkowitz: What do you mean [I can’t]? There are no rules on this show.

Morris: Um, on tax rates, which in the long run, probably count more than this year’s spending bills.

Berkowitz: All right. I’ll give you that.

Joe Morris: The President every year has gone to Congress for a marginal tax rate reduction, and he’s gotten it. Every year, he’s gone to bat for ending the death tax; Russia has just repealed its death tax.

Berkowitz: Let’s digress for a second. Rod Blagojevich said—pledged-- no increase in the state income tax, no increase in the state sales tax. He has held firm to that. As a conservative, you would applaud Rod Blagojevich for that, right?

Joe Morris: I applaud him for his restraint on the sales tax and income tax.

Berkowitz: Ummm.

Joe Morris: You will notice that every other possible tax or user fee is increased.

Berkowitz: Small stuff, come on.

Joe Morris: Smoke and mirrors; smoke and mirrors-

Berkowitz: All right.

Joe Morris: Not a whole lot unlike the deficiency in President Bush’s administration on the spending side.
Joe Morris, Chairman, United Republican Fund of Illinois, recorded on July 17, 2005, as it is airing in the suburbs this week and as will be airing across the the City of Chicago on the City edition of Public Affairs this coming Monday night, August 1 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21.
Draft Transcript prepared by Amy Allen, who also does research for “Public Affairs,” and has her own political blog [See here].
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at