Dick Morris says it’s still the economy …

Syndicated writer, political consultant and broadcast news analyst Dick Morris said Republicans should focus on the economy in the 2012 presidential campaign, avoiding all efforts by President Barack Obama to shift the emphasis of debate to other areas.

In an interview with CapitolBeatOK, Morris was asked to give his analysis of what Republicans should do after March, April or this summer, once they have a nominee. 

Morris replied, “I think the main thing is to keep the subject on the economy, … and health care, assuming it’s constitutional. It might have been thrown out by the courts, by then. 

“Obama will try to make this election about anything but the economy.  He’ll try to make it about contraception, or abortion, or social issues, or class warfare, or income redistribution, or … supposed threats to Medicare or threats to social security. He’ll want to make the election about anything but the economy.”

Morris, author of 14 books (including 10 New York Times bestsellers), said “Republicans have to just keep bringing the subject matter back to [the economy]. 

It won’t be hard to do. People want that, and want that kind of a critique.”

He also reflected, “I think this election will probably settle into a pattern, with a Republican lead. I don’t think it’s probably going to change much. I don’t think this is going to be a tremendous war of movement one way or another.”

Morris said the race between the president and his Republican opponent will fall into a close popular vote battle, within 55 percent to 45 percent, “but toward the outer end of that, because I think there’s been a fundamental shift in party identification in the country, toward the Republicans.”

He observed, “When Obama was elected in ’08, there were five points more Democrats than Republicans, according to the polls. Now there are three points more Republicans than Democrats. So, if the exact same people go to the polls and vote in ’12, as voted in ’08, Obama goes from a five point win to a three-point loss.”

Morris concluded his reflections, saying, “of course, he won’t have the same turnout and enthusiasm.”

Morris was the keynote speaker this weekend at the annual Lincoln/Reagan dinner of the Oklahoma County Republican party. Several hundred of the party faithful came to the Northwest Marriott to hear the former Democrat (and advisor to Bill Clinton) deliver a sharp critique of President Obama, and a hopeful analysis of the Grand Old Party’s chances in the general election.