Good Morning America' s Dan Harris on Saturday gently coaxed an answer from James Carville as to whether the campaign operative still believed his 2009 prediction that the Democratic Party would rule for the next 40 years.
The ABC co-host delicately reminded, "One, last, quick question. You wrote a book last year, I believe, that predicted 40 more years of Democratic dominance in Washington...Given what happened not long ago in those elections, do you stand by that prediction?"
The liberal strategist didn't back down, asserting, "Yeah. I do." Does Carville "stand by" his prediction? Clearly, he's already off by at least two years with the remaining 38 still in question. (The analysis first appeared in 40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation, Carville's book on the subject.)
Carville then went on to oddly cite the 2000 election (among others) as an example of the coming Democratic wave. Harris did not press him to explain how such a prediction could still be considered operative (at least for 2010).
Carville last appeared on the November 4, 2010 GMA, two days after the midterm election. For that segment, co-host George Stephanopoulos, a friend and former Clinton colleague, skipped the awkward subject.
Yet, when Carville appeared on the May 4, 2009 GMA to promote his book, an ABC graphic trumpeted, "Democrats 1932-1968, Republicans 1968-2008, Democrats 2008-2048?" (Stephanopoulos did ask about the predictions on the January 25, 2010 show.)
A transcript of the November 13 segment, which aired at 7:04am EST, follows:
DAN HARRIS: So, is the President on a losing streak here? We're going to be joined now by the Democratic strategist James Carville who is in his hometown of New Orleans. James, good morning to you.
JAMES CARVILLE: Thank you. Good morning. Good morning.
HARRIS: Good morning. So, after the shellacking of the midterms, I know that's becoming an overused term, but after the shellacking in the midterms and this, let's just say this tricky trip overseas, do you think the President is on a losing streak? And if so, how serious is it?
CARVILLE: Well, losing streak is- I wouldn't use that word. But I would say he's in a rough patch here. He's on kind of a slippery slope. And that happens to presidents all the time. I don't think any president goes through a time in an administration where they don't have several of these. And it's going to be interesting to see how he reacts, what he does between now and the first of the year.
HARRIS: So, if you were advising him, what would you tell him to do to get out of this rut?
CARVILLE: Well, you know, first of all, time has, is one thing that kind of works in your favor. Some of the economic news has actually been a little better now. He's probably going to have to make some changes. I mean, I think that voters delivered a pretty serious rebuke here. As a Democrat, I find that hard to deny. And he's probably going to have to look at everything. He's going to have to look at his White House staff. He's going to have to look at what his goals are. He's going to have to look across the aisle and see who he is facing in terms of the new congressional Republicans coming in. I'm not sure they're going to be that formidable, but he's going to have to deal with them. And-
HARRIS: You mentioned the White House staff. Do you think there's going to be a shakeup?
CARVILLE: Well, after the congressional elections, there's always changes. The shakeup is one word. I prefer to use changes. But, you know, nomenclature from one person is different for another. But, I don't think you go through something like that and say everything is fine. Let's continue to go in the direction we are. I think they are going to have to change direction. I know President Clinton did that in 1994. And that's typical to what happens in a White House.
HARRIS: I wanted to ask you this because I know you teach a class at Tulane University, or at least I heard you teach a class there-
CARVILLE: I do.
HARRIS: -that focuses on the debt and the deficit.
CARVILLE: Yes, sir. I do.
HARRIS: Obviously, a huge topic right now. So, what would you advise the President to do, in regards of the recommendations from his commissions co-chairs? The co-chairs put out recommendations like cutting military spending, reducing or cutting the mortgage interest tax deduction, which is popular with a lot of people. Raising the Social Security retirement age. Cutting back on Social Security benefits. This is tough stuff. Would you recommend the president do all this?
CARVILLE: Well, you know what I would recommend? I think he's in a good position because this is his commission. If you remember, I think Senator Gregg and Senator Conrad wanted to do this in the Republicans voted that idea down. And the President acted on his own. I would go to the Republicans and say, you have promoted deficit reduction. And that was a large point of your victory. And I have appoint a commission and they have a plan on the table. They have a plan. But some of these things, even I have trouble swallowing. But it's a plan that's out there. Why don't you present your plan? You know, nobody has ever gotten any of the Republicans coming in to say other than the fact they want to cut spending, they don't say what spending they want to cut. This actually tells you what spending that these guys want to cut. So, I would use that as a focal point to get a response from the republicans. And if I didn't get a response from Republicans, I would use that as something to, frankly, how do I say this delicately, attack the Republicans with. [Laughs.]
HARRIS: All right. One, last, quick question. You wrote a book last year, I believe, that predicted 40 more years of Democratic dominance in Washington.
CARVILLE: Right. I did.
HARRIS: Given what happened not long ago in those elections, do you stand by that prediction?
CARVILLE: Yeah. I do. And remember, the Democrats won four out of the five votes, popular vote in the last presidential elections. They won three out of four after 1994. And the electorate in 2012 is going to look nothing like this electorate. The truth of the matter is if the Republicans can get, as they got in 2010, an older, whiter electorate, they'll do fine. They're not going to get an older, whiter electorate in a presidential cycle. They're one out of five. And it's moving in the wrong direction with them. The basic underpinning of the book is, the demographic change in the United States, they're going to favor Democrats. And that's certainly going to be really true 20 years from now, if it's not true two years from now. I suspect it will be true two years from now. But, in the out years, it will be even more true.
HARRIS: James Carville, always a pleasure having you on. We really appreciate it.
— Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.