Bill O’Reilly (despite his gig on Faux (Fox) News and his love of the hyperbole), tends to be one of the few pundits on that channel who is willing to admit when he is wrong, and occasionally is capable of stepping away from the hard-party line that Fox tows. Having said that, however, there are still plenty of instances in which he seems incapable of looking at certain issues objectively. Take this clip below. In it he responds to some of the token liberal contributors of Fox declaring what they feel are Obama’s greatest accomplishments. He responds to each point with a pithy remark and then quickly proceeds to the next one. He does this because none of these responses are truly serious, just fodder for him to attack, and if someone were allowed to actually question him on his responses, they would fall apart rather quickly.
I would like to speak to each point individually. One of the problems in this country seems to be that there are those on the Right who are incapable of putting their personal feelings about Obama aside. Fox has been telling the Right for years that he is the worst thing to happen to this country since it began, and the audience jumps on the bandwagon. Nothing he does is good enough, and it is always done with ill intent. Unfortunately, this means that reality isn’t always on their side. O’Reilly in the clip below exhibits an uncanny ability to have one foot in reality and the other in TEApublica.
Now about those points he’s making: his first comment is this, “Kirsten Powers believes that preventing a depression is the high water mark for Mr. Obama. That’s kind of speculative, but the President did pump enough assets into Detroit to save some car makers from bankruptcy. However Forbes magazine rates the bounce back from the recession under the President as the weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression.” In response to that I say this: O’Reilly, in agreeing with Forbes, misses one very important factor. In previous economic recoveries, the people of this country had some semblance of faith in the government and allowed it to do what it could to stop the bleeding and patch things up. This time around instead of, oh I don’t know, putting millions of people to work building and repairing infrastructure for example, the extreme right-wing TEApublicans have stopped any such thing from happening. Is government spending a cure-all? No, certainly not; but it would have provided employment and income to people who needed it, and as those government jobs wound down, there would be opportunities elsewhere to replace them.
The second point that O’Reilly tries to make is, “Alan Colmes says passing health care reform is Mr. Obama’s best achievement. Jehmu Greene agrees with that. But if you look at Obamacare you see two things. It has slowed hiring, at least among small business concerns, and the implementation of it is chaotic to say the least. And so there is that.” He does have the second part right. Implementation of the Affordable Care Act has been hectic and all over the place. The problem with using this as an attack on Obama is that, again, it is the Right’s fault. If they hadn’t wasted so much time trying to have it declared unconstitutional, then the implementation process would have begun months, if not years, earlier. As such, all those people with the job of building these exchanges and getting them set up had a much shorter time frame to do so. Is this logic really lost on them that easily?
As for the jobs, apparently Mr. O’Reilly needs a refresher on the laws of supply and demand. If a business is doing really well, and they can’t keep up with their demands, they’re going to hire people to create more supply. I know that Conservatives have it backwards lots of times, but it really is that simple. Is it a consideration that smaller businesses are making? Yes, obviously, the only people not thinking about it are the massive multinational corporations that won’t be effected by it. Beyond them, it’s on everybody’s minds. But that doesn’t mean that all businesses are wholesale shutting down or refusing to hire that one extra person that will make them hit the fifty-person limit. So again I say, yes it is something that small businesses are considering, but only in the fantasy world that the Tea Party lives in is the Affordable Care Act a horrifying beast out to devour your liberty and income.
The third point that O’Reilly makes is regarding the end to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In it he says, “Marc Lamont Hill cites bringing the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan as the President’s signature achievement. No doubt the President did that. History – history will define the consequences but that will take time. So we don’t really know.” He obviously has nothing to say about this, leaving it to future generations to decide on what it means. If history is written by the Left, Bush will be derided for putting us in at least one unnecessary war, and Obama will be remembered as the President who got us out. (This may change depending on how Syria pans out.) Though if the Right writes the history, Like in Texas, then Bush will be painted as a hero, and anything negative that happens in Iraq or Afghanistan in the next few years will be blamed on Obama as if he personally caused all of their problems. Either way it’s written fifty years from now, the fact remains that Obama is saving our troops lives by getting them out. Not only that, but there are many on the Right who want us out of other countries’ business as well, which is probably why he had nothing to say against it.
The final issue brought up by him was, “And finally Leslie Marshall opines that killing Osama bin Laden is Mr. Obama’s biggest accomplishment. I’d expand that. I believe that Barack Obama’s legacy will be positive on the terror-hunting side. With his tough policy on drones, he’s devastated al-Qaeda and badly hurt the Taliban leadership hiding in Northern Pakistan. Ironically, the President’s core left wing supporters generally oppose the high-tech attacks on the terrorists.” Personally I agree with him on this one. Before he came into office the Right was literally scared that as soon as Obama was President the terrorists would win, but instead he has been even more aggressive about rooting out terrorism than his predecessor was (though I disagree that this could be one of his biggest accomplishments). Was it important? Yes, the big bad symbol of terrorism is dead! But the biggest accomplishment is what? Maybe this response was just a set up so that he could be seen as agreeing with a Liberal(?) . . . maybe(?) . . . but perhaps we’ll never know.
Perhaps it would have been more effective if the pundits had been allowed to have an actual conversation, though I doubt their defenses to his responses would have been sufficient enough to change any minds. Regardless, two things are clear: when O’Reilly leans on his foot in reality, he has very little to say in response to what the liberals have to say other than to agree with them, but when he sticks to his conservative guns all he can do is repeat the same drivel that ignores what is actually going on.