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O'Reilly bemoans "disrespectful behavior," "incivility" - when it's his guy on the receiving end

Reported by Chrish - December 5, 2006 -

It looks like Bill O'Reilly is going to start giving Miss Manners a run for her money, as he points out every perceived infraction of etiquette and builds his case that the Democrats' return to Congressional power is taking Washington (and the nation) down the path to greater incivility. Why else would he use his Talking Points Memo platform today 12/4/06 to berate Senator-elect Jim Webb for a less than slobbering response to George Bush at a White House event two weeks ago?

Actually the "news" item that allowed the anti-Webb sermon was a C-Span caller's verbal assault on former President Jimmy Carter, which resulted in the call being terminated by the producers. This rudeness was reported alongside Webb's reserve to portray a trend and justify bringing up the two-week old incident.

CBS News reported the Webb-Bush encounter on November 30:

(AP) Democratic Sen.-elect Jim Webb avoided the receiving line during a recent White House reception for new members of Congress and had a chilly exchange with President Bush over the Iraq war and his Marine son.

"How's your boy?" Webb, in an interview Wednesday, recalled Mr. Bush asking during the reception two weeks ago.

"I told him I'd like to get them out of Iraq," Webb said.

"That's not what I asked. How's your boy?" the president replied, according to Webb.

At that point, Webb said, Mr. Bush got a response similar to what reporters and others who had asked Webb about Lance Cpl. Jimmy Webb, 24, have received since the young man left for Iraq around Labor Day: "I told him that was between my boy and me."

Or, as O'Reilly reported it, Webb "shot back" "That's between me and my boy, ..."

O'Reilly, pretending to speak directly to Jim Webb. expressed great indignation that Webb did not have respect for the office. Dissent is fine and honorable, he allowed, but Webb "made a mistake in not being gracious" and as a representative of the people of Virginia, he should know better. (Except Bush was posing a personal question, having nothing to do with the people of Virginia, and Webb answered as he saw fit.)

O'Reilly dragged Paul Krugman in for a slap, calling him the epitomy of the far-left, and said the far-left spews vitriol all day long. Oh really? On what radio station?

Disrespecting people with whom you disagree is now out of control, per O'Reilly. (Like when O'Reilly called Carter "snide" and "classless" or when he inferred the former President was anti-American for traveling to Cuba?)

The sermon ends with some words of wisdom from O'Reilly, who should know:

"These are dangerous times. Attacking people personally gets us nowhere. Keep it on the issues. Be fair."


Seconds later, O'Reilly had Paul Hackett, the Iraq veteran who ran for office in Ohio, and Kellyann Conway, a Republican pollster, to discuss this serious non-issue.

Hackett said he thought that after Webb's first reply, Bush upped the volume and these two type-A personalities were toe-to-toe.

But, O'Reilly insists, Bush is the "senior partner" in the exchange, and Webb was disrespectful. Conway agreed, comparing the event to an invitation to someone's home and being "deferential" to the host, and saying the reception itself was a "kind gesture." (Hackett, in the background, corrected her that it is OUR house and Bush is just a temporary resident). O'Reilly (!!) said he did not like the term "'deferential" and agreed with Hackett that it is the people's house....BUT.

Even if Howard Dean, who he has no use for, (and vice-versa, lol) came up to O'Reilly and asked how his family was, he would reply graciously. Lordy, this man is one fantasy after another. Hackett replied that he would argue that the first answer was not disrespectful, and most Americans don't care about this silly dust-up.

The next half-minute was both Hackett and Conway talking simultaneously, Conway on a runaway train of thought - she's a pollster, she knows what people think, this is important, it's the decline of respect like going to work in wrinkled clothes, yip yip yip, and Hackett emphatically making the point that Webb respects the office of the presidency, not necessarily the current resident, and that Bush works for him and every other taxpayer in America: "He's not a king."

After O'Reilly asked Hackett if he thought the caller's comments to Carter were disrespectful and Hackett shrugged it off, saying they get paid to take hits, O'Reilly got a little shrill and waved his hand, repeating "you respect the office!" When Hackett reminded O'Reilly that this is the United States of America and if someone wants to be disrespectful to the president, that's fine, O'Reilly insisted "that's not fine! It should be called and criticized!"

Hackett, denied the last word, said this is "the kabuki theater aspect of Washington DC." Conway's last words of wisdom were to the effect that the people of Virginia can't relate to Webb as an educated man with an advanced degree and a former Secretary of the Navy, but they can ask themselves two questions: do they like him, and is he like them? Once again voters are treated like bran muffins, too stupid to have voted for him based on anything other than personality. O'Reilly asserted confidently (three times - it must be true) that if this had happened before the election (which it couldn't have!) he would have lost, because people don't like incivility.

He better hope they do or his ratings will go even further into the tank.