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O'Reilly misrepresents Cynthia Tucker to further religious victimhood meme

Reported by Chrish - February 20, 2008 -

In a segment Monday night 2/18/08 with McCain advisor Nancy Pfotenhauer, Bill O'Reilly summarized and spun Atlanta Journal-Constitution's (on O'Reilly's blacklist) Cynthia Tucker's column about Mike Huckabee to portray her as an anti-religion liberal and by extension the paper as liberal, and to position himself as champion of all things devout and pious. Hogwash, all of it.
With video.

Tucker's opinion piece, titled VP Huckabee is a sincerely scary prospect asserts that "Huckabee's theocratic tendencies are dangerous, and he shouldn't be on any ticket, even as vice president."

She lists his positive attributes vis a vis campaigning - his humor, working-class roots and authentic persona etc., but warns

"Look more closely. He is even scarier than Dick Cheney.

Cheney has merely subverted the U.S. Constitution; he hasn't actually tried to rewrite the founding document to restrict human rights or civil liberties." ...

Huckabee, by contrast, would not merely use the issue (gay marriage) as a wedge. He believes what he says. Campaigning in Michigan last month, he declared his strong support for constitutional amendments banning abortions and gay marriage."

and quotes him:

"I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution," Huckabee said. "But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that's what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view."

She declares "The last thing we need is another president or vice president who believes he can intrepret God's standards."

She credits his sincerity and his " core of decency that makes his conservatism more compassionate than that of President Bush, who liked the sound of the phrase but never seemed to grasp its meaning. "

She concludes

"But Huckabee has no business being a heartbeat away from the presidency — especially if McCain is the president. If the Arizona senator were to win the White House on Nov. 4, he would be the oldest person to be inaugurated for a first term. While he has been robust enough to compete well in the grueling nominating process, his vice president matters.

My favorite president ever, Josiah Bartlet of "West Wing," expressed his support for his well-qualified vice president — despite their rocky relationship — with the simple phrase: "Because I could die." Any presidential candidate ought to carefully consider that fundamental truth.

As for Huckabee, he'd make a fine addition to the roster of high-profile theocrats currently on the political scene — James Dobson, Gary Bauer and Pat Robertson, to name a few. At least Huckabee can play Lynyrd Skynyrd."

Hers are valid concerns shared by many, and not just "liberals." But how did "No-Spin" O'Reilly present her arguments to his audience and his guest?

In the teaser he called Tucker "farleft zealot" and said she wrote that Huckabee is "unfit to be even Vice-President, because of his faith in God." Introducing the topic to Pfotenhauer later in the segment he called Tucker "an anti-religionist and a farleft zealot," and said that Tucker said that "Huckabee... is unfit to hold any national office because of his belief in God." Pfotenhauer said that's a bizarre conclusion (Tucker's, as interpreted/spun by O'Reilly), although she would have been correct in her assessment if she had been applying it to O'Reilly's "analysis" of Tucker's column.

O'Reilly said that Tucker said Huckabee "is a theocrat," which means he wants to impose his beliefs on everybody else. Pfotenhauer said the article was legitimate because Huckabee did state how he would rule govern according to his religious beliefs and that warrants discussion, but she repeated that Tucker's conclusions were "bizarre" and out of step with the American people.

Last I looked, Huckabee was only attracting the radical religious right, those who have stolen the label "conservative" as their own. It is they who have alienated the middle with their narrow definition of morality and patriotism.

John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, by the way, are Christians and by all accounts people who profess belief in God, so Bill O'Reilly's conclusion that belief in God is the disqualifier is pure bullsh*t. The only far-anything zealots in this conversation are Huckabee, who would change the Constitution to reflect his religious dogma rather than defend and protect it, and O'Reilly, a sell out and phony.