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O’Reilly, Reviewing Inaugural Speech, Gets the Message to the Faithful

Reported by Ellen - January 22, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Alex

On the 1/20/09 “special edition” of the Factor, Bill O’Reilly decided to treat the Fox faithful to his opinion of President Barack Obama’s inaugural speech. His commentary was innocuous enough, and generally favorable. After a shout-out to Senator Ted Kennedy, who was taken to hospital after suffering a seizure at the congressional lunch, and a mention of the stumble over the oath of office (with video, and without, of course, mentioning that it was Chief Justice John Roberts who caused the confusion, Bill played what I thought was an interesting choice of clips from the speech. With video.

First up after the oath was Obama’s warning that the challenges we face “will not be met easily nor in a short span of time." Bill seemed to approve of the President’s tone, which he said was “earnest, and designed to tamp down expectations." Next up was the President’s warning that we are in the midst of crisis and must be prepared to make hard choices, which, Bill reminded us, include “a concentrated effort to change to alternative energy” and “effective oversight to the financial markets," the latter illustrated with a clip of Obama saying that “without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control. The nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous." I was left wondering if this choice of clips was a subtle reminder to the Fox faithful that (1) Obama, who considers man-made global warming a genuine threat, might endanger the hegemony of the oil companies; (2) the reign of heretofore poorly regulated free market capitalism might be coming to an end; and (3) that the new President might be getting ready to don his green cap and quiver of arrows to play Robin Hood. Repeat after me, oh faithful ones, and quake in fear: (1) + (2) + (3) = Big Government Interference!

Bill met Obama’s remarks on terrorism with “Excellent!” and then said that “the president went on to call on Muslim nations to stop blaming the West for their problems and to work with the USA." Except… he didn’t. What the President said was,

“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy."

In other words, President Obama was not addressing those remarks solely to Muslim nations, but to the governments of nations around the globe. Where he singled out the Muslim world specifically, it was to extend the hand of friendship.

All of this was predictable enough Factor fare, and overall Bill seemed quite happy with President Obama’s speech. But just as he was wrapping up, O’Reilly couldn’t resist indulging his penchant for liberal-bashing, with this bit of snark:

“Finally, there were five references to God and one reference to the Scripture in President Obama's speech, which should greatly annoy the secular progressives who are hoping for a Godless administration."

The poor man just can’t help himself, can he? Sigh. Okay, Bill, for the umpteenth time, not all progressives are secular (has anyone ever heard Bildo say “progressive” without “secular?"), and “secular progressive” does NOT equal “terrorist-enabling-leftist-liberals-who-want-to-bring-godless-communism-to America." However, as most of us are aware, this is a meme which Bildo has spent years incubating and nourishing, and damned if he’s going to miss an opportunity to infect his audience with it!

But Bildo’s snarky “nah-nah-nah” to progressives does raise some interesting questions which I thought I’d throw out to y’all for discussion and debate:

First of all, we all know that Barack Obama is a man of religious faith, and that he peppers his speeches with the language of faith and references to Scripture. Does the obvious Christian faith of our new President bother you? If so, why; and if not, why not?

The second question is: Is there a difference between the way President Obama uses the language of faith and the way it was used by former J President G.W.Bush?

Third: Do you think Barack Obama’s faith is likely to influence his policy and actions as President?

Discuss!