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O’Reilly Thinks the Birther Movement is “Nonsense” – But Welcomes Two Hardcore Conservatives To Discuss It Anyway

Reported by Ellen - August 4, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Julie

Last night (8/3/09) on The O’Reilly Factor, during his Talking POints Memo, Bill O’Reilly trumpeted, “With President Obama’s poll numbers collapsing, why are some conservative Republicans hurting themselves with nonsense?” (While I’m not sure that a 56.4% approval rating for President Obama would constitute “collapsing,” I will agree about the Republicans and nonsense.) But the only two guests for the discussion immediately following the TPM were hardcore conservatives, each of whom defended the birthers. With video.

Earlier in the night, the poster child for the “birther movement,” Orly Taitz, got her panties in a bunch on MSNBC – you can see her descent into full-out madness here. Ann Coulter, queen of the right-wingnuts, dismissed the birther controversy as a big nothing-burger. Bill O’Reilly himself has pooh-poohed the birthers as “bogus” and “nonsense.” So how come o’reilly had two right-wing talkers – including mike gallagher (the same guy who suggested having a “Muslim only” line at airports -- on the Factor tonight to give the right a platform to talk about the birthers?!?

O’Reilly began the TPM by asking why conservative Republicans continue to hurt themselves by continuing to be “frenzied” over the “birther movement" - that’s the movement that questions the legitimacy of President Obama’s birth in the U.S. and, thus, his qualification to be President. O’Reilly enjoyed a little gloating about President Obama’s falling poll numbers, making sure he didn’t stray too far from Fox’s Fault-Finding.

Calling the birth certification controversy “dumb stuff,” O’Reilly posited that President Obama “loves that, because it makes his opposition look irrational. Why would he ever release his birth certificate when those demanding it look unhinged?” This begs the question here - if those demanding the birth certificate as “proof” of his natural citizenship didn’t look as unhinged as, say, the birther movement queen, Taitz, would O’Reilly think it a reasonable request? And I’m afraid I have to point out something a little ugly – 58% of Republicans at least sympathize with the lunatic birthers. This would, I’m afraid, lend credence to the fact that the opposition, i.e., the majority of Republicans, IS irrational – unhinged, even.

O’Reilly went on to question the conservatives’ wisdom of attacking Judge Sonia Sotomayor, saying, “That wasn’t smart.” O’Reilly then, laughably, maligned “talk radio, a lifeline for many conservatives that has angered centrist Republicans like John McCain, Colin Powell, and even Michael Steele, the head of the GOP. The Obama Administration has attempted to brand the entire Republican party as extremists and points to the hot rhetoric on talk radio to make its case.” I chortled a little at the way O’Reilly separated himself neatly from the other hosts of “talk radio, a lifeline for many conservatives . . . .”

Next, in a classic back-handed compliment, O’Reilly said that “everything the President says and does is not wrong, stupid or un-American.” By this, of course, O’Reilly as much as admits that he thinks some of what the President says and does is wrong, stupid and, more importantly, un-American.

O’Reilly took some predictable swipes at the far left, claiming that the “fanaticism” of Michael Moore, Janeane Garofalo, Sean Penn, among others, “hurt the liberal movement.” (Is that why we just overwhelmingly elected, not only a black President, but arguably the most liberal President in history?)

O’Reilly brought on radio talk show host Mike Gallagher and Editor in Chief of Newsmax.com, Christopher Ruddy. Memo to Bill: It’s a little hard to separate yourself from the “conservative lifeline” when your only guests to debate the “birther” movement are two hardcore conservatives. You might have been able to have Taitz on, but she’s probably under sedation still, recovering from her MSNBC meltdown.

Ruddy came right out of the gate spewing what O’Reilly had just described as “extremist” views, saying, “Well . . . I think that there’s some legitimate issues involving the birth certificate . . . I think there’s a fringe group that’s been out there saying that Obama wasn’t even born in the United States. There’s no evidence of that, there’s a lot of evidence he was born . . . But the one thing . . . is that he has yet to release his actual birth certificate. The State of Hawaii has released, what Obama during the campaign released was his certificate of live birth. We do not know as of this date where in the State of Hawaii President Obama was born . . . .”

O’Reilly? Care to comment on the extremist views of your guest? (Come on, say it, say it – YOU’RE FRIGGIN’ CRAZY!)

O’Reilly, however, left unchallenged the glaring question, being that if there’s no question of the legitimacy of President Obama’s Hawaiian birth, what difference would it make where in Hawaii he were born? But, for the record, Obama’s birth certificate is widely available on the internet and it states, plain as day, that he was born in Honolulu.

“Well,” O’Reilly argued weakly, “I think it’s in or around Honolulu based on the two newspapers that ran the advertisement . . . .” Remember the “conservative lifeline” you’re trying to separate yourself from, Bill – try again.

“The King of Cable News doesn’t even know where . . . .” Ruddy crowed.

“I don’t care . . . If I wanted to know, I’d find out tomorrow, I don’t care,” O’Reilly said dismissively. Still not good enough, really, Bill – it’s not enough that you don’t care (just because you’re getting dissed by ol’ Chris there on your own show), but I have yet to hear you come out and say that no one should be talking about birth certificates or Hawaiian towns or anything that has the words “birth” and “Obama” in the same sentence. It’s your show, Bill – shut this shit down.

O’Reilly did note that two newspapers announced the President’s birth the same week that he was born, and stated flatly that “You cannot have a conspiracy at that level.” A little better, I guess.

Gallagher defended the birthers, saying, “. . . This is a request to say, where’s the official birth certificate? . . . But to brand people as crazy extremists, birthers, simply because they’re asking for a birth certificate?” You know you’ve got a fringe lunatic when he doesn’t even know he’s being a fringe lunatic – I mean, what’s the argument, that we don’t need to see the birth certificate to prove he’s a natural-born citizen, but hey, break it out, prove you’re a natural-born citizen?

Ruddy agreed, saying, “I think he should release it, I don’t think it should stop him from being President . . . .” Bill? This would be a great opportunity to point out the complete inanity of the argument that the birth certificate will prove nothing they don’t already know -- but they're demanding Obama prove it anyway.

O’Reilly pointed out that the Republicans have an opportunity – based on President Obama’s “cratering” poll numbers – to exploit the poll numbers, but they can’t because it’s “tied up in nonsense.”

Ruddy disagreed, arguing, “Who really in the Republican Party is pushing the issue of the birth certificate?. . . But he’s never released his college records, he’s never released his medical records . . . .”

“Nobody cares, Chris,” O’Reilly said, “. . . The only people who care are Obama-haters . . . You’re missing my point entirely. It doesn’t matter to the voters whether he releases his college transcripts or not . . . They want the healthcare system fixed, they want the economy fixed . . . and the Republican Party hasn’t come up with anything to give them confidence when they could.” Opportunity after opportunity wasted, Bill, to show you’re not one of those “conservative lifeline” type guys – all you have to say is, “He doesn’t need to produce a birth certificate (again), he doesn’t need to produce college records or his kindergarten artwork or his Boy Scout badges, he’s a natural-born U.S. citizen, now drop it.”

Ruddy, again unchallenged by O’Reilly, claimed that “Considering what George Bush left, which was a bit of a disaster, I think the Republican Party is doing pretty well right now against Obama [is that why this Gallup map shows a sea of blue states?] . . . I think that the birth issue is a side issue but it’s something that’s symbolic . . . .”

Yeah, it’s symbolic all right – symbolic of the fact that right-wing-nuttiness is catching; symbolic of the fact that right-wing “conservative lifeline” hosts like O’Reilly can’t help lending legitimacy to the “birthers” by having them on their show to talk about it; symbolic of the fact that, with all of O’Reilly’s claims that he doesn’t buy into the birther movement, he can’t bring himself to entirely shoot it down either, he can’t bring himself to tell his guests to quit friggin’ talking about it, and he can’t bring himself to be the true King of Talk Radio and say it straight: That anyone who continues to demand proof in any form of President Obama’s birthplace is “frenzied,” “unhinged,” “irrational” and talking sheer “dumb stuff” and “nonsense.”

If you can't view the Talking Points Memo below, here's a link.