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O'Reilly Calls Out CPAC for Obama-Bashing -- Oh, Yeah, Like He Takes the High Road

Reported by Julie - February 18, 2010 -

"Bashing Obama" was the subject of Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points Memo last night (2/18/10) -- and he launched into a discussion of whether CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) attendees were wise to spend their time at the conference bashing Obama. "What has bound them together so far is President Obama," O'Reilly said, playing clips of funster Dick Cheney, chip-off-the-old-block Liz Cheney, Jim DeMint, ride-'em-cowboy Dick Armey, and Mitt Romney all on a gleeful Obama-bashing junket. "One-term President," "quit apologizing," can't sell socialism to "freedom-loving Americans," "they're intellectually shallow, you're romantic, you're self-indulgent, you have no ability . . . the most incompetent President . . . in our lifetime," and a lame joke by Romney I choose not to repeat. Making a distinction between policy criticism and personal attacks, O'Reilly said that the "personal stuff is cheap." Okay, yeah, O'Reilly may not be the worst on Fox at Obama-bashing -- but he's done it, or allowed his guests to do it, on multiple occasions. But let's give O'Reilly the benefit of the doubt, for the nonce, and see what else he's got up his sleeve. Oh-oh -- here comes Laura Ingraham. With video.

O'Reilly first bonded a bit with Ingraham, talking about how they've had talks over the years about "the personal attack business." Ingraham nodded sagely, obviously considering herself on the side of the angels with regard to the "personal attack business." Specifically mentioning Dick Armey, O'Reilly said that he believes "that's just foolish, it doesn't do anything . . . ."

Okay, before I go any further, I think we've got us a newly coined phrase in the right-wing circles: Satire. But the right-wing's definition of "satire" is a little, well, fluid. Okay, Rush Limbaugh was just using "satire" when calling people "retards," which is why Sarah Palin chose not to call him out on it (and Rahm Emanuel was apparently not using satire, which is why she called for him to step down). But when Stephen Colbert used "satire" to call Sarah Palin a retard, it must not have been satire, apparently, because it got a head-shake from O'Reilly -- maybe even a Pinhead honor, I don't remember. And the Family Guy episode . . . jeez, I guess Family Guy is now a docu-drama, 'cause its use of satire about some fictitious family member of Sarah Palin's wasn't really satire, and was therefore worthy of a slap-down from Palin and the right. (For the record, I, personally, would ban the word "retard" from our dialogue, but a little bit of consistency from the right would be welcome.)

And now, here comes Ingraham, trotting out the soon-to-be-shopworn "satire" description -- it seems it's also "satire" when people are engaging in Obama-bashing. Do we all get it yet?

"Well, I think that satire is needed, we all need a good laugh," Ingraham declared, " . . . But I think you make a good point, Bill . . . We know that for now conservatism is on the rise . . . people want more power back in their own families . . . On the subject matters that are dominating the debate, conservatives are winning . . . President Obama is the center of the 'Democrat' Party . . . he's the standard-bearer of what liberals . . . are trying to do . . . so you can't not mention President Obama . . . ."

I'm wondering what Republican "subject matters" Ingraham is referring to that are "dominating the debate." Last time I checked, "no" isn't really a subject matter and "hell no" isn't really a debate.

Responding to O'Reilly's argument that President Obama has ability, Ingraham said that she has "raised issues of competence" of President Obama, but claims to try to have a very "substantive approach."

Substantive. Really, now. Wasn't it as a fill-in on Ingraham's show that Tammy Bruce said Michelle Obama is "trash in the White House" - - and wasn't an apology from Ingraham non-existent? I also seem to recall a host of petty, spiteful comments from Ingraham following President Obama's press conference in April 2009. And it was Ingraham who couldn't stand to hear O'Reilly speak admiringly of Michelle Obama after the White House Christmas Party, asking him if he had eaten an "acorn cookie" last night. And, yeah, about that substantive thing -- anybody remember when Ingraham guest-hosted on The Factor, and in a discussion on immigration (another opportunity to bash President Obama) told her guest, " “Da da da da da da da I can’t hear you?"

O'Reilly did a little more bonding with Ingraham, saying that "you and me . . . understand that there is a line that you should not cross." Hmmm -- that little anti-Obama ditty by Ray Stevens, that O'Reilly was so impressed with that he played it on more than one Factor segment . . . surely that wasn't crossing the line. I know -- it was just more "satire." And Dennis Miller's attacks on our President -- on the "Miller Time" segment on The Factor -- are consistent (well, consistently lame, anyway). Oh, just more satire?

Moving on, O'Reilly said that the Republicans should show up and engage President Obama next week on the healthcare issue, and challenged Ingraham, saying, "You say no, you think it's a trap of some kind?"

Ingraham hedged, "Over the last eleven months this debate about healthcare has been going on . . . after all these months conservatives have won the debate . . . and so to go in with President Obama and sit down and hash it out . . . I don't see the political win for Republicans . . . ."

O'Reilly correctly pointed out that "it's not a matter of that," and posited that "it's a matter of persuading the public . . . ."

"We've already persuaded the public," Ingraham sneered.

O'Reilly argued that "they could lose that persuasion . . . I think the public wants healthcare reform."

Accurately, O'Reilly pointed out that President Obama will just go out and say the Republicans don't want to debate and they're unreasonable if they don't show up. Oh, yeah, President Obama will say that, and so will a whole lot of progressives. Countering Ingraham's "we've already debated enough" argument with "debate more," O'Reilly insisted, "there's no down side to showing up."

Ingraham, predictably, accused President Obama of engaging with the Republicans because he's "going to get a huge political win . . . President Obama is masterful at what he does."

"They afraid?" O'Reilly taunted. "The GOP guys are afraid?"

"They're winning on the substance; they don't have to worry about the razzle-dazzle," Ingraham said pompously. Good thing they're not banking on razzle-dazzle -- have you looked at Mitch McConnell lately? And what is this "winning on the substance" thing? Does "winning" in the right-wing playbook mean spinning lies and misinformation, such as death panels and seniors allowed to die in droves? Does "winning" mean a steady stream of "no" to anything that doesn't look like a flat-out political win? Does "winning" mean holding up war funding just to delay or defeat healthcare reform?

"I think they have to worry if they don't show up," O'Reilly concluded, and indicated that if the GOP didn't have anybody good enough, said they should "get somebody, rent somebody, hire somebody."

You know, the right seems masterful itself, at spinning a message of optimism and remaking history. O'Reilly may have pushed back nicely on this segment against rabid Obama-bashing, but it hasn't always been so. Hate to break it to him, but allowing his past guests -- including Ingraham and Miller -- to do the heavy-lifting on bashing the President doesn't exactly make him even-handed. And O'Reilly is the guy, after all, who suggested last April that President Obama is "selling out America."

So, everybody, remember the catch-phrase: The next time we harshly call out someone on the right . . . it's just satire.