Bill O’Reilly Takes the Lead from Al Franken in the Nutcase 500

For awhile now, Bill O’Reilly and Al Franken have been running neck-and-neck in the Nutcase 500, but earlier this week O’Reilly took a slight lead through some bizarre comments on his radio show. Discussing a ridiculous ballot mreasure in San Francisco that ultimately put the city on record as opposing military recruiters at public schools, colleges and universities (it is not, as some have falsely claimed, a ban on such recruiting — the measure was entirely symbolic), O’Reilly said,

You know, if I’m the president of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium, and I say, “Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you’re not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead.” And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we’re not going to do anything about it. We’re going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead.

That more than beats Franken’s recent lies about his knowledge and role in the Air America/Gloria Wise scandal. We’ll have to just wait and see how Franken decides to trump this.

In the meantime, could Fox please fire O’Reilly already?


Gun, recruiter bans embraced. Mary Anne Ostrom, Mercury News, November 9, 2005.

O’Reilly to San Fran: “If Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we’re not going to do anything about it” (AUDIO). The Political Teen, November 11, 2005.

Howard Dean Is an Embarassment

Saw New York Governor George Pataki on Fox today. Someone asked him about Howard Dean’s comments to the effect that the Bush administration times the release of information about terrorists threats to disrupt the Kerry campaign. Pataki had the right response saying, “Governor Dean is an embarassment” and moved on. What’s the point of giving more airtime to yet another Dean conspiracy theory?

In a related topic, Henry Hanks points out that some on the Left, such as Al Franken, have attempted to soft pedal and revise Dean’s earlier airing of claims that Bush might have been warned by Saudi Arabia about the 9/11 attacks ahead of time.

Franken said on his radio show (emphasis added),

He said on the Diane Rehm show, “The problem about redacting everything about Saudi Arabia is that it gives, uh, it gives conspiracy theories some credence.” He said, “For example, I saw an interesting theory on the internet that said that oh, uh, you know, that, uh, the Saudis warned Bush about 9/11. Now there’s absolutely no evidence for that,” etc.

But what Dean actually said was,

REHM: Why do you think he’s suppressing that report?

DEAN: I don’t know. There are many theories about it. The most interesting theory that I’ve heard so far, which is nothing more than a theory, I can’t — think it can’t be proved, is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis. Now, who knows what the real situation is, but the trouble is by suppressing that kind of information, you lead to those kinds of theories, whether they have any truth to them or not, and then eventually they get repeated as fact. So I think the president is taking a great risk by suppressing the clear — the key information that needs to go to the Kean commission.

You have to think Karl Rove is still kicking himself that he didn’t find a way to get the Democrats to nominate Dean.

Al Franken: McCarthy-ite Enforcer?

Back in June 2002, George W. Bush spoke at the commencement ceremony at The Ohio State University. An announcement made at that time warned potential protesters in the crowd that they would be removed and arrested if they disrupted the proceedings. The Progressive was outraged citing this sort of warning as an example “of the New McCarthyism that is sweeping the country.”

So, of course, I’m certain you’ll soon see The Progressive decrying Al Franken’s violent, McCarthyite assault on an anti-Dean protester,

Wise-cracking funnyman Al Franken yesterday body-slammed a demonstrator to the ground after the man tried to shout down Gov. Howard Dean.
. . .

“I got down low and took his legs out,” said Franken afterwards.

Franken said he’s not backing Dean but merely wanted to protect the right of people to speak freely. “I would have done it if he was a Dean supporter at a Kerry rally,” he said.

“I’m neutral in this race but I’m for freedom of speech, which means people should be able to assemble and speak without being shouted down.”

The trouble started when several supporters of fringe presidential candidate Lyndon Larouche began shouting accusations at Dean.

Franken emerged from the crowd and charged one male protester, grabbing him with a bear hug from behind and slamming him onto the floor.

“I was a wrestler so I used a wrestling move,” Franken said.

Yeah, I bet you’ll see a lot of angry coverage about Franken’s suppression of dissent in The Progressive, The Nation and other magazines keen on upholding freedom of speech.


McCarthyism Watch. Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive, July 1, 2002.

Al Franken Knocks Down Dean Heckler. Vincent Morris, New York Post, January 27, 2004.

Al Franken, Dennis Miller and George Clooney Are No Arnold Schwarzenegger

Newsweek speculates on whether other Hollywood types like Al Franken, Dennis Miller and George Clooney might jump into politics given the success of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Maybe they will, but I suspect all three are unelectable.

Each of these three have both engaged in relatively partisan and frequently extremely mean spirited attacks on those they disagree with. This is in contrast to Schwarzenegger whose campaign platform seemed to be that he a) opposed taxes, b) supports lots of spending, and c) loves children.

Frankly I was a bit surprised at the conservative bloggers and others who embraced the actor while he ran what had to be the most vacuous political campaign that I can remember watching. All of those ridiculous stereotypes that Ronald Reagan was stupid fit Schwarzenegger perfectly. For someone who apparently thought about public office for a long time, Schwarzenegger acted as if he had never actually thought much beyond the fact that it would be nice to be Governor.

And the thing is that this is not actually a bad place to be in American politics at the moment. With an elite political culture increasingly addicted to the nonsense put out by the Michael Moores and Ann Coulters of the world, a good looking candidate who really, really cares about the children looks to be a winning product (it got so bad, that I swear Schwarzenegger mentioned “the children” even more than John Kerry mentions Vietnam).

The Moron Factor

So last night I had the television on for background noise because the wife and kids were still in Tennessee visiting her sister. I really wasn’t paying attention until I heard Bill O’Reilly launch into his hilarious Talking Points Memo trying to justify Fox’s lawsuit against Al Franken’s book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.

I should say that I can’t stand Franken. His book about Rush Limbaugh was almost as pathetic and annoying as Limbaugh’s own books. It is disturbing that people like Franken, Ann Coulter, Limbaugh, and Michael Moore can move so many books.

The title of Franken’s book, however, is clever — a bit too clever for Fox which is suing the comedian arguing that the book infringes on its trademark for the phrase “Fair and Balanced.” Not only is this a frivolous lawsuit, but it is a stupid public relations move by Fox. Could there be more of a whiney liberal thing to do than sue somebody who says mean things about you and mercilessly parodies you?

And Bill O’Reilly just compounded that problem with a ridiculous monologue that was laugh-out-loud funny,

The main point here is that trying to hurt a business or a person because you disagree with what they say is simply unacceptable in America. And that message has been sent by FOX. There’s a principle in play. Vigorous debate is embraced by us, but smear campaigns will be confronted. It is simply a joke for The New York Times to editorialize that fabricated personal attacks are acceptable under the banner of satire.

Mommy, Al’s using satire again. Make him stop!

You can’t try to hurt a business or person simply because you disagree with what they say? Then what the hell was O’Reilly’s campaign to get Ludacris fired as a Pepsi spokesman about about? Apparently O’Reilly can dish it out, he just can’t take it.

It gets funnier on the satire issue,

I wonder if The Times thought that Donald Sagretti was funny when he manufactured dirt to hurt Richard Nixon’s political opponents. I guess The Times editorial board would be yucking it up if their pictures appeared on a book cover accompanied by the word “liar.” Satire, my butt.

Just in case it isn’t clear, O’Reilly here is actually claiming that Franken is guilty of defamation for calling O’Reilly and others at Fox liars. Of course this is the same O’Reilly who called Franken an idiot. I suspect a judge in either case would find that each charge is true and therefore not subject to libel or slander statutes. (It’s not like you have to dig especially hard to find instances of O’Reilly dissembling or Franken acting like an idiot.)

And what would a pointless rant be without an absurd finish that cites a well known authority about how to deal with one’s opponents,

But once again, that’s not the issue here. The point is accountability. We are shining a spotlight on the haters and the enablers. You can decide if that spotlight is aimed in the right direction.

Talking Points cannot understand how people could side with the defamers and their pals. But it’s important to know just who these people are. For as Don Corleone once said, “kept your friends close, but your enemies closer.”

Okay, when you start pulling Godfather quotes into the mix, you’ve really gone off the deep end. The effect of watching O’Reilly deliver this speech was to question his mental stability. He looked and sounded like someone who was on the verge of losing it — and all because of an insult by a nobody like Al Franken. God forbid Dana Carvey says anything mean about O’Reilly!


The Best Defense Is a Good Offense. Bill O’Reilly, Fox News, August 14, 2003.