I've read several of the previous books by Bill O'Reilly including: The No Spin Zone, Who's Looking Out For You, The O'Reilly Factor For Kids (I'm still a kid at heart), Culture Warrior and A Bold Fresh Piece Of Humanity. I even read O'Reilly's only novel -- Those Who Trespass: A Novel of Television and Murder. And I watch the O'Reilly Factor almost every weekday night, either at 8pm, or the repeat showing at 11pm.
So you could say I like the guy a little bit. O'Reilly is a lot like me; a right of middle person, not influenced by the pinheads who populate the far left, or the far right ends of the political spectrum. Certainly he's not as far right as the man whose show follows his, Sean Hannity, who never gives the Democrats, or liberals even one tiny accolade, no matter how exemplary their actions may be.
In his No Spin Zone, O'Reilly tells it like it is, and woe to his guest who doesn't answer the question he asks and goes off on a tangent, or inane talking point. I had drill sergeants in boot camp less intimidating than O'Reilly when he's hot. Just ask Barney Frank, who O'Reilly filleted from throat to sternum, then down his flabby back.
Every evening, O'Reilly ends his show with a segment called Pinheads and Patriots. Some nights a person who had been a Pinhead in the past, now does something that elevates them to Patriot status. And vice versa.
O'Reilly begins "Pinheads and Patriots" with the definition of a pinhead by A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English. "Pinhead - a simple fellow, a fool. So small a head contain but few brains."
Then he follows with the Urban Dictionary's version. "One who lacks the intelligence of the 'normal' sector of the human population; one who cannot handle the most mundane tasks due to lack of common sense and intelligence."
Then he names names.
Patriot -- The late Tony Snow, who was a Fox News anchor, then later chief spokesman for the Bush White House. Snow died after a two-year battle with cancer. O'Reilly wrote, "Tony Snow is the bravest man I ever met." He explains why.
Pinhead -- Democratic Congressman Barney Frank, who O'Reilly lambastes under the heading "The Cowardly Lion." Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services committee, more than anyone else was responsible for the present mortgage crisis. Frank oversaw the disaster of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and even said months before the collapse that things were fine and dandy with those two mortgage giants. Yet when he appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Frank refused to accept even one iota of blame. He said he was a "victim of economic chaos." Pinhead for sure.
Since President Obama is on the cover facing O'Reilly, you'd think O'Reilly had him lined up for Pinhead-dom. Not true. O'Reilly points out several instances where Obama was a true Patriot. He cites the time at a Town Hall meeting on Father's Day, when Obama said to men who father children and leave them: "Just because your father wasn't there for you, that's not an excuse for you to be absent, also - it is all the more reason for you to be present. You have an obligation to break the cycle and learn from those mistakes, and to rise up where your own fathers fell short and to do better than they did with your own children."
Truly the words of a Patriot.
Before the Presidential election, Obama shunned any interview with Fox News, except with one person --- Bill O'Reilly. In "Pinheads and Patriots," O'Reilly gives us the complete transcript of his interview with Obama, which lasted about 30 minutes. Then at intervals, he explains how things Obama said in the interview either panned out, or didn't pan out for the President. He also takes Obama to task for not admitting he was wrong about the surge in Iraq. Obama admits in the interview that the surge worked, but stops short of giving then President Bush any credit at all.
The back and forth went like this:
Obama: What I have said is - I have already said it's (the surge) has succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.
O'Reilly: Right, so why can't you just say, "I was wrong about the surge?"
Obama hems and haws, but never once did he say "I was wrong." And as we have found out in the 21 months of his Presidency, he may be incapable of saying he was wrong about anything, except maybe about the White Sox winning the World Series.
One of the best chapters in the book is entitled, "My All-Time Favorite P& Ps." Without me giving away who's-who and what's-what, O'Reilly gives his opinion on, amongst others, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Andrew Jackson, U.S. Grant, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Robert Kennedy, both Bush's, Cesar Chavez. John Edwards, Madonna, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and George Soros. Some of his conclusions may surprise you.
On O'Reilly's website, the book sells for $27.95, but he throws in a nifty "Pinheads and Patriots" tote bag. I got mine at Amazon.com for less than 16 bucks, and because I have Amazon Prime, I got free shipping (but no tote bag).
"Pinheads and Patriots" is must reading for any O'Reilly fan. And even people who are not too crazy about O'Reilly, should enjoy reading this even-handed book too.
Unless you're a Pinhead. Then there's nothing I can do for you anyway.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
On Sunday, November 12th in Racine, I will hold my 1000th
Listening Session with the people of Wisconsin. Before reaching that
milestone, I want you to know that I've decided to continue my role as
Wisconsin's Junior Senator in the U.S. Senate and not to seek the
Democratic nomination for President in 2008.
Like many Americans, I am excited by the results of the November 7th
election. My fourteen years in the Senate have been the greatest
privilege of my life and I am extremely pleased with what we have
accomplished. During so much of that time, however, we Democrats have
not only been in the minority but have often been so deeply mired there
that my role has often been to block bad ideas or to simply dissent.
That is a very important role but I relish the thought that in this new
Congress we can start, not only to undo much of the damage that
one-party rule has done to America, we can actually advance progressive
solutions to such major issues as guaranteed healthcare, dependence on
oil, and our unbalanced trade policies. The Senate of the 110th
Congress could also well be a place of greater bi-partisan
opportunities for change; something I am very proud to have been
effective at in both Republican and Democratic Senates.
I hope all of you know how much I have appreciated the incredible
response you have given me and the efforts of our Progressive Patriots
Fund since January, 2005. In addition to all of our work in Wisconsin
and D.C., I have traveled to seventeen states trying to promote the
election of progressive Democrats in all states. At every stop from
Birmingham, Alabama to Burlington, Vermont, to Ft. Dodge, Iowa, to Las
Vegas, Nevada, people have agreed with my view that we need to stand up
for a strong, principled Democratic party that is willing to replace
timidity with taking the risks of promoting a platform of bold solutions
to our nation's problems. Unfailingly, people responded well to my
positions: opposition to the Iraq war; calling for a timeline to
redeploy our troops from Iraq so we can focus on those who attacked us
on September 11th, 2001; my opposition to the flawed
provisions of the USA Patriot Act that threaten the freedoms of
law-abiding Americans; my call for accountability for the
Administration's arrogant disregard for the law especially with regard
to illegal wiretapping; fighting for fiscal responsibility including
tough common sense budget rules that will help end the reckless policies
that have heaped a mountain of debt on our children and grandchildren;
as well as my strong belief in guaranteed healthcare for all Americans
and substantial investment in alternative energy sources and
Yet, while I've certainly enjoyed the repeated comments or buttons
saying, "Run Russ Run", or "Russ in '08", I often felt that if a piece
of Wisconsin swiss cheese had taken the same positions I've taken, it
would have elicited the same standing ovations. This is because the
hunger for progressive change we feel is obviously not about me but
about the desire for a genuinely different Democratic Party that is
ready to begin to reverse the 25 years of growing extremism we have
I'm sure a campaign for President would have been a great adventure
and helpful in advancing a progressive agenda. At this time, however, I
believe I can best advance that progressive agenda as a Senator with
significant seniority in the new Senate serving on the Foreign
Relations, Intelligence, Judiciary and Budget Committees. Although I
have given it a lot of thought, I cannot muster the same enthusiasm for a
race for President while I am trying simultaneously to advance our
agenda in the Senate. In other words, if I really wanted to run for
President, regardless of the odds or other possible candidates, I would
do so. However, to put my family and all of my friends and supporters
through such a process without having a very strong desire to run, seems
inappropriate to me. And, yes, while I would strongly prefer that our
nominee in 2008 be someone who had the judgment to oppose the Iraq war
from the beginning, I am prepared to work as hard as I can through the
Progressive Patriots Fund, and consistent with my duties in the Senate,
to maintain or increase our gains from November 7 in the Congress and,
of course, to elect a Democrat as President in 2008.
Most important, I want to continue my work as a Senator from this
wonderful State of Wisconsin. Our fourteen year ongoing conversation
that has taken place in hundreds of communities in Wisconsin in the form
of open Listening Sessions is the principal reason I have been
perceived as "ahead of the curve" on many key issues. Simply listening
to the reasoning and passions of Wisconsinites remains the best source
of good ideas and common sense I've ever encountered.
I love this country very much and am so lucky to be able to serve it
in the United States Senate. My heartfelt thanks to all of you for your
support and encouragement.