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Hullabaloo


Thursday, September 29, 2011

 
Bill O'Reilly shows off the GOP's Achilles Heel
by David Atkins ("thereisnospoon")

Close watchers of the news cycle may recall Bill O'Reilly's recent threat to quit his TV show should the fantastical event occur that his tax rate reach 50%. Well, Mr. O'Reilly made the mistake of going on Jon Stewart yesterday. Stewart predictably went after O'Reilly; but it was O'Reilly's response that should make some news. Here's the segment:

Part 1:
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Bill O'Reilly Extended Interview Pt. 1
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook


Part 2:


What's noteworthy about this interview is that O'Reilly didn't and couldn't stick to his guns on the claim that doing his show would no longer be worth it. O'Reilly admitted that he had been...exaggerating, to put it kindly.

Even more remarkably, when mocked by Stewart for his selfishness, the Loofah man didn't even attempt to defend the principle of "low taxes on job creators" in principle. He knew he couldn't do it with a straight face.

Instead, he said something amazing: that he would in fact by willing to pay 50% in taxes if government would stop "wasting" his money, and proceeded to raise the issue of the Solyndra non-story, as well as the $16 muffin myth. If I know Jon Stewart, he'll use Monday's show to rip O'Reilly apart for perpetuating a story that is known to be a fraud--and even if true, would represent an insignificant amount of money in the federal budget.

But O'Reilly's excuses are almost beside the point. The newsworthy item from the interview is that the Fox News host not only backtracked from his previous statement, but did not even attempt to defend his position from an ideological basis. He knows that the "job creators shouldn't pay significant taxes" meme is garbage, and couldn't stick to it in a mano a mano quasi-debate with Stewart. Instead he agreed in principle with the idea of paying a 50% tax rate, so long as the government could prove it wasn't wasting his money.

Now, when it comes to government waste and taxes, this is where a progressive naturally shifts to a discussion of billions, if not trillions, wasted on Halliburton and Wall St.. Which is, to be fair, exactly where Jon Stewart went and an important conversation to have. But the discussion of which Party wastes money and which does not isn't so fascinating here.

What is fascinating is that when push comes to shove, conservatives cannot defend their ideological ground with a straight face when forced to have a real conversation, rather than wage talking point battles before a pseudo-objective media. This is their Achilles' Heel. When cornered, they either look terrible and lose the debate, or are forced to admit that their ideological stance is garbage, leaning back on the "waste in government" canard.

But that itself is an admission of defeat. At that point, to paraphrase the old joke, we already know what kind of man O'Reilly is and we know he knows what the right thing to do is. Now we're just haggling over the price.


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