Tuesday, February 8, 2011

President Obama and Bill O'Reilly (Part Two!)

Last night on the “O’Reilly Factor”, Bill continued his interview with President Obama which was not shown on the live broadcast prior to the Super Bowl.  As with the previous post I will go over this question by question, answer by answer, and give you my impressions. As before, the questions and answer will be paraphrased for brevity. If you want to watch the interview, click here.

Q: Are you confident that we’re going to win in Afghanistan? Is it worth the blood and treasure to the American people?
A: Yes, we will defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban. I’m not 100% certain, but our troops have done an incredible amount of work, and they are on the offensive. The Taliban are still going to be an element in Afghanistan, as long as they lay down their arms and become part of the political process.
Q: Do you trust Karzai?
A: I trust he cares about his country and the relationship with the US. But he has some changes that he has to make in his government.

Can this guy be a little more willy-nilly about Afghanistan? This is his war now. Yes, it was stared under President Bush, but Obama has made it a focus by firing McCrystal, by hiring Peterus, and moving 30,000 more troops into the region. This is the time for clarity of vision. We have people dying over there to help establish a democracy or at least move them away from radical Muslim control. The Commander in Chief cannot be seen as weak or indecisive.

Q: At the end of the year, we’ll have most of the troops out of Iraq. Now Sadr shows up. He is an Iranian guy; do you see them trying to dominate Iraq?
A: No, I don’t. Iraq has democracy now and wants to keep it. You have factions, just like here, and they haven’t taken up arms. Sadrist have a voice in the government.
Q: I’m worried about Iran stating to stir up trouble so they can influence things in Iraq.
A: Iran is a big neighbor and there will be a relationship between these two countries. Iraq will maintain a strong partnership with the US.

Obama seems to dismiss the very real potential of Iran trying to destabilize Iraq. Sadr gets his support and arms from the Iranians, that is a proven fact. He has also made several attempts to stir up troubles in Iraq with his Sadr’s Army, this is also a proven fact. Sadr has spent considerable amount of time in Iran, again, a proven fact. To dismiss this as a minor concern, as Obama seemed to do, is burying your head in the sand and hoping he gets run over by a bus or something. Iran itself poses a huge threat to Iraq. During the Iraq-Iran war, Saddam used chemical weapons against Iran. Does anyone really think the Iranian leadership is just going to forget about that? During the 10 year war, Iraq was able to hold their own against a much larger country and Army because Iraq had better equipment and better training. Iran was able to hold up their end just due to their massive army. It wound up being a stalemate although it cost both sides much. Now that the Iraq military is a shell of its former self, Iran may think that once we leave, it will be time to exact revenge.

Q: I did not see an urgency from you in the SOTU speech about the $14 trillion dollar debt. Most economist feel if we continue to rack up the debt, the dollar will collapse. Why no urgency?
A: We are proposing $400 billion in cuts. This will get domestic spending to the lowest levels of GDP since Eisenhower. We’ll be spending less than Reagan.
Q: What about entitlements?
A: We are making cuts in defense and we need to tackle the long-term issue of entitlements. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, we’ll work with Republicans to figure out how to cut spending on that.

The one thing I would have likely O’Reilly to bring up was the round-about way President Obama talked about another stimulus to support the transition to a green economy. It doesn’t take a Harvard grad to see that during Obama’s SOTU speech that he wants more spending on programs that are supposed to take us into the green economy. He talked about the high speed rail, which is a $1 trillion dollar project (at least). He talked about our crumbling infrastructure (very true) and the need to get it fixed. The cost to fix the infrastructure is going to be staggering. The $400 billion in cuts he proposes isn’t going to cover the costs of these initiatives, not even close.

Q: I thought you gave a great speech in Arizona.
A: Thanks.
Q: I don’t think people have responded to that. Civility in the media and politics continues to go downhill. How much damage do you believe the media is doing by participating in this rancor?
A: I don’t think it helps. Over the long term it makes it harder for the sensible center to get together to solve problems. Both sides are going to have to make compromises to make this all work. Nobody reports on civil conversations, only the arguments and rhetoric.
Q: What can FNC do better?
A: Give the people the facts. Let people know that only 12% of the budget is discretionary spending, the rest is wrapped up in defense, social security, Medicare, and Medicaid. We can’t eliminate the budget deficit by ending earmarks and foreign aid.

I agree will O’Reilly that President Obama gave a great speech in Arizona after the shootings. He did well to handle the collegiate atmosphere, maintaining a somber feel that the memorial service deserved. But yet again, he missed a chance to go after the main purveyors of the hateful rhetoric. Why he insists on never calling out those that accused the Tea Party and Palin for instigating the shooting continues to baffle me. One little comment from our President would put the brakes on the hateful talk that comes from the leftist main stream media.

Q: Do you think FNC treats you fairly?
A: I would say yes, but you guys have a certain viewpoint. There is a history of all news having some sort of point of view.
Q: Do you respect it?
A: Absolutely
This had to have the leftis media all a-twitter. In fact, the left went nuts.  At least he acknowledges the bias that is out there. The MSN media and dedicated leftist sites make it a point to show how FNC tilts to the right. Maybe so, probably so, especially in the opinion department. But when the other main news programs on NBC, CNN, CBS, ABC, and NPR are so far left, there has to be a balance. The American people know and want this. Why do you think FNC is the most watched on cable news? For the left, the questions that FNC ask the President, whether it be in an interview or rhetorically, gets their knickers in a knot. How dare FNC ask the President to explain how he is going to cut the budget and increase green spending at the same time. How dare FNC point out that Obama was once associated with leftist like Bill Ayers and Rev Wright. FNC asks the questions that the rest of the media either won’t or can’t ask and that upsets the left.

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