So, on Fridays I enjoy reading Bill O'Reilly's column in the NY Post. Enjoy is probably the wrong word, but I am a bit of an intellectual Masochist and Bill-O is certainly skilled in delivering migraine inducing pain.
Occasionally, however, I actually do agree with Bill-O. He is not always insane, he does have a bit of a common-sense/populist streak that allows him to occasionally say something that makes sense. On these occasions I always feel a little dirty and disappointed as I am Much more comfortable disagreeing with O'Reilly. Plus, when I disagree it usually means a blog post.
So, you may imagine my disappointment when Bill's column from last Friday (yes, I'm behind) was entitled something like, "Give Obama a Break." I couldn't find the original title, but I did find the article reposted under the title "Obama Derangment," which is almost as good.
The thrust of the article is this, Bill-O participated in the wide-spread and ridiculous practice of 'grading' the President's first 100 days using, well, grades. If you read the article, you'll know, but to reiterate for the lazy (which I understand), Bill-O gave Obama a "B" in Domestic Policy, a "C" in Foreign Policy (not a big fan of the "Apology Tour" is Bill-O) and a "C+" for Leadership... whatever the hell that means.
Now, marks like these aren't exactly going to get you into Harvard, but I have to hand it to Bill, for being a guy who is Largely in the tank for the Republicans, and a guy who regularly speaks to Glenn Beck without murdering him, these are pretty good grades.
So, what was the response from Bill's audience? Well, naturally he got a lot of hate mail. One person apparently thought Bill had Lost His Mind (Only NOW you think this?) because "Obama deserved 'Fs' across the board."
Bill-O then goes on for a fairly eloquent couple paragraphs about how fairness and restraint are cornerstones of American Democracy and Society. It is a very good point. HOWEVER, one can not help but notice, and perhaps even point out to Bill, THESE ARE YOUR PEOPLE!!
Bill has made a Living demonizing 'liberals' and anyone else he happens to disagree with. He has Glenn "Obama is a Nazi" Beck on his show every other fucking day. How Unaware can you be? Seriously? You can't feed people on hate and intolerance for Years and then sit back in astonishment when they suddenly display Hate and Intolerance.
The thing is Bill won't change his ways, he doesn't see the need. He will just boggle at the intolerance of his constituents while he continues to rant about the ACLU and Code Pink and ACORN and whatever "Pinhead" he decides to call out that week.
Part II (Forgive me, this is a long post.)
So, this ties into another thing I was thinking of. While I honestly do believe that a lot of these crazies actually do believe the shit they shovel, they are, in their own way, in a bit of a psychological cage. Let's take Rush as an example. He has for years blamed every single problem in America on the Liberals. Now, this is patently false, but a) Rush Believes it (yes), and b) Even if he Decided he didn't, there's NOTHING he could do (except retire and live out his life in comfort and ease from his amassed fortune.. That MOTHER FUCKER). He has got his own audience so worked up over Liberals, that if he changed his schtick he would lose his audience.
I honestly don't think they can bring their own audience back from the edge. Take the people writing Bill-O. Bill did something perfectly reasonable (I Know!). He gave moderate grades to a President he does not like after a Very short period of time. Compared to the idiots out there calling for Secession this is ridiculously fair behavior. Now, did his audience respect him enough to give his arguments a chance? Did his audience just let this obviously ridiculous exercise pass? No, he, BILL O'REILLY, got enough hate mail he decided to write a whole column about Obama Derangement Syndrome. Now, given Bill-O I would postulate that only One hate letter (from a Republican) would be enough to set him off, but I suspect it was much more than that.
I'm sure that not everyone that watches Bill-O or listens to Rush or whoever is a crazy. But I'm fairly certain that there is a Large segment of this population that is Convinced that Liberals are going to burn the world down and use the bodies of the Conservatives to stoke the flames. And while Bill and Rush and Coulter perhaps did not Start these ideas they sure as hell are keeping them aflame with plenty of fuel of their own.
But you know, Fairness is the cornerstone of our society.