Richard Clarke's (search) book attacking President Bush for not being proactive enough against Al Qaeda (search) will make Clarke some money. And the guy has some interesting points, but ultimately the truth is very simple. Both President Clinton and President Bush did not act aggressively enough in confronting bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Period. All the other blather is political and boring, in my opinion. The 9-11 Commission, which heard testimony Tuesday, can be useful if it spotlights things that need to be improved to protect us in the future, but if it's all about partisan finger-pointing, spare me.
Bottom line, I believe Clinton and Bush were both shocked by what happened on Sept. 11. Remember this scene? Sarasota, Florida when Andrew Card told Mr. Bush about the attack. You can't fake that reaction. President Bush was stunned as all of us were.
And at this point the important thing is which party is more effective at fighting the terror war? You can play the blame game all you want, but it's pointless. The only thing that matters is defeating terror in the future. If you really want a no spin approach, ask yourself this question, who do you think bin Laden wants to see win the presidential election? If you think you know the answer, vote for the other guy. That's the litmus test.
Talking Points believes President Bush has been effective terror warrior, although he has made some miscalculations, but his administration has won some big victories and has Al Qaeda on the run. I also think Senator Kerry would be tough on Al Qaeda, but I do worry about how much the far left would influence him.
And that brings me to my last point. All this Clarke business and the 9-11 Commission feed into the hands of ideologues on both sides. We now have the fifth column of so-called journalists in the elite media who no longer work for you. They're working for the Democratic Party. We documented that last night, and it's disgraceful.
Their rationale is that entertainers like Rush Limbaugh and other conservative radio people work for the Republican Party, but there's a difference. Limbaugh and his gang are up front about who they are. They do not hide behind a banner that says "all the news that's fit to print."
Journalists should not be trying to help political parties get power. That's flat out wrong. It's fine to support a candidate in opinion pieces, but journalists should not be activists. And too many of them are. Political partisanship is hurting America, whether it's on the 9-11 Committee or in the rapidly degenerating media.
And that's the Memo.
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
While things are so dicey in Iraq, commerce is improving there. In fact, there are entrepreneurs all over the place selling in-demand items.
Whoa! Look at that. Like every Iraqi needs the book. This kid trying to peddle it. I don't see a lot of customers there, but he knows a lucrative item when he finds it, and we hope he got full price.
Well, there you go. With "The No Spin Zone." "Who's Looking Out for You?" my latest book, hasn't quite reached Baghdad yet, but "The No Spin Zone" hot as a pistol.
Could be ridiculous.
--You can watch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Send your comments to: email@example.com