Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thank you for watching us tonight.
Well, it didn't take long for the far left to counterattack against the Reagan accolades. And that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."
Fearing that President Bush will capitalize on the emotional outpouring of respect for President Reagan, some left wing ideologues are venting long and loud. Some examples: our buddy [columnist] Robert Scheer (search) in "The Los Angeles Times" says, "Reagan allowed AIDS (search) to spread for the same reason he pointedly savaged programs to help the poor."
Allowed AIDS to spread? Is this guy kidding? No human being could have stopped that epidemic. And during the Reagan administration, $6 billion was spent fighting AIDS. Some of that money led to the discovery of anti-viral drugs. Once again, Scheer is ridiculous.
But it gets worse. An editorial in "The Philadelphia Inquirer" says, "The moralizing poet of family values had been divorced and was estranged from several of his children."
Is that nasty or what? Is that necessary during the time the nation is mourning a patriotic man?
And writing in "The New York Times," Clyde Haberman (search) puts forth, "(Reagan) administration's policies on public housing, job training, welfare, mass transit, AIDS treatment-nearly all dealt severe blows not only to New York but also to cities across the country."
This outpouring of liberal anger is predictable, but not appropriate during the week of Mr. Reagan's burial. The left is desperate to again regain power in America and impose a secular entitlement culture on the country.
Ronald Reagan opposed that agenda and was successful doing it. If Americans begin longing for a new Reagan revolution, the left is in trouble.
So the missiles are being launched. Predictably, Jesse Jackson (search) got into the act, saying, "(Reagan) saw Dr. King as a Communist. I saw Dr. King as an eminent theologian and liberator."
Now here's the truth. In 1983, some were objecting to a national holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr. (search) on the grounds he may have been associated with Communist sympathizers. Reagan had reservations about the holiday because of sealed records about Dr. King, which are still sealed today. Reagan did, however, sign the holiday into law, as you may know.
While it is certainly true that some conservative commentators have canonized Ronald Reagan and are using his legacy to justify right wing positions, there's no excuse for inappropriate overreaction.
Most Americans believe Ronald Reagan was a good man who did good things for his country. But to the bomb-throwers on the left, respecting the achievements of Ronald Reagan simply cannot be allowed to happen. Ideology, after all, is what matters. Anyone who opposes government-funded entitlements and high tax burdens for the affluent could not possibly be a worthy person.
Well, here's some advice for liberal thinking Americans. Stop the demonizing. You'll not persuade anyone if you come across as fanatical and dishonest. And that's where the far left is taking the debate.
And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day"...
A brand new survey from the Pew Research Center is out about Americans who watch TV news. And it's good news for The Factor and the FOX News Channel. Pew says: "Since the year 2000, the number of Americans who regularly watch FOX News has increased by nearly half, from 17 to 25 percent," wow, "while audiences for all other cable outlets have been flat at best."
And get this, FNC draws 43 percent of its politically-driven audience from the ranks of Democrats and independents, giving a wave of the hand to those critics who call us a right-wing network. But don't discount the conservative vote. The Factor draws more committed right-wingers, ready, than Rush Limbaugh, according to the survey. Ridiculous? Not at all. We like all our viewers, conservatives, liberals, independents, we like them. And respect all points of view, honestly held. If you're honest, we like you.
--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: firstname.lastname@example.org