We are definitely ready for 2007. But what were the five, the five most important stories of 2006?
Number one has to be the deepening chaos in Iraq. There's no question this war has brought pain and suffering to the nation and divided the country. To those of us who believe that removing Saddam and giving the Iraqi people a chance at freedom was noble, the continuing violence is distressing to say the least. My analysis is that the Iraqi people have not done enough to combat the terrorism there and time is running out for them.
So that was number one. And it directly led to the second most vital story of the year: the Democrats taking control of Congress. While most American are not ideological, we are a performance-driven country. The Iraq War has turned some Americans against the Republicans. So, the Democrats now have a chance to make things better. They deserve that chance. And the presidency in 2008 rides on their success or failure.
The third most important story was the rise of Iran as a danger to the world, as demonstrated by the Hezbollah-Israel War. Iran orchestrated that using Hezbollah terrorists to provoke the conflict, demonstrating to the world just how tough and brutal its paid surrogates can be. The world, of course, is not listening. It is largely anti-Semitic and anti-American. But for those of us who recognize aggressive fascism when we see it, the prospect of Iran getting nukes and expanding its influence into the oil-rich Persian Gulf is off the chart dangerous.
The fourth most important story of 2006 was the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. With Judges John Roberts and Alito now in place, a more traditional approach to upholding the Constitution should exist at least for a while. Remember, secular progressives who want major change in America are using the courts to institute that change because they lose at the ballot box.
And that brings us to the fifth most important story: a trio of victories brought about by public opinion. First, to punish sexual predators who destroy the lives of children, Jessica's Law — or a variation of it — has now been passed in 40 out of 50 states. Child rapists now get harsh mandatory prison term first offense — good. The folks also brought down O.J. Simpson and his media enablers in a stunning victory for decency in America. Finally, the diminishment of Christmas, a secular progressive cause, was dealt a severe blow when Wal-Mart and other big retail stores reversed themselves and welcomed back Christmas into their advertising and marketing plans.
The culture war in America saw some important traditional wins in 2006, much to the dismay of many in the SP media. But like the war in Iraq, the culture war is still an intense fluid situation. Both will rage on in 2007.
And that's the Memo.
Most Ridiculous Item
We have completed our research into those who write TV criticism for the nation's newspapers. And we cannot find one critic who is even moderately conservative — not one.
Again, if you know of a television critic writing for a newspaper who is basically a conservative thinker, please let us know.
Over the holidays, I read scores of articles from the nation's papers, all of them critical about FOX News, many of them propping up our left-wing competition. From the Associated Press to the Baltimore Sun to the Denver Post to the Oregonian and on and on.
Most of them blast FOX News at every opportunity. Yet, we remain the most watched cable news outfit by far. "The Factor" beats all of our competition at 8 p.m. Eastern combined. But you rarely read that in the print press. All you see is vitriol regarding FNC, and that is beyond ridiculous.
I have never seen a situation like this ever. Free press? Sure.
—You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org