Talking Points

Thunder on the Right

Last week we debated the tactic of Obama-bashing with a variety of guests. My conclusion was that criticism of policy must be made.

Obviously we are having big problems in the country, but personal attacks are useless. The point was made that vicious far-left personal attacks on President Bush hurt him, so President Obama is fair game. You make the call on that.

Well, those debates continued outside this program, and on Friday Rush Limbaugh spoofed me, saying this:


RUSH LIMBAUGH: I am Bill O'Reilly. What do you think of me? Tell me where I've gone wrong today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, he does say that a lot.

LIMBAUGH: Well, no, look, all I'm telling you is that we've got to give socialism a fair shake for the folks. I'm not going to sit here and condemn it like these really right-wingers are. We've got to give socialism a fair shake. And we here at "The Factor" are going to give socialism, even communism, a fair shake. We'll do an in-depth investigation. We'll report back, because we're not knee-jerk, and we are looking out for you, the folks.


I have no problem with that riff. Mr. Limbaugh is entitled to his opinion, and he's not alone in his fear about socialism.

As we reported, a Gallup poll says 36 percent of Americans now believe socialism is OK, including 53 percent of Democrats.

From the beginning, "The Factor" has criticized Mr. Obama for his socialist tenets, primarily that of income redistribution. When I interviewed then-Senator Obama on the campaign trail in September 2008, the subject came up:


BILL O'REILLY: You're taking the wealthy in America and the big earners, OK?


O'REILLY: You're taking money away from them, and you're giving it to people who don't. That's called income redistribution. It's a socialist tenet.

OBAMA: Bill, Bill…

O'REILLY: Come on, you know that. You went to Harvard.

OBAMA: Teddy Roosevelt supported a progressive income tax.


The question becomes: Is the president a socialist? Remember, the definition of socialism is that the government controls property and commerce. Does Mr. Obama want to seize your house? I say no; others say yes.

But there is no question the president wants income redistribution and more government control over things like health care.

On Sunday, Mr. Obama put forth that the feds should be able to regulate insurance companies when they want big premium increases, like Blue Cross does in California. Some conservatives howled, but 29 states currently oversee health insurance rate hikes.

Is that socialism? Again, you have to decide.

"Talking Points" believes that the feds should have some oversight on health insurance companies, but prices can be driven down if the companies are allowed to compete nationwide. Why doesn't the president try that before he sets up another Big Brother operation in Washington?

Look, these things are complicated. To call Obama a socialist or communist is oversimplifying the situation.

Americans need health care relief. There's no question about that. But it can be done using competition and common sense like tort reform, where lawsuits against medical personnel are scrutinized.

As we said last week, name-calling gets us nowhere. Good solutions to complicated problems will rule the day.

And that's "The Memo."

Pinheads & Patriots

On Sunday night, the USA hockey team defeated Canada, even though Canada outshot America 45 to 23. So that means goalie Ryan Miller made the difference.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...Back and deep. Nice block. Another shot blocked! Jamming, turning, USA. Jamming to the shot. Saved, Miller! Jamming away, a big pile-up there, and on top of the puck is Ryan Miller. What a stop by Ryan Miller.


For his excellent performance, Ryan Miller is a patriot.

On the pinhead front, the Toronto Raptors basketball team has a very aggressive mascot, and the other night things might have gotten out of hand.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the raptor having some fun with the cheerleaders. Whoa! Devoured! That's — that's wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tough night right there.


Is the Raptor a pinhead? You make the call.