Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Talking Points

Bill O'Reilly: JFK, Ronald Reagan and Rick Santorum

By Bill O'Reilly

On Saturday, I was with Dennis Miller in Santa Barbara and had the opportunity to see the Reagan Ranch high in the hills of Santa Barbara County. It was surprising. The late president's house, very modest... just a few rooms. It doesn't even have air conditioning. So I was reminded that Ronald Reagan, above all, was a modest man who based his public policy and his life on common sense.

The election this year is a lot like the election of 1980, you have a Democratic president having trouble with the economy and a Republican Party trying to take advantage of that. Back then Reagan defeated Carter because he spoke clearly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Are you better off than you were four years ago? Is it easier for you to go and buy things in the store than it was four years ago?

Is there more or less unemployment in the country than there was four years ago? Is America as respected throughout the world as it was?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Obviously that sound bite is relevant today. Is it not? But the GOP's message is muddled to say the least because of the hard fought primary campaign.

Enter Rick Santorum who is making a major issue over the fact that religious Americans are under siege and they are. And now Santorum is criticizing John F. Kennedy who in 1960 said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. Where no Catholic zealot would tell the President should he be Catholic how to act. And no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote. Where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

RICK SANTORUM, 2012 CANDIDATE: That makes me throw up. And it should make every American who are seeing from a president someone who… who is now trying to tell people of faith that you will do what the government says. We are going to impose our… our values on you. Not that you can't come to the public square and argue against it but now we're going to turn around and say we're going to impose our values from the government on people of faith, which of course, is the next logical step when people of faith, at least according to John Kennedy, have no role in the public square.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: So who is right? JFK or Rick Santorum? Well, let's go to Ronald Reagan for the verdict.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REAGAN: When John Kennedy was running for President in 1960, he said that his church would not dictate his presidency anymore than he would speak for his church. Just so, and proper. But John Kennedy was speaking in an America in which the role of religion… and by that I mean the role of all churches… was secure.

The climate has changed greatly since then. And since it has, it logically follows that religion needs defenders against those who care only for the interests of the state.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: The problem for Rick Santorum is that he goes beyond defending people of faith and that's getting him into trouble. There is no question that the Obama Administration wants to impose secularism on everybody. Even going so far as demanding the Catholic Church affiliated non-profit organizations provide birth control and morning after pills to employees. That's an intrusion on a religious belief and Ronald Reagan would condemn it.

But Rick Santorum takes it a bit further saying that some policy matters should be decided on what is considered right and wrong in the religious realm. That would lead to anarchy because Americans are very diverse in their belief systems. If Santorum would simply pull back a bit and say to the federal government, "Hey, leave religious institutions alone, don't interfere with them", he would be on the side of the angels, pardon the pun. Because most Americans well understand that people like Nancy Pelosi have no clue that religion is protected by the Constitution.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: If an overwhelming number of Catholic women of child-bearing age and make stretch that from 14 to 50 or however older or younger you want to go, are practicing birth control, then there has… that has to be some message to the church that please don't expect employers and insurance companies to enforce an attitude that you have that isn't even accepted by the laity church-going people themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Unbelievable. So, according to the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, religious tenets mean nothing if they are not popular. I guess that Nancy Pelosi's theology, you take a vote on what is right and what is wrong. By the way, Mrs. Pelosi is a Catholic but an ardent supporter of abortion rights and other policies that are contrary to church teaching.

Now many Americans feel the church-state issue is not important but it is. Secularism is on the march in America. We are not a faith-based country anymore. In fact, if you do openly practice your religion you can be mocked in some circles. "Talking Points" believes President Obama doesn't understand the issue at all as evidenced by his guns and religion comment during the 2008 campaign in Pennsylvania.

Obama is an ardent secular progressive who believes the federal government should call the shots whether it intrudes on religious doctrine or not. That is against everything the founding fathers envisioned. Remember many early Americans fled Europe to come here to get away from religious persecution. In countries like England and France the government often told people what to believe and if you didn't toe the line, watch out.

Thus the founders wanted a land where the government would largely stay out of religion on both sides. No imposing theology but no intrusion on it either. So while Rick Santorum is rallying some Evangelical voters to his cause, he is making a major mistake in trying to link religious belief with public policy. If Ronald Reagan were alive today I believe he would advise Mr. Santorum against doing that.

And that's “The Memo.”

Pinheads & Patriots

As you know, actor Sacha Baron Cohen has made a lot of money playing a demented character called Borat, who runs around the world annoying people, kind of like Jesse Watters. So Cohen, in character for his upcoming moving "The Dictator," confronted Ryan Seacrest at the Oscars.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SACHA BARON COHEN, ACTOR: The interesting thing is, actually...

No, no, no. Sorry. You've got Kim Jong-Il. Wait a minute. Are we doing this now?

It's fine. It's OK for you? If somebody ask you what your name, you say Kim Jong-Il.

RYAN SEACREST, TV HOST: Have fun this evening.

GIULIANA RANCIC: Do you know how lucky you were that you were like the one chosen on the red carpet?

SEACREST: You think that I'm lucky? Is this a division of luck?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: All right. Now the bit was he spilled Kim Jong-Il's ashes on Seacrest, and I don't blame Seacrest for being annoyed. In this case Cohen is a pinhead. All right?

O'Reilly Factor, hosted by Bill O'Reilly, airs on Weekdays at 8PM ET on Fox News Channel.

See the latest updates on the hottest midterm races from Fox News

Full Elections Coverage →

Keep up with all the 2014 races in

Coverage →