The "Talking Points Memo" this evening concerns the billoreilly.com poll about Donald Rumsfeld (search) and George Tenet (search). Now we asked the question, should these two guys be out? About 40,000 of you responded, a huge number for an entertainment poll, and here's what you said.
Only Tenet should be fired. 39 percent. Neither should be fired, 37 percent. Both Tenet and Rumsfeld should go, 22 percent. Only Rumsfeld, 3 percent.
So here's the analysis. Overwhelmingly, "Factor" voters believe George Tenet should be replaced, 61 percent. Rumsfeld is not wanted by 25 percent. And a third of the voters are happy with both men.
We have long called for George Tenet's removal. The CIA (search) simply has made far too many mistakes. It may not be his fault, but Tenet is in charge.
My problem with Rumsfeld is his failure to communicate. And as Paul Newman heard in "Cool Hand Luke." Virtually every Fox News military analyst says the Defense Department has made huge mistakes in the occupation of Iraq, but Rumsfeld does not acknowledge that.
"Talking Points" realizes that he may be silent on orders. Certainly any admission of failure will be seized upon by the Kerry campaign. And "Talking Points" also believes the Bush administration has decided that Senator Kerry is not strong on fighting terrorism and that the president can win re-election by simply staying the course. The Bush people feel it will do them no good at all to acknowledge negativity.
That is probably sound political strategy, but it does create uneasiness both here and abroad. America must win the fight in Iraq. Most people believe that. But we the people must feel some kind of confidence that that'll happen. Silence is not always golden.
Now last week, I told you my analysis of Iraq will not include second-guessing battlefield decisions. That's wrong in a time of war. I'm going to give the administration room to win.
But what has happened in the past is fair game because holding the powerful responsible for screwups that endanger the country is mandatory. Responsible journalists must do that. We must.
There are Americans who feel Iraq is an abject failure. They are wrong. Also wrong are Americans that feel the campaign has been excellent. It has not been.
But what's important now is that the Bush administration turn the tide against the terrorists. That has to be done, because losing in Iraq is not an option. If that happens, all of us will pay an enormous price. And that's the memo.
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Writing in The Toronto Sun, Peter Worthington said this today: "Whenever I return from an extended visit in the U.S., I feel withdrawal pangs because FOX News is denied access to Canada. With access to CNN but not FOX News, Canadians are being deprived. One needs both for better understanding, Bill O'Reilly's view of politics versus James Carville's"
Well, we appreciate Mr. Worthington's sense of fairness, a far different tone than set by its competitors at "The Globe & Mail" who routinely trash FNC. In fact, Mr. Worthington even took left wing G&M bomb-thrower John Doyle to task saying: "Please give us a break, Doyle's is such juvenile writing, that one wonders how even 'The Globe & Mail' editors tolerate it and so do we."
We do think Doyle is ridiculous but defend his right to be so. And we're sorry if some Americans wrote Doyle nasty letters containing obscenities as chronicled in yesterday's "New York Times." We immediately toss any such correspondence aimed at us, and there is some, in the receptacle where it belongs. No room for that. If you want to make a point, make it articulately.
--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