Talking Points: Why Campaign Finance Reform Matters

Everybody in DC is talking about reform and that's the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo.

Bob Herbert, a columnist for The New York Times says that big money from the Vegas casinos poured into Washington politicians and a law prohibiting betting on college sporting events was killed because of the money.

That's probably true and sadly it happens all the time. Worthy legislation is often killed by special interest money.

So we need political finance reform and I believe we are going to get it.

But I don't believe it will do much good as the special interests and the politicians will find a way to navigate around the reforms.

Here's why this story is important to you. In the last year of his presidency, Bill Clinton spent a tremendous amount of time running around the country and the world raising money for his party, for his wife's campaign and for himself.

He ignored the energy crisis that OPEC heaped on us. He ignored the economy.

So now we have a disastrous energy situation in California and a recession — the layoffs are mounting and your investments are tanking.

The money diverted Mr. Clinton from doing his job and when the leader isn't paying attention bad things happen. I believe that right now many politicians spend about half their time figuring out ways to scoop up cash — that time should be spent making this country a better place.

The argument that campaign finance reform violates free speech is bogus. If you want to take an ad out making a political point you can do it. That's free speech.

But money under the table to kill a sports betting bill is not free speech. I hope everybody gets that.

Likewise the issue of the liberal media. Bogus.

Rush Limbaugh has the most powerful radio program in the country and the Fox News Channel is the highest rated cable news network — at least in primetime. We encourage all points of view here as you know.

The network news does have an elite-left sensibility, generally speaking, but its influence has declined drastically. The right is able to get its message out in a variety of ways, including the Internet.

So look for campaign finance reform to pass and for President Bush to sign it into law. The money will still flow into Washington but not as blatantly.

And that's the memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for the Most Ridiculous Item of the day.

Your humble correspondent was a guest on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, and here are some of the highlights or lowlights, depending on your point of view.


JAY LENO, HOST: Wouldn't people go, Hey, I don't want to do your show because of this question. Is it harder to get guests when you do that?

O'REILLY: Some people -- Hillary Clinton won't do the show, all right? No way.

LENO: I'm stunned.

O'REILLY: And by the way, is this the chair -- is this the chair Hillary sat in?

LENO: Yes, it is, now, what are you going to do? Yes, that's the exact chair, yes.

O'REILLY: I'm just shocked it's still here.

LENO: Now, what did you think of Dennis? Now, Dennis is a...

O'REILLY: Come on.

LENO: No, you heard...


LENO: ... you heard Dennis...

O'REILLY: I heard him.

LENO: Dennis was praising...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, eight years in the White House, all that work, they deserve at least a sofa, don't you think?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or a limousine, something.

O'REILLY: They got to -- if I'm paying for it, I want to call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't like that.

O'REILLY: Can I take the sofa, Bill Dennis, Jay? Just don't take it. What is this, Zambia? Is that where we live now? I mean, these people...

LENO: Do they take the furniture in Zambia? I don't know.

O'REILLY: They loot everything. I mean, I thought I saw Buddy Ebsen in the front seat as they drove away down the street.


That was a good time. Thanks to Jay Leno and his staff for having us in.