Bill O'Reilly: Is President Obama an Effective Commander in Chief?

By Bill O'Reilly

Not much new to report in Libya other than a Canadian general will take control of the operation over the weekend. President Obama has made it quite clear that he wants NATO to run the military action against Qaddafi.

In light of that, there is a new Reuters poll that asks: Which best describes President Obama's leadership as commander in chief of the Armed Forces? Strong and decisive, 17 percent; cautious, 48 percent; indecisive, 36 percent.

The poll also asked: Do you support or oppose U.S. allied military action in Libya? Sixty percent support; 40 percent oppose.

The poll is not surprising. President Obama does not come across as Gen. Patton. He is a cautious man. He took months to decide what to do in Afghanistan and he kept the Bush policies in place in Iraq. In Libya, he clearly does not want to lead the fight, even though he understands that Qaddafi has to go.

Since World War II, most presidents have been aggressive in the military area. Gen. Eisenhower, obviously. JFK faced down the Soviet Union and Cuba. Lyndon Johnson escalated the war in Vietnam. Richard Nixon dealt with China and the Soviet Union from a power position. Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter were not called upon to do too much in the war area, although Carter was clearly a weak leader, as Iran proved. Ronald Reagan directly confronted the Soviet Union and wore them down. Bush the elder kicked Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, Bill Clinton stabilized the situation in the Balkans but fell down in the war on terror. Bush the younger attacked Iraq and Afghanistan but got into big trouble doing it.

So with those men in mind, it's not surprising the American people believe President Obama is not a strong commander.

Now another poll: According to Rasmussen, 45 percent of Americans do not believe the USA should get involved in a conflict for humanitarian reasons alone; 35 percent do believe we have that obligation; 20 percent are undecided.

Now, this goes to American exceptionalism. My newspaper column this week, available on, talks about the USA as a noble nation. For decades, we have tried to do the right thing around the world. Now we're nearly bankrupt. Clearly we cannot take on wars like Iraq any longer.

But an American president should be able to persuade the nation that confronting evil surgically is a worthy endeavor. It's not all about us. If we can save lives without damaging our own country, we should do so.

But Barack Obama has not been able to make that case. So far his main focus is on shifting the humanitarian responsibilities onto other countries. Now that's OK. We need all the allies we can get. But if America is indeed an exceptional country, our leaders need to have that mindset.

Does President Obama? You make the call.

And that's "The Memo."

Pinheads & Patriots

Bret Baier visited Jon Stewart Thursday night:


BRET BAIER, HOST, "SPECIAL REPORT": I saw those shows. They were very good with Bill.

JON STEWART, HOST, "DAILY SHOW": I very much -- I get a big kick out of him.

BAIER: Yes, you do.

STEWART: He's very entertaining. You know why? It's like, you ever watch a giant try to catch a fly? That's what it's like. You buzz around his head. He's like [making buzzing noises]. It's fun.


Wow! Stewart seems to be comparing himself to a fly. That's pretty humble. So is he a pinhead or a patriot for comparing himself to a fly? You can vote on I already have.

Thursday we showed you Garth Brooks analyzing President Obama:


GARTH BROOKS, COUNTRY MUSIC SINGER: I'm sure nobody is more frustrated than him to complete those promises that he did, and I think he's trying his heart out. I love him to death, and I fully support him. And I just wish him well because it's got to be hell in that office.


Well, 85 percent of you did not like that analysis, saying Mr. Brooks is a pinhead. Fifteen percent believe he is a patriot.