Will the Liberal Strategy to Gain Power Succeed?

This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, December 1, 2003.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST:  Now for the top story tonight.  Will the liberal strategy to gain power succeed?  Joining us now from Los Angeles is Tammy Bruce (search), the author of the  book The Death of Right and Wrong.  And she is a FOX News contributor.  Also here in the studio, Katrina vanden Heuvel (search), the editor of The Nation, a liberal magazine.

All right, Ms. Vanden Heuvel, is this strategy on the left going to succeed?

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, THE NATION, EDITOR:  I hope it does, because if it does, America will be a safer, healthier, better educated, more secure society.

O'REILLY:  I know you're...

VANDEN HEUVEL:  And you know what?  George Bush ran as a uniter.  He has divided this country in unprecedented ways.  At that meeting, and there are   millions of meetings like that going on around this country, not just Hollywood, but Republicans and centrists are coming.  What Bush has done, he has united progressives.

O'REILLY:  Well, I agree with you.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  People wouldn't have understood.  So you have now the beginnings of a progressive infrastructure.

O'REILLY:  Your magazine's up 50 percent, right?  In certain...

VANDEN HEUVEL:  The Nation's circulation is up 50 percent...

O'REILLY:  Absolutely.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  ...but that's not just because of George Bush.  That is because of a sense that the core American values of the decency, fairness, equality, opportunity and accountability have...

O'REILLY:  Then why are only 20 percent of Americans liberals, then?

VANDEN HEUVEL:  ...been distorted by -- no, the progressive values of this country rank much higher.

O'REILLY:  All right.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  The tax cut that George Bush rammed...

O'REILLY:  No, no, no...

VANDEN HEUVEL:  ...down this country's throat.

O'REILLY:  ...look, they do a poll, Ms. vanden Heuvel...

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Not what Americans wanted.  If they wanted health care, they  wanted education for their kids.

O'REILLY:  Look, okay, speeches are fine.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Let us hope President Bush...

O'REILLY:  You're a journalist.  You deal in facts.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  ...is unseated in 2004 because America will be a better place for it.

O'REILLY:  Okay, good.  Yes.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  But more important...

O'REILLY:  I'm going to stop you...

VANDEN HEUVEL:  ...as someone who believes in democracy...

O'REILLY:  ...Ms. vanden Heuvel, I'm going to stop you now because your speech is lost on this audience.  They know you're an ideologue.  We don't care that you have a speech prepared.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  You don't like to hear from anyone who disagrees with you.

O'REILLY:  No, I don't disagree with you at all.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Mr. O'Reilly, don't you believe in the marketplace of ideas?

O'REILLY:  You won't answer the question.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  This country is better and more democratic.

O'REILLY:  Ms. Vanden Heuvel...

VANDEN HEUVEL:  It's not just the right wing dominating our airwaves, our media, our national debate.

O'REILLY:  This is an incredibly boring diatribe you're going through.  This is incredibly boring.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  But then you do it on Fox every night, Mr. O'Reilly.

O'REILLY:  No, I don't do this every night at all.  I'm trying to get to the bottom of a question.  And we'll get to Ms. Bruce in a moment.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Let us hope the liberal strategy...

O'REILLY:  But here's the deal.  What you just said...

VANDEN HEUVEL:  ...has some potency.

O'REILLY:  ...is the perfect example of spin.  You spun it.  You had a rehearsed speech.   You came in and you regurgitated it.  The audience knows it.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  I believe in the politics of passion and principle.

O'REILLY:  Twenty percent of Americans say they're liberal.  If what you said were true, 80 percent would.  There's a problem with the liberals.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  There's a problem because people don't see...

O'REILLY:  So let's go to Ms. Bruce.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  ...their views reflected on media.

O'REILLY:  Yes, I know.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  And they don't know that there are views out there that are just distorted by the media, that aren't even shared with them.

O'REILLY:  All right, Ms. -- let's get to Ms. Bruce.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Polls show Americans want universal health care.

TAMMY BRUCE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  I'd love to pipe in here.

O'REILLY:  Yes, and I'm going to have to cut Katrina's mike if she's go more.

BRUCE:  Please, please.  That would be a FOX touch.

O'REILLY:  Go ahead.

BRUCE:  Well, first of all, let me say as a Democrat and as a feminist and as a progressive, and as an openly gay woman, I also have an investment in  progressive politics.  And the reality is that once you have -- you've got FOX News, you've got talk radio, and you have the Internet, has finally been a way to show the American people that this stranglehold on mass media and entertainment, which is controlled by the far left and liberals is not necessarily indicative of the fact that everyone is thinking the same, that Americans do care about the information.  They do like what George W. Bush is doing.  And what Ms. vanden Heuvel has shown is that, and what they normally keep complete control of is that you can have a speech like that, and usually, whether it be on  David Letterman or any other kind of television program or The View or  anywhere else, you're not going to hear a rebuttal.

O'REILLY:  No, they'll let it go.

BRUCE:  And what they can't stand...

O'REILLY:  But look, Ms. Vanden Heuvel is right when she says that there is a polarization in the country right now.  She's wrong when she says most  Americans agree with her.  They don't.  And the polls show that.

BRUCE:  No, they don't.

O'REILLY:  The polls show that President Bush's approval rating is well over 50 percent.  So Ms. Vanden Heuvel was spinning and engaging in propaganda.  But I'm going to come back to you in a moment to be fair.  But what you're saying, and you're a Democrat, is that...

BRUCE:  I am.

O'REILLY:  ...is that the liberal basis of they can't get their message out is a bunch of bunk.

BRUCE:  Well, it's because -- one of the problems is, in this meeting tomorrow night here in Los Angeles is called the Hate Bush event.

O'REILLY:  Well, no, it's not.

BRUCE:  And the problem is...

O'REILLY:  No, no, it isn't.  That's wrong.

BRUCE:  You know...

O'REILLY:  That's erroneous reporting.  I had the guy on who's organizing it.  That got out from one nut.  It's not a "Hate Bush" event.

BRUCE:  Well...

O'REILLY:  It is a let's get him out of power event.

BRUCE:  Here's what I can tell you with the phone calls I've been getting is that while they may not be calling that officially, that's what the gathering is based in.

O'REILLY:  Well, I'm sure most of them dislike Bush.

BRUCE:  And the problem that I have that I worry about is the Democrats that are doing that, they're hoping that Americans are going to vote against  George W. Bush and for Democrats out of an emotional basis.  And there are no new ideas coming out of the Democratic party.  They're not meeting to discuss  the future or progressive benefits for this nation.  They're talking about how to try to make Americans hate this president.


BRUCE:  And it is also about seeing how Fox News and the complaints about alternative media is so dangerous because these are elements that are reminding Americans that there are  different ways to think about politics.

O'REILLY:  OK.  Look, I'm more sympathetic to your point of view.  But I certainly got to -- and I've got to come back to Ms. Vanden Heuvel for a minute.  But I still haven't got a straight answer.  And I'm going to ask you both this to wrap it up.  Is the strategy going to work?

Now look, Ms. Bruce is a liberal woman.  All right?  She is a Democrat.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Let's not engage in categories.

O'REILLY:  Right?  And she -- no, but she doesn't agree with you.  So don't give me this supercilious attitude that...

VANDEN HEUVEL:  I don't think everyone should agree with me, Bill.  And I don't think everyone should agree with you.  I think there should be a marketplace of ideas in this country that reflects the full range...

O'REILLY:  And there is.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  We have unfulfilled democracy.

O'REILLY:  And there is.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  There isn't.  There isn't.  Where do you hear the full range of views in this country?

O'REILLY:  Everywhere.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Where do you hear those who want universal health care?

BRUCE:  Not in "The Nation," I'll tell you.

O'REILLY:  Wait, Ms. Bruce, let her finish.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  The Nation has...

O'REILLY:  Look, you've got NPR, you've got FOX News, you've got CNN, you've got The New York Times, you've got every point of view expressed.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Oh, we have...

O'REILLY:  Every one.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  That is just not true.

O'REILLY:  Yes, except -- come on.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  And you know what?  We are now seeing the beginnings of a progressive infrastructure.  You have "Move On," which is going to hold this administration accountable.

O'REILLY:  It's an Internet thing.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Which The Nation does, but this media operation doesn't.  We need a full-fledged airing of views...

O'REILLY:  All right.  I only have a minute left.  So you believe this strategy is going to work?

VANDEN HEUVEL:  And you know what?  I believe that if it does, we will have a greater country for it.

O'REILLY:  I know.  Every -- all the problems are going to be solved, just like they were under eight years of Mr. Clinton.  All the problems were solved, yes.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  George Bush has squandered our future.

O'REILLY:  Squandered our future, I know.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  And he is the great pretender.

O'REILLY:  All right.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  He campaigned as a compassionate conservative.

O'REILLY:  Let's give Ms. Bruce the last word.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  And we (unintelligible.)

O'REILLY:  Let's give -- be polite here.  Go ahead, Ms. Bruce.  Now look, please answer my question.

BRUCE:  Sure.

O'REILLY:  Is the strategy, the Hollywood left allying itself with the DNC, with George Soros (search) and moveon.org, and all of these -- is it going to work? Go.

BRUCE:  I don't think so in the end, because they underestimate the  president.  They're underestimating the intelligence of the American people.  It's going to take more than just hating George W. Bush.  It's going to take some ideas.  And here's Ms. vanden Heuvel complaining about FOX News.  Look who you've got on your program.

O'REILLY:  Yes, but we always knew that.  She knows that.  She's always welcome here and so are you.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Well, I think your audience knows, too.

O'REILLY:  All right, ladies, thank very much.  We appreciate you coming in.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Thank you, Bill.

O'REILLY:  And we will have a report on that meeting tomorrow night.  We have a mole.  So we'll tell everybody what happens.

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