Bill O'Reilly came briefly unhinged last night, but managed to keep himself from having one of his infamous all-out temper tantrums. I thought for sure he was about to start shouting, "Do it live! F--k it! Do it live!" Or something like that.
His victim was Fox liberal Bob Beckel, who'd actually spent most of the segment bending over backward to agree with O'Reilly. But really, it was going to be anyone who appeared in the "liberal" slot last night.
O'Reilly signaled early in the program that he was on the warpath against the filthy, disgusting, wretched vermin of the far left for their ongoing campaign to bring Bush/Cheney & Co. to justice for their war crimes. The flecks of foam were already visible around the corners of his mouth as he ranted:
Yeah, mistakes were made at Guantanamo Bay and other places while suspected terrorists were being interrogated. Every one of those mistakes should be examined. But those things happen in every war, by every nation. Again, the far-left press is treating America like a pinata, whacking it at every opportunity because they don't like Bush and Cheney.
Now there's an insane call for fishing expeditions to find something! that will lead to prosecuting the president and vice president. Again, this is poison! A destructive act toward America. Bush and Cheney protected America after 9/11 and they did it fast, so mistakes were inevitable. But they stopped the killing on American soil, did they not?
To his credit, President-elect Obama wants no part of the radical-left jihad to tear the country down. He says he's looking forward. And that is a smart thing to do.
But Talking Points despises -- despises -- those who, in the name of ideology, want to weaken the country, putting us all in danger. As loyal Americans, we owe the benefit of the doubt to leaders in a time of war, and both Bush and Cheney say flat out they did their duty.
[Clips of Bush and Cheney.]
It's also unAmerican.
Finally, all Americans want the economy fixed and their families kept safe from terror killers. That should be Obama's primary focus. Those who continue to run this country down, and divert attention from those things should be condemned by the rest of us. Condemned.
Now we're going to name names, coming up in the future, ladies and gentlemen. It's going to stop.
But it was at the end of the following segment, when he had on Beckel and Col. David Hunt, that he decided to unleash some of the ol' O'Reilly Rage on Beckel:
Bob Beckel: My last word is that we still have the fact that the general counsel to the Army under Ronald Reagan has made the determination that there was torture. And somehow or another, without punishing people who had, under difficult circumstances, had to do things. We need to get this clarified so in the future, people know what they're doing. It's legal or not legal.
O'Reilly: Bob -- It happened one time, according to that woman! One time! OK, Bob? It's not across the board! We're not a terror nation!
Beckel: I did not say it was. I did not say it was, and I do not think it was.
O'Reilly: One time! One time!
OK, thank you gentlemen, I'm getting a little emotional, so I need to pull back now.
Our national discourse is being led by narcissistic psychos. But then, we already knew that.
It obviously has never managed to make through the thicket of O'Reilly's coif, let alone his pea brain, that we're talking not just about whether or not a given act is torture but whether or not they broke the law. Last I heard, O'Reilly was big on the Rule of Law and Law and Order and that sort of thing. I guess he applies it selectively.
Prosecuting flagrant lawbreakers who violate their oath of high office isn't just about getting revenge. It isn't just looking backward. It's also about preventing future such acts by making clear that those who break the law will face the consequences. It's very much a forward-looking enterprise too.
But that notion would obviously make O'Reilly's head explode.