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Colbert & O’Reilly

Stephen Colbert’s previous fake persona was a parody of blowhard Bill O’Reilly. Who knew that the two of them could have one of the most sensible and entertaining discussions about current politics? Heck, I even agree with a couple of O’Reilly’s points.



  1. Diogenes wrote:

    An interesting discussion, this is definitely a year of angst against the system, Trump and Sanders certainly tap into the strong emotion and understanding that things aren’t working the way they should, and like Bill rightly identified they come from opposite ends of the spectrum.

    However Sanders is far from an insane perspective like Trump is, though he certainly is idealistic. How can anyone not think universal healthcare and education isn’t the future? It may be a tough, long battle, but it will come.

    Saying that it’s easier in smaller countries is a cop out, the amount of money pumped into useless tanks and fighter jets and trillion dollar spending on wars is something the US can’t afford. Not medicine and books.

    Wednesday, February 10, 2016 at 10:10 am | Permalink
  2. Michael wrote:

    Ah yes, the old Fox News false equivalency. O’Reilly (like many others) portrays both Sanders and Trump as outsiders and non-politicians that would both be inexperienced neophytes. Of course, this ignores the fact that one of them has spent the last 35 years serving as mayor, U.S. Representative, and U.S. Senator. One came from a family who struggled to buy things beyond basic living needs, whereas the other started his first business with the millions that his father gave him. Exactly the same…

    Even the policy comparisons are bogus. O’Reilly calls out the impossibility of deporting 12 million illegal immigrants on the grounds that the rule of law requires due process. That is, implementing Trump’s plan would require a Constitutional Amendment. Not to mention the logistic challenges of precisely identifying the people to charge and dealing with millions of false accusations. There’s also the question of whether or not it is even moral to break up families in the ways that would be necessary. And let’s not forget that this type of rhetoric DOES incite violence and racism.

    O’Reilly treats this as logically equivalent to providing free college to 325 million Americans. First, no. The vast, vast majority of those Americans either (a) already have a degree, (b) don’t want or need one, and (c) are not academically qualified to earn one. Consequently, O’Reilly is deliberately mischaracterizing Bernie’s policy proposals to make them as outlandish as Trump’s.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think that Bernie’s proposal is misguided and infeasible. But it is asinine to equate the two policies in any way. One is impractical and naive, the other is demonstrably impossible and legitimately threatening to the life and safety of law-abiding citizens.

    Wednesday, February 10, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink
  3. redjon wrote:

    One thing is clear, and Trump should take a lesson: European socialist democracies are either much smarter than we are, as they are able to better house, educate and provide health care for their citizens; or they work that much harder or care that much more.

    Or have smarter people in government AND business?

    Wednesday, February 10, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Permalink
  4. macbooks wrote:

    Hi, I’m a persistent lurker. I look forward to reading your page. While I can’t do a thing about the ongoing Trumpathon, I do appreciate getting a chance to laugh about it.

    Wednesday, February 10, 2016 at 8:29 pm | Permalink
  5. ebdoug wrote:

    MacBooks: You can read “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” and learn how scary Trump is. After all Hitler told everyone exactly what he was going to do and how ignorance of his base will allow him to do it. Hitler was basing his genocide after the Armenian genocide. “No one remembers that,” he said just 20 years after it happened.
    I just read a book where the first long book the author read at age 12 was RFTR. It is a scary title that is very easy reading. Debunked because Shirer wasn’t an Historian. Finally recognized on the 50th anniversary of its publication.
    You can see how the South goes along with Hitler/Trump by defunding education all over the place.
    The book is free on Kindle Unlimited or $9.99 on regular Kindle. My reading is on my PC where the Kindle is free, I don’t have a Mac

    Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 3:54 am | Permalink
  6. Michael wrote:

    Redjon, there are two big reasons why the things that work in European social democracies will always struggle here. First and foremost is scale. The U.S. has a population that is the size of several European countries. More people requires more management, which in turn requires more bureaucracy. O’Reilly’s exaggeration was absurd, but there is an element of truth: what works very well for smaller populations will always be much, much harder for larger groups.

    Second is the structure of the states. We have 50 semi-autonomous governing bodies that are designed to have a lot of independent control. In many areas, the federal government simply cannot say, “Do this.” Instead, they have to offer incentives to get the states to voluntarily comply. See the ACA exchanges and Medicare expansion as an example.

    There are other problems to overcome here, as well. But those two alone are formidable obstacles to building and maintaining a social safety net here.

    Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 8:11 am | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    Michael, the other reason why things that work in a single country often will have problems working here is that many countries have a relatively homogeneous population (religiously, ethnically, racially, politically, etc.). So something that can be implemented relatively easily in Norway may be much more difficult to implement in the US.

    But that should not be taken as a reason to not try. California is one of the most diverse states in the US, and yet they have been able to implement lots of potentially difficult projects (but some others have floundered).

    Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink