Sept. 14, 2010 -- In his new book, "Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama," talk show host and author Bill O'Reilly examines the shifts in America's social and political landscape.
O'Reilly is the author of several best-selling books, including "Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity."
Read an excerpt of the book below and head to the "GMA" Library to find more good reads.
INTRODUCTION This One's for You
HEY, YOU! YOU, THE AMERICAN! You who believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This book is about you. No spin.
In this age of Obama, all that you take for granted is changing, yet many Americans have no clue. So I've decided to fix that. After reading the following pages, you will know precisely what's going on in the United States. Then you can plan exactly how to deal with the massive shift in the way our country is being run. Trust me, you need to know what is really happening so that you can make effective decisions for yourself.
These changes are not all bad, but they're not all good, either. Many will hurt you and your family. Most media people and politicians won't tell you that because they don't care about you. But I do.
Why? It's very simple: you guys have made me rich and famous. I worked hard to position myself to succeed, but you made it happen.
Without you watching me on TV and reading my books, I would be just another energetic bloviator -- perhaps teaching school in Miami or reporting the news in Dallas. I appreciate the fact that millions of you have contributed to my success, so now it's payback time: I will vividly chronicle the changes occurring in an America that your great-grandparents would never recognize today, because knowing the facts is how you can preserve the things you love about this country most -- the things they loved, too.
As you must know by now, it has been a great adventure for me to write five consecutive bestselling nonfiction books over the years, and again, I'm grateful that you were there right along with me on those adventures.
My previous book, "A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity," was considered my most personal to date. It is about how my life overlapped with your life and how my upbringing and experiences brought me to a place where I can speak to millions of folks every day. We had a lot of fun in Bold and we'll have some laughs in P & P, too, but this effort is completely different. Again, this book is about your life in America. And there is no more important time to talk about you than right now.
As you may know, each episode of my TV program, The O'Reilly Factor, ends with a segment called "Pinheads and Patriots," in which I call out both people who are doing good things (Patriots), and those who are doing awful, dumb, or evil things (Pinheads). Although the expositions range from the banal (dealing with Snoop Dogg) to the deadly serious (addressing the actions of world leaders), they are always about influencers -- individuals whose actions, good or bad, affect you. Research shows that this segment has become a hit with the Factor audience for this very reason.
To break it down so that even Nancy Pelosi can understand it, there are basically two kinds of people in the world: those whose thoughts and actions say "me first," and those whose primary goal is to look out for others the same way they would look out for themselves (a Judeo-Christian philosophy). Generally speaking, the Patriots come from the second category.
Sure, it's true that most of us are self-centered, at least some of the time. But how we deal with that reality defines whether we are a Pinhead or a Patriot. As always, free will prevails.
Sometimes, the evaluation of these people's actions gets complicated. For example, President John F. Kennedy did some great things for poor Americans, and he also handled the Russian threat in Cuba with admirable courage. But JFK was also needlessly ruthless at times and used people in deceitful ways. So the President was both a Pinhead and a Patriot. As you can see, defining his short life in consistent terms is very difficult to do because he was capable of both extraordinary good and incredible callousness.
Similarly, President George W. Bush is a challenge to define. He did a number of truly noble things, especially during his first term. His ferocity against murderous members of al-Qaeda likely saved thousands of American lives. His generosity in fighting disease in Africa also saved millions of lives, and that important humanitarian work continues to this day.
Unfortunately, the Pinhead factor exists for him as well, because the Iraq War was not only poorly planned but most likely unnecessary. Also, Mr. Bush's failure to aggressively oversee the economy led to rampant speculation and financial con games galore. The results were obviously catastrophic; the recession damaged the lives of countless people all over the world.
But this book is not about past Presidents per se.
In fact, much of it will be devoted to discussing the present occupant of the Oval Office. President Barack Obama is, perhaps, the most polarizing chief executive since Abraham Lincoln. Yes, opinions about Bill Clinton and Bush the Younger divided the country, but not in the way views about Mr. Obama have. Some Americans sincerely believe he is trying to change the fundamental core of the United States. You hear this critical refrain all the time: "When do I get my country back?"
The Obama factor is, of course, fluid. It is being played out every day in thousands of ways. For this reason, it is imperative that you, the loyal American, continue to watch and understand its impact on your place in America. Thus, the subtitle of this book -- Where You Stand in the Age of Obama -- and my mandate to take a hard look at the President.
On June 9, 2010, the world's most influential newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, printed an op-ed piece by Dorothy Rabinowitz, a member of the paper's editorial board.
The article, entitled "The Alien in the White House," made a devastating case that Barack Obama has little in common with working, everyday Americans. Ms. Rabinowitz put forth the view that the President simply has no understanding of you and your life. As a result, his leadership is based on theory, not reality. She also asserted that Americans are beginning to notice the emotional distance between them and their leader.
The op-ed was provocative and damaging to the President, especially in the midst of a brutal economy and the oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. The polls show Mr. Obama losing the support of independent voters and even some liberal voters. Is the President detached from your reality? Is he a man who lives primarily within himself? We will try to answer those questions in the following pages.
But this much can be said with absolute certainty about all national leaders: sometimes they are Pinheads and sometimes they are Patriots, as we cited with the examples of JFK and W. But when the stakes are as high as they are right now in America -- with historical debt and a war against crazy Islamic jihadists, some of whom are seeking nuclear weapons -- leadership becomes amazingly important. Let's be blunt: a Pinhead making a national security mistake could very well get thousands of Americans killed. And a continuation of out-of-control spending could shatter the entire economy.
Therefore, I have a responsibility to provide you, the reader, with an honest appraisal of your situation in this age of Obama. I can't embrace ideology, myth, or propaganda. I've got to cut through the fog and define whether socialism, corruption, incompetence, and yes, even evil are in the air.
So determining the roster of Pinheads and Patriots is a complicated business, as you can see, and I do not make these designations lightly. Nobody's perfect, but, in most cases, a pattern of behavior does emerge. And we'll be looking for the pattern together in this book. To get us started, I have two clear examples of how I determine P&P status: say hello to Congressman Barney Frank, and please consider the late Tony Snow.
Barack Hussein Obama -- Who Exactly Is This Guy?
MY COLLEAGUE GLENN BECK thinks that the forty-fourth President of the United States is a subversive, a man bent on changing America into some kind of socialistic nanny state that might, God help us, actually resemble France. Beck passionately believes that Barack Obama is a danger to everything Beck values. So Glenn has moved aggressively to challenge the President by using his daily radio and television programs to illustrate the radical stuff he believes is being promoted by the Obama administration.
Rush Limbaugh and many other conservative radio commentators believe pretty much the same thing: that the President is a force for pernicious change, a committed socialist in a two-thousanddollarsuit.
These guys pound President Obama into pudding just about every day, and millions of Americans are spooning up the dessert.
But I'm not so sure this scorched-earth strategy aimed at the President is good for the country. I favor a more surgical approach.
Yes, Mr. Obama can be a Pinhead, as we will illustrate, but all Presidents, as I stated, can be assigned a place in that category from time to time. Exactly what Barack Obama's big-picture vision is remains to be seen. It is entirely possible he doesn't even have a bigpicture scenario. It seems to me that the President is certainly a committed left-wing guy who thrives on power and attention, but I don't see him as Karl Marx reincarnated.
I could be wrong.
Whenever a journalist like me tries to define a President, the situation gets complicated. Accurate analysis is challenging because outsiders (that's us) can never get all the facts about what goes on in the Oval Office. I mean, I get interesting intelligence information because of my visibility on the Factor, but confirming the validity of it is simply impossible. In other words, I hear and see things, but sometimes context is elusive. Why did Obama do that? How could he have hired this guy? Those are questions that are often asked but rarely answered.
It is soooooo boring to hear Obama supporters bleating out approval no matter what the President does. And it is equally dull to hear the man bashed even for getting up in the morning. That kind of blind partisanship does you no good at all. The good news is, dishonest media like the New York Times and MSNBC are failing. People are simply walking away. The United States needs tough, fair reporting about President Obama because the man's vision for the country is so different from what he put forth during the campaign. Back in 2008 when Obama was still a senator, he was on the moderate Left. He was a guy who sought reform but not radical change. Since becoming President, however, Obama has emerged as a crusader for "social justice" and has rejected unilateralism overseas. His record spending and softer approach on jihad (he won't even say the word) have caused deep angst in many quarters. But there is definitely a method to the President's alleged madness, a central reason for what he is putting out there. A core mission of this book is to define that reason and put a Pinhead or Patriot label on it.
By the book's end, you'll have a pretty good idea into which category the President belongs. But be forewarned -- while we will be brutally honest, we will also be totally fair to the man. It would not be Patriotic to cheap-shot the commander in chief, especially because he's already staked out some solid positions. Two quick examples are as follows:
Speaking at a Town Hall meeting in the East Room at the White House on Father's Day 2009, the President said this to American men who father children and leave them:
Just because your own father wasn't there for you, that's not an excuse for you to be absent, also -- it's all the more reason for you to be present. You have an obligation to break the cycle and learn from those mistakes, and to rise up where your own fathers fell short and to do better than they did with your own children.
That statement is not exactly breaking news, but it is correct and badly needed advice in a country where 17 million children are living with their mothers in single-parent households.
The second example of the President taking a strong and necessary stand occurred on June 6, 2009, at the Esperanza National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference, where the President directly addressed the illegal immigration mess:
The American people believe in immigration, but they also believe that we can't tolerate a situation where people come to the United States in violation of the law. . . . For those who wish to become citizens, we should require them to pay a penalty and pay taxes, learn English, go to the back of the line behind those who play by the rules.
In this latter instance, the words are all there, but the deeds may be lacking. At this point in history, the border with Mexico is becoming more secure thanks to the incredibly expensive barrier fence and increased federal patrolling that have been put in place. But as the controversial Arizona law allowing state and local police to detain suspected illegal aliens who are already involved in a police matter demonstrates, the border/alien problem is still a mess, and the federal government must stop the madness or the states themselves will take action.
As you may know, the Factor editorialized as far back as the year 2002 that the National Guard be deployed to back up the patrol efforts. President Bush resisted that for years but did, after a series of grisly crimes in the area, finally order about 5,000 guardsmen to the border. Wherever they were stationed, crime and smuggling dropped big-time. I mean, come on, if you're a drug or people smuggler and you know there's a chance of running into the U.S. military, are you going to take the risk of being captured and having your illegal cargo seized? Not likely.
After Mr. Bush left office, the Obama administration pulled the National Guard back. Why? I don't know. No explanation was forthcoming. But then Arizona went wild, and on May 26, 2010, the President finally ordered a small contingent of the guard to return. The announcement said "up to 1,200" troops would be deployed. But that is far too few, is it not?
In making the National Guard announcement, President Obama, like President Bush before him, seemed reluctant. Clearly, his heart was not into having a military presence there.
But why not? The answer has to be politics. Both Obama and Bush believe that many Hispanic Americans resent immigration actions that target their brothers and sisters. And Hispanics are a fastgrowing voting bloc, one that gave Barack Obama much support.
So when the President saw his job favorability rating drop 12 points in the first four months of 2010, giant red flags went up. That's why Mr. Obama will not take dramatic action to seal the border with Mexico even though narcotics and illegal aliens continue to flow into the United States. On the Republican side, the Grand Old Party needs to win back at least some Hispanic support. President Bush understood the importance of wooing the socially conservative Hispanic voting bloc and did everything he could to mollify that group, including looking the other way as millions of illegal aliens crossed into the United States. President Obama has continued Bush's policy.
But the rest of America isn't buying it. Polls say that the majority of American voters support a tough crackdown on the illegal alien intrusion (about 60 percent approved of the Arizona law). President Obama sided with the Far Left, however, and condemned the Arizona legislature, explaining that he believes the Arizona authorities might practice "racial profiling" in enforcing the law. That, of course, is speculation, but the President has fully embraced the anti-Arizona point of view and ordered the Justice Department to sue the state -- a boneheaded political move if there ever was one. The President and his lawyers apparently believe that states are prohibited from passing laws dealing with immigration enforcement because that is the sole responsibility of the federal government. In fact, just as this book was going to print, and hours before the new immigration law was to go into effect, one of Arizona's own courts, under U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton, sided with the Justice Department's position, placing an injunction on provisions of the law stating that they "would impose a 'distinct, unusual, and extraordinary' burden on legal resident aliens that only the federal government has the authority to impose." This is the crux of the Obama lawsuit.
Fox News anchor and attorney Megyn Kelly believes that there is legal precedent for allowing Arizona to better protect itself against the invasion it is experiencing. But Ms. Kelly also points out that the lawsuit is heavily ideological and federal judges are likely to rule on what they believe, not what the Constitution says and what previous courts have upheld. Like the Bush v. Gore case, which was decided in the Supreme Court along ideological lines, this lawsuit will most likely produce an obviously partisan split. But just the fact that President Obama is once again at odds with the American people makes the story extremely important and compelling.
Realizing that he was lining up against the will of most Americans, Mr. Obama knew he had to do something, so he pulled out the National Guard card and gently put it on the table. As stated before, though, his heart isn't into sending the guardsmen there, no matter how small the number.
The blunt truth is that both President Obama and President Bush are Pinheads when it comes to securing the southern border of the United States. The federal government's primary constitutional responsibility is to protect the rights of Americans and keep them safe from foreign intrusion. Certainly, more than 10 million illegal aliens running around the country basically unsupervised is an intrusion. Ten thousand guardsmen stationed on the border would dramatically reduce the smuggling of drugs and human beings into our homeland. The soldiers would protect American citizens under siege down there and would prevent the brutal exploitation of the aliens themselves. It is flat-out disgraceful that the U.S. border with Mexico has been a sieve for decades. There is absolutely no excuse for that other than a lack of will on the part of our Presidents.
Sooner or later, a tough but fair assessment of illegal aliens already in the USA is going to happen, but nothing will be accomplished on that front until Americans are convinced that the border is under control. That could be a major problem for Mr. Obama going forward. Like President Bush before him, Obama seems squeamish on border security. Even taking into account the Hispanic American vote, I could never understand why our leaders simply will not do the right thing for the country. It's insane. Allowing illegal alien chaos is one of the biggest Pinhead policies ever designed, and the vast majority of the American people, including Hispanics, know it. Our prisons are full of aliens who have committed violent crimes against Americans. Just that awful fact alone should compel a strict illegal alien policy. So the President is caught between Barack and a hard place on this one. Yes, he's his own biggest obstacle here. He's playing to his Far Left base, who essentially want open borders. In the meantime, the majority of the American people want security and order. Along with national health care (which illegal aliens will receive, you watch), the immigration issue could wind up badly damaging Mr. Obama's political future.