This might sound strange coming from me, but I actually like it when President Obama agrees to be interviewed by Fox News hosts like Bill O'Reilly. Not only is it good for democracy that the president is asked tough questions by reporters, anchors and hosts who don't share the president's views on, well, anything, but it also guarantees that opponents will be less likely to gripe about softball questions or non-aggressive interviewers.
It's too bad, however, that during Bill O'Reilly's pre-Super Bowl interview with the president, he decided to burn up his 10 minute slot by hitting four non-scandal scandals. Considering how every one of these topics has been repeatedly batted down by the White House and many others, they actually ended up being softball questions.
1) O'Reilly began by asking about the Healthcare.gov website glitches. You know, the glitches from four months ago and which have since been repaired. As of right now, 12 million Americans have attained health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act. That's three million newly insured Americans via the exchanges, six million who signed up for the expanded Medicaid program and another three million people who are now insured on their parents' policy.
2) Next, it was Benghazi. Of course. Sure, it's a shibboleth for the far-right, but maybe -- just maybe -- O'Reilly went there again in order to make up for the fact that he didn't say a damn thing when our embassies and consulates were attacked 13 times while the Bush administration was supposedly keeping us, you know, safe.
3) You might be able to guess what the next topic was. Not job creation, or the (rapidly descending) deficit, or the economy, or energy independence, or even immigration. Nope. O'Reilly grilled the president about whether the IRS non-scandal stemmed from "corruption" that began inside the White House. Never mind the fact that the whole thing has been debunked a thousand different ways beginning with news that the IRS also "targeted" liberal 501(c)3 organizations.
4) And finally, O'Reilly wrapped up with a question from "the folks." Was it about taxes? The middle class? Unemployment benefits? Cyber-attacks from Russia and China? Syrian WMDs? The Iran nuclear deal? No, no, no, no, no and no. The question: "Mr. President, why do you think it's necessary to fundamentally transform the nation that has afforded you so much opportunity?" Yes, a thing from five years ago is still a thing apparently, and it's not even a real thing. An honest interpretation of what the president said about "fundamentally transforming the United States" was all about turning the page on the Bush years and pursuing a legislative agenda that included healthcare, economic stimulus and so forth. Just because paranoid white people think it's all about taking their country away from them doesn't mean it's a worthy question for the president, especially during a short ten minute interview.
Considering how O'Reilly merely pandered to the delusional obsessions of his viewers rather than using his time to ask questions of actual substance, I thought I'd suggest some additional questions that O'Reilly could've asked the president -- I mean, if there had been more time and as long as he's asking stupid questions anyway.
1) Are you adding estrogen to juice boxes in order to turn children gay, thus undermining the institution of marriage?
3) Why did you invent the executive order to circumvent Congress and become a dictator?
4) When does Shari'a Law go into effect?
5) Where's the birth certificate?
7) Weather weapons. Care to comment?
8) Speaking of the weather, don't you think using a groundhog to predict the weather is just as scientifically accurate as "man-made global warming?" (Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) actually tweeted this yesterday -- and not in the form of a question.)
9) Do you plan to set off a nuclear device at the Super Bowl?
10) Solyndra, Fast and Furious, Black Panthers, exempt from Obamacare, taking our guns away?
Okay so that last question was gibberish, but, really, aren't they all?
Follow Bob Cesca on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go