Too Early for O'Reilly on Today?

January 24th, 2006 8:17 AM

When Matt Lauer began peppering Bill O'Reilly with rapid-fire questions on this morning's Today show, the prime-time host complained "you're going so fast - it's 7:10 in the morning!"

Judging by his sub-par performance, O'Reilly wasn't kidding.

Oh, to be sure, in his very first sentence the No-Spin Zone-ster called the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee "pinheads." But is that much more than middle-school machismo?

When it came to the substance of the Alito hearings, O'Reilly's fastball had no bite. Said BOR in criticizing the Dems' performance "you don't go to his college club, and say look at this, he was in a club in college. That's just dopey."

The CAP issue was a loser to be sure, but one might say it's "dopey" to describe an alumni organization as a college club of which Alito was an undergrad member.

So what should the Dems have done?, asked Lauer.

BOR: "They should have spotlighted one or two of his rulings so everyone would understand what the objection was."

But with his next breath BOR said Alito wasn't a "bomb-throwing ideologue," adding "I've looked at his decisions and they're not that, they're not that on any level."

So if Alito's rulings were not hard-edged "on any level," what was the merit of BOR's suggestion that the Dems should have focused on them?

Talk eventually turned to Iran, with Lauer asking "what would President O'Reilly do about Iran?"

O'Reilly's answer was emphatic: "Blockade. I don't think boots on the ground* in Iran is ever going to happen, but I would blockade that country. I think the US, Britain and NATO could put a blockade on the country and shut them down."

Has BOR looked at a map of Iran lately? Iran ain't Cuba, surrounded by blockadable water. Iran has thousands of miles of borders with any number of countries where our ability to enforce a blockade is dubious, including Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Armenia, Turkey and even Iraq itself. Yes, a naval blockade could deny Iran the ability to sell oil. But how much do its fanatical rulers care about the suffering of their people? Assuming the government has a few billion stashed away, it could still import, via the long land borders, all the human and technological resources necessary to achieve its nuclear aims.

Give Bill credit for one good zinger. Speaking of OBL's truce offer, BOR observed: "nobody in his right mind outside of Jacques Chirac would negotiate with him."

*Pet peeve: I find 'boots on the ground' an annoying affectation unless the speaker is a former grunt himself. 'Armed invasion' or 'ground war' do nicely, IMHO