Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 17, 2009

O'REILLY BACKS A PUBLIC OPTION?.... This exchange, from last night's episode of "The O'Reilly Factor," had to be some kind of mistake. It sounded like Fox News' Bill O'Reilly endorsed a public option as part of health care reform.

O'REILLY: The public option now is done. We discussed this, it's not going to happen. But you say that this little marketplace that they're going to set up, whereby the federal government would subsidize insurance for some Americans, that is, in your opinion, a public option?

OWCHARENKO: Well, it has massive new federal regulation. So you don't necessarily need a public option if the federal government is going to control and regulate the type of health insurance that Americans can buy.

O'REILLY: But you know, I want that, Ms. Owcharenko. I want that. I want, not for personally for me, but for working Americans, to have a option, that if they don't like their health insurance, if it's too expensive, they can't afford it, if the government can cobble together a cheaper insurance policy that gives the same benefits, I see that as a plus for the folks.

I guess he'll have to walk that back -- O'Reilly used to denounce a public option as "socialism" -- but the language seems to suggest something of a breakthrough.

Now, if only Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck would be willing to denounce O'Reilly as a communist sell-out, we'd really see some progress.

Steve Benen 5:00 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (15)

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Could it be that he finally got his head so far up his _ss that he can now see straight?

Posted by: dcsusie on September 17, 2009 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut (or vice-versa)

Posted by: wilson46201 on September 17, 2009 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Just more evidence that they don't know what a "public option" is and they don't care. They know Obama is for it, so they must be against it.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on September 17, 2009 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with Quaker. If one listens to the right-wing nut jobs actually explain what they would accept it sounds a lot like what Obama is actually proposing. But they are so committed to defeating Obama and demonizing anything he says they don't care.

Posted by: thorin-1 on September 17, 2009 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

So call it the "Fox News Option."

Posted by: Christopher on September 17, 2009 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

We could probably have a single-payer system if we can just figure out to make the GOP think it was *their* idea.

Posted by: Speed on September 17, 2009 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

O'reilly, at base, has always struck me as supremely egotistical rather than merely corrupt and dishonest, though those qualities are unavoidable symptoms of egotism. I believe he likes to think of himself, and be thought of by others, as a pragmatic freethinking independent, and the obvious rationale for the public option probably appeals to that part of him - plus it bolsters his "reputation" for being "fair and balanced." He may very well stand by these words, and, given the number of people who get their news from him, that could have a signifigant impact on the debate.

Posted by: Jason on September 17, 2009 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

When is the retraction and denouncing of any statements supporting a public option...... oh wait a minute now that it is off the table they will support one because now the Repugs thought it up and got it passed. What a load of CRAP!

Posted by: abc55 on September 17, 2009 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

"O'REILLY: ...I want, not for personally for me, but for working Americans, to have a[n] option, ... I see that as a plus for the folks."

Not for himself, but for the people who really work for a living? Well, at least he's being up front about his wealth.

And "for the folks", well, gosh darn him, that's just so downright generous of him to even notice that the rest of the world exists.

Such a sweet, sweet man he is. [/snark]

Posted by: Bruce B on September 17, 2009 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Billy will never retract his words. Instead, he'll lie and claim he never said them.

Posted by: Shade Tail on September 17, 2009 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

It's a signal. Means he thinks Beck and Hannity are going too far, and that there's market share to be captured. How many people actually watch all three shows?

Posted by: sleepy_commentator on September 17, 2009 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Quaker is sorta right--since Obama has lessened his support, they are ready to support it...now if Obama would strongly denounce the public option, maybe the rest of Fox would embrace it wholeheartedly? Then he could sigh resignedly, act all put out, and agree to a compromise bill that contains a public option.

Might work.

Posted by: KathyF on September 18, 2009 at 3:27 AM | PERMALINK

I guess I'll have to watch the clip, but my guess is he's starting to lose too much market share by hanging out with the wing nutzz.

Posted by: Glen on September 18, 2009 at 4:46 AM | PERMALINK

I think that he's actually supporting the idea of an insurance exchange here. Even without a public option, the exchanges would be government regulating (or cobbling together) insurance policies so that individuals would have a greater amount of choice.

If you can have an honest policy discussion with a conservative, you'll probably find that they are against the public option but have no problem with the insurance exchanges.

Posted by: Ben on September 18, 2009 at 6:21 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans are probably against granting the government authority to allocate fair housing, food and clothing too so winning this fight is just a first step in the right... no, I mean the correct direction.

Posted by: Joe on September 18, 2009 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK
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