Forget Montezuma when travelling this summer, if you're not careful, you may catch a case of O'Reilly's Revenge. South Florida Congressman Robert Wexler caught it in his own backyard, and he can tell you firsthand what it feels like after Fox newsman, Bill O'Reilly exposed his principal residence in Maryland as if he were counterfeiting two dollar bills.
Yes, O'Reilly's film crew attempted to do to the congressman from Boca Raton what another film crew did to Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart catching him in a pair of shorts outside his home.
If nothing else, from this latest exploit, Bill O'Reilly proves that dumb is a four letter word. After all, if everyone in South Florida were to be excluded from running for office because their principal residence was somewhere else, there would be no one in Congress representing Florida. Does the phrase "snow bird" mean anything to Mr. O'Reilly?
Moreover, if this is Fox's idea of investigative journalism, Mr. Murdoch may have bit off more than he can chew. Mr. Wexler, the incumbent, a progressive Democrat, never tried to keep his suburban Maryland residence in the closet; he just didn't think it was a campaign issue nor should it be, especially in a week that saw the disclosure of 51,000 jobs lost in July alone.
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The larger question is — why is the news channel most often watched by America reporting on where a Democratic member of Congress hangs his hat instead of the fact that unemployment is at a four year high? Can it be because the Republican presidential candidate is, on average, three percentage points behind his Democratic rival in the polls?
Yes, and why, after it's been public record for a decade, all this interest now in where the congressman calls home, and that he's "not really living in Florida" as the Palm Beach Post reports? Does it maybe have a little something to do with the fact that Rep. Wexler is among the most vocal supporters of Barack Obama, human rights, impeachment, and one of the strongest opponents of the Bush White House with its tyranny of perjury?
In a congressional district in which Democrats outnumber Republicans by a margin of 2 to 1, you can be sure that this attempted O'Reilly Factor outing has been good for the incumbent's Republican challenger, a man, coincidentally, by the name of Lynch who, until last Tuesday, was only able to raise about a thousand bucks. Thanks to Bill O'Reilly, Mr. Lynch's campaign bank account has grown, and he has become a proverbial household name with high profile local media coverage.
What was behind O'Reilly's Revenge? No doubt, his panties were in a snit because Congressman Wexler joined MoveOn's campaign, and circulated a petition calling Fox out on what they consider Fox News' racist, and fear-mongering campaign against Senator Obama, but did Mr. O'Reilly really have to resort to such Rovian tactics in order to attempt political homicide?
After all, you see where Karl Rove's tactics got him — a Contempt of Congress citation and, oh yes, coincidentally, Rep. Wexler just happened to be on the House Judicary Committee that instigated that contempt citation.
Clearly, too, now that Obama is maintaining a small, but steady, lead over McCain, the indefatigable neo-conmen have decided to go after members of Congress thinking maybe the "con," in the word Congress, applies to them.
Now that we know about the role former Deputy Chief of Staff under President George W. Bush', Karl Rove, played in connection to the fall of a Democratic governor, Don Siegelman, how can we let a rank amateur like Bill O'Reilly usurp Rove's throne, and bring down Robert Wexler?
What's more, what everybody suspected all along, namely that the firing of those nine U.S. attorneys was because they wouldn't play by party rules, and that the Justice Department broke the law by imposing quotas along ideological lines, is common knowledge now, so why would even the most ingenuous among us think, even for an instant, that the O'Reilly Factor is the only one that would like to silence Congressman Wexler, a man who, after all, didn't send lascivious e-mails to congressional pages, take bribes, or use taxpayer money to refurbish his home?
Think about this: if, after all their digging, the only thing Fox can come up with on Wexler is that he maintains his principal residence near his Washington, D.C. office, then I say Diogenes can stop looking for his good man — we found him!
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