Jewish World Review Jan. 3, 2002/ 19 Teves 5762
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com -- BEST wishes for 2002, one and all-including the left-wing opportunists like Progressive editor Matthew Rothschild who claim a new strain of McCarthyism has scuttled the First Amendment-and I'll offer just two predictions before getting down to work.
The November midterm elections, which will hinge on the economy and continuing war, are likely to produce little change, contrary to historical results in a president's first term. Both the Senate and House are up for grabs: my bet is the Democrats pick up a seat in the former (although Paul Wellstone is chucked out of office) and the GOP slightly expands its majority in the latter. If that comes to pass, one can only hope that Dick Gephardt, his dream of ascending to speaker of the House evaporated, will challenge President Bush in 2004. That would be even better than John Kerry. Bush will have to abandon his nonpartisan throne in the coming year and use his current popularity to stump for Republican candidates.
The Boston Red Sox, under new ownership, will at least clinch a playoff berth, with Manny Ramirez busting out with a MVP-season and Johnny Damon stealing 50 bases. The Yanks, despite pitching woes, can be counted upon to win the World Series.
The next day I viewed The Falcon and the Snowman, that fine 1985 film that should've been a superstar-launch for Timothy Hutton, who instead, for whatever reasons, frittered away his career. Sean Penn, playing a sniveling druggie opposite Hutton's intelligent-if-confused protagonist, was excellent, although proving as a young man that he's as repugnant onscreen as in real life. More than two decades later, Penn's boorish public declarations continue. As Mitchell Fink reported in the Jan. 2 Daily News, the nutso actor spews a load of crap in the upcoming Talk.
Penn says: "I think that people like the Howard Sterns, the Bill O'Reillys and to a lesser degree the Bin Ladens of the world are making a horrible contribution... I'd like to trade O'Reilly for Bin Laden... This is not a man sitting on the toilet with a smile on his face. He's a grumpy, self-loathing joke. There's a long history of people capitalizing on the lowest common denominator of people's impulses, Adolf Hitler being one of them... These guys-Joe McCarthy, Bill O'Reilly-die like everyone else. And when they do, their legacy is one of damaging the spirit of good things, and they become rather broken, pathetic figures. And that is going to happen to [O'Reilly]."
I happen to believe Fox's O'Reilly has become too
big for his britches-and his self-portrayal as a
"common man" doesn't compute anymore, not with a
well-earned enormous salary and astonishing tv
ratings-but the newsman/pundit has done more for the
American public than Penn ever will. O'Reilly's
relentless pursuit of the Sept. 11 charities that have
delayed payments to the families of victims is heroic,
even though the mainstream press doesn't dare give him
credit. Likewise, his ongoing investigation of Jesse
Jackson's financial scams is a noble service; another
topic that the elite media won't touch for fear of the