Jewish World Review August 30, 2004 / 13 Elul, 5764

Bill O'Reilly

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Night of the living dumb | No question that President Bush has regained some momentum in his quest to retain power. The Iraq war defense put forth by Rudy Giuliani and John McCain at the Republican convention actually silenced media critics for a few days, and the populist Arnold Schwarzenegger painted Mr. Bush as an effective, inclusive leader.

But world events have also helped the president. As terror rises all over the place, it becomes increasingly difficult for the Bush haters to diminish the president's own hatred for the "evildoers."

Iraqi terrorists slaughter a dozen waiters from Nepal. Chechen terrorists hold little children hostage and blow up two airliners. Even France was assaulted as Islamic terrorists demanded that country rescind its ban on the wearing of headscarves in public schools. At this point, it is almost impossible to make a rational case against an aggressive war on Islamic fascism.

The people protesting the Republican Convention also helped Mr. Bush. With more than a thousand arrests, some cops badly injured and innocent people harassed, the protesters are looked upon as fanatical and irrational by many Americans. And some of them are. A survey by The New York Sun newspaper found protesters favored a socialistic government more than any other. That kind of attitude is not a help to Sen. Kerry.

Increasingly, the visible anti-Bush forces are defining themselves as way out there. A new Zogby poll found that almost half of New York City residents believe some in the Bush administration knew the USA would be attacked on 9/11 and did nothing to stop it. Of course there's not a shred of verifiable evidence backing up that insane belief. New York City is overwhelming anti-Bush, and the rest of country is noticing the caliber of criticism. If I were making a movie about the irrational Bush haters, I would entitle it: "Night of Living Dumb."

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The fundamental problem with the anti-Bush zealots is that they desperately want to believe the president is a bad man and will reject all rational discussion that goes against their thesis. That kind of fanaticism frightens mainstream American voters and creates sympathy for the president. Irrational displays will never win an election. Ask Howard Dean.

A few months ago, I wrote in this space that John Kerry would not be seen in public with the likes of Michael Moore and the other far-left bomb throwers, and that has proven to be true. Mr. Kerry knows he must convince centrist voters to support him if he wants to win, and radicals like Moore alienate the center.

If you still don't believe me, consider this: Fox News and your humble correspondent have come under horrific attack from the radical left. But every time a smear book or movie comes out defaming us, our ratings go up. My television program, "The O'Reilly Factor," easily won its timeslot in the cable news wars during the Democratic Convention, and we beat the opposition three to one during the Republican gathering.

The more the crazies tell Americans that I am unfair and unbalanced, the more people tune in. Where do I send the gift?

So there has been a momentum shift toward the Bush camp that should last until the debates, which begin at the end of September. Those displays will mean more than all the protests, all the mudslinging and all the spin. Not since Kennedy-Nixon have presidential debates been so crucial. I can't wait.

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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of, most recently, "Who's Looking Out for You?" Comments by clicking here.

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