So I finally got around to watching the bbig Michael Moore-Bill O'Reilly matchup from last week, recorded at the DNC in Boston. I've said it before and I'll say it again--Michael Moore is not the best spokesman we can find. First of all, he wilted against O'Reilly (a transcript is here), resorting to cheap theatrics rather than making salient points. For one, Moore's "would you sacrifice your children" stunt fell completely flat--both in the transcript and on TV.
For two, there's a very simple and very telling point to be made about the whole "Bush Lied" business that O'Reilly went after Moore about:
Now, one of the issues is you because you’ve been calling Bush a liar on weapons of mass destruction, the Senate Intelligence Committee, Lord Butler’s investigation in Britain and now the 9/11 Commission have all come out and said there was no lying on the part of President Bush. Plus, Vladimir Putin has said his intelligence told Bush there were weapons of mass destruction. Wanna apologize to the president now or later?There's a simple fact about the Bush administration that needs to be spread far and wide: This administration refuses to take responsibility. The recession? Not our fault. September 11? It's Clinton's fault. The leak of a covert CIA operative's name? Not really illegal! (Shades of "no controlling legal authority" there?) Job numbers suck? It's not our economic policy, it's factors beyond our control! Vice President Cheney dropped an F-Bomb on the floor of the Senate? He was just trying to feel better.
MOORE: He didn’t tell the truth, he said there were weapons of mass destruction.
O'REILLY: Yeah, but he didn’t lie, he was misinformed by — all of those investigations come to the same conclusion. That’s not a lie.
MOORE: Uh huh. So, in other words, if I told you right now that nothing was going on down here on the stage…
O'REILLY: That would be a lie because we could see that wasn’t the truth.
MOORE: [. . . A]ctually it’s President Bush that needs to apologize to the nation for telling an entire country that there were weapons of mass destruction, that they had evidence of this and that there was some sort of connection between Saddam Hussein and September 11th, and he used that as a-- [. . .]
O'REILLY: Just the issues. You’ve got three separate investigations plus the president of Russia all saying… British intelligence, U.S. intelligence, Russian intelligence, told the president there were weapons of mass destruction; you say he lied. This is not a lie if you believe it to be true, now he may have made a mistake, which is obvious…
MOORE: Well, that’s almost pathological. I mean, many criminals believe what they say is true; they could pass a lie detector test…
O'REILLY: All right, now you’re dancing around a question…
MOORE: No, I’m not. There’s no dancing.
O'REILLY: He didn’t lie.
MOORE: He said something that wasn’t true.
O'REILLY: Based upon bad information given to him by legitimate sources.
Leaving aside for a moment that the administration ignored initial intelligence warnings that the case for war was weak, pressuring intel agencies to up the ante, if you will, there's an easy answer to idiots like Bill O'Reilly: He doesn't have to admit that he lied. We just want to hear somebody in the administration take responsibility for the mistakes that were made. And, if Bush really is the CEO president that he claims to be, then he should be sending heads rolling over all of this. A good CEO might even step down over so many serious errors on his watch.
So, that's your new task. Whenever somebody tries to say it isn't Bush's fault--tell them it's time for him to take responsibility for all the things that "aren't his fault."