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Book Review – Pinheads and Patriots by Bill O’Reilly

This book is a New York Times bestseller for a reason.

I have read several of Bill O’Reilly’s previous books, including: The No Spin Zone, Who’s Looking Out For You, The O’Reilly Factor For Kids (I’m still a kid at heart), Culture Warrior, and A Bold Fresh Piece Of Humanity. I even read O’Reilly’s only novel, The Trespassers: A Murder TV Novel. And I watch the O’Reilly Factor almost every weeknight at either 8pm or the repeat at 11pm

So you could say I kind of like the guy. O’Reilly is a lot like me; a right of middle person, uninfluenced by the pinheads that populate the far left or far right ends of the political spectrum. He certainly isn’t as far to the right as the man whose platform follows his, Sean Hannity, who never gives Democrats or liberals even a little bit of praise, no matter how exemplary his actions may be.

In his No Spin Zone, O’Reilly tells it like it is, and woe to his guest who doesn’t answer the question he asks and goes off on a tangent, or a silly topic of conversation. I’ve had drill sergeants in boot camp less intimidating than O’Reilly when he’s hot. Just ask Barney Frank, who O’Reilly filleted from throat to sternum and then down his flabby back.

Every night, O’Reilly ends his show with a segment called Pinheads and Patriots. Some nights, a person who had been a pinhead in the past now does something that elevates him to patriotic status. And vice versa.

O’Reilly begins “Pinheads and Patriots” with the definition of pinhead from A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English. “Pinhead: A simple fellow, a fool. Such a small head contains very few brains.”

Then follow up with the Urban Dictionary version. “One that lacks the intelligence of the ‘normal’ section of the human population; one that cannot handle the most mundane tasks due to a lack of common sense and intelligence.”

Then give names.

Patriot: The late Tony Snow, who was a Fox News anchor and later a senior spokesman for the Bush White House. Snow died after a two-year battle with cancer. O’Reilly wrote, “Tony Snow is the bravest man I have ever known.” He explains why.

Pinhead: Democratic Congressman Barney Frank, whom O’Reilly criticizes under the title “The Cowardly Lion.” Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was more than anyone else responsible for the current mortgage crisis. Frank glosses over the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac disaster, even saying months before the crash that things were going well with those two mortgage giants. However, when he appeared on the O’Reilly Factor, Frank refused to accept any blame. He said that he was a “victim of economic chaos.” He pinhead for sure.

Given that President Obama is on the cover taking on O’Reilly, you’d think O’Reilly had him lined up for Pinhead-dom. Is not true. O’Reilly points to several instances in which Obama was a true patriot. He cites the moment at a Father’s Day town hall meeting, when Obama told men who father children and leave them: “Just because your father wasn’t there for you, that’s not an excuse for you to be absent, too – it’s the biggest reason for you to be here. You have an obligation to break the cycle and learn from those mistakes, and pick up where your own parents fell short and do better than they did with your own children.”

Truly the words of a patriot.

Before the presidential elections, Obama avoided any interview with Fox News, except with one person: Bill O’Reilly. In “Pinheads and Patriots,” O’Reilly gives us the full transcript of his interview with Obama, which lasted about 30 minutes. Then, at intervals, he explains how the things Obama said in the interview worked or didn’t work for the president. He also chides Obama for not admitting that he was wrong about the troop surge in Iraq. Obama admits in the interview that the increase worked, but he stops short of giving then-President Bush any credit.

The back and forth went like this:

Obama: What I’ve said is that I’ve already said that (the surge) has been successful beyond our wildest dreams.

O’Reilly: Right, so why can’t you just say, “I was wrong about the raise?”

Obama wavers, but never once did he say “I was wrong.” And as we’ve discovered in the 21 months of his presidency, he may be unable to say he was wrong about anything, except perhaps that the White Sox won the World Series.

One of the best chapters in the book is titled “My Favorite P&Ps of All Time.” Without revealing who is who and what is what, O’Reilly gives his opinion on, among others, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Andrew Jackson, US Grant, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Robert Kennedy, both of Bush, Cesar Chavez . John Edwards, Madonna, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and George Soros. Some of his conclusions may surprise you.

On O’Reilly’s website, the book sells for $27.95, but he tosses out a nifty “Pinheads and Patriots” tote bag. I got mine on Amazon.com for less than $16, and since I have Amazon Prime, I got free shipping (but not the tote bag).

“Pinheads and Patriots” is a must read for any O’Reilly fan. And even people who aren’t too keen on O’Reilly should also enjoy reading this even-tempered book.

Unless you’re a pinhead. So there’s nothing I can do for you anyway.

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