Admitted socialist Lawrence O'Donnell wants you to know that Bill O'Reilly's relentless campaign to quash socialism in America is complete hypocrisy. Because Bill O'Reilly himself is a socialist. That's a tricky claim to make for O'Reilly who said last year, "Socialism has no place in the U.S.A. Period." Taking the admitted anti-socialist to task in his criticism over Bill Maher's statements on Friday night's Real Time, O'Donnell corners the Fox News host in a game of "gotcha." Here's the video of O'Donnell's takedown followed by a quick play-by-play:
According to Maher, "Socialism doesn’t mean that we’re against making a profit; it just means that government takes over certain things like hospitals, the prisons and the military and schools that shouldn’t be run for profit."
O'Reilly responds, "Well, Maher's absolutely correct. But why? Why would any clear-thinking human being want to give the government more power? That erodes freedom, Bill."
O'Donnell closes it out by explaining:
If O'Reilly would just look at his anti-socialism script for just one more minute before it gets loaded onto his teleprompter, even he would realize he is not opposed to government-run military, government-run schools and government-run prisons. That leaves only hospitals in Bill Maher's list of things government runs because they should not be run for profit…
The only difference between O'Reilly and me on socialism is a relatively small difference in degree. We're about this far apart. I'm in favor of a tiny bit more socialism in our economy, particularly in the healthcare sector. And O'Reilly is in favor of a tiny bit less. That's it.
O'Donnell missed one thing, though. Bill O'Reilly basically endorsed the public option in a conversation with a Heritage Foundation scholar last year, just a few months before his "Socialism has no place in the U.S.A." statement. He said, "I want, not for personally for me, but for working Americans, to have a option, that if they don't like their health insurance, if it's too expensive, they can't afford it, if the government can cobble together a cheaper insurance policy that gives the same benefits, I see that as a plus for the folks." Here's that clip:
Now, we all enjoyed O'Reilly's recent debate with Jon Stewart, complete with grinning compliments and O'Reilly's admitting he sometimes doesn't understand what Stewart is talking about. You could bet an O'Donnell-O'Reilly face-off would be much less friendly.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.