O'Reilly, Beck jab Dems at Westbury theater
Celebrating the election of a Massachusetts Republican to the Senate and pronouncing the end of Democrats' efforts to reform health care, commentators Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck drew applause and laughter Saturday night from a sold-out crowd in Westbury.
"You will witness mighty miracles in your time," Beck said as he praised the election of Scott Brown to fill Ted Kennedy's seat. Beck got on his knees on the round stage in the middle of Capital One Theatre and added, "Thank you, Jesus."
That opening set the tone for the pair's two-hour "Bold and Fresh" tour, which was filled with barbs about Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. At one point, O'Reilly said he'd like to see both of the Democratic leaders kidnapped and unharmed, though he quipped that he would approve waterboarding for Pelosi, the speaker of the House.
"The elites are the ones who have gotten us in trouble," said Beck, alluding to Obama's Harvard Law School degree.
O'Reilly, who earned degrees from Boston University and Harvard, was more nuanced. "I don't have anything against Barack Obama . . . I think he's a smart guy who doesn't understand you."
Saying that he'd grown up in Levittown with people who spoke their minds and brawled on the playground, O'Reilly mentioned his distrust of "pinheads" from both parties in Washington.
Some of the pair's comments seemed designed to be provocative. Noting that a French official had said that the U.S. troops appeared to be occupying Haiti after this month's earthquake, O'Reilly said, "Haiti should be so lucky. If we occupied Haiti, they'd be better off."
And when he mentioned that China is buying U.S. bonds, he said, "What else are they going to invest in . . .? They've got enough restaurants."
The crowd let out boos when Obama's name was mentioned, and several people shouted that Beck or O'Reilly should run for president.
One of the few critical comments came from Robert Zimmerman, a Democratic National Committeeman, who sat in the second row with Republican friends. "I respect Bill O'Reilly for his independence and his intellect," said Zimmerman. He added, "I can't say the same for Beck, who is essentially a right-wing Atlantic City lounge act."
Nassau County Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs skipped the show, saying he didn't need to hear O'Reilly and Beck defending Republicans. "This is the party that held power in Washington for the past eight years, completely decimated our economy, made shambles of our foreign policy, and now we have a president who is taking action . . . and the Republicans have not come up with one positive program."
Zimmerman, though, said he was glad he attended. "I believe in free speech."
Free speech had its limits, though. Employees of the theater said the management told them not to discuss their political views or their thoughts about O'Reilly and Beck.
Two nights earlier, the liberal commentator Bill Maher appeared at the theater. "We sold out in about three hours," O'Reilly said, "and it took Bill Maher about six months to sell half the tickets."