Tonight on his Fox News program The O’Reilly Factor host Bill O’Reilly joined several other conservatives in distancing themselves from those who cheered when it was announced that Chicago’s 2016 bid to host the Olympics had failed. O’Reilly said that their reaction was strange because he thought the Olympics could bring some prosperity.
Here is the video courtesy of Media Matters:
After showing the clip of the Americans for Prosperity meeting breaking into cheers as the news of Chicago’s failed bid was announced, O’Reilly said, “Kind of strange, I believe the Olympic games would bring some prosperity to the USA. I guess I could be wrong.” O’Reilly now joins Republicans like Joe Scarborough who have disagreed with the gleeful celebrations of some conservatives over the news that Chicago didn’t get the Olympics.
Over the last month or so we have seen O’Reilly come out in support of the public option and Obama’s pitch to try to help Chicago land the 2016 Olympics. I don’t think that Bill-O is about join the liberal ranks made up of folks like me, but lately he has been returning to his conservative populist roots. It is as if the further to the right Beck goes, the more O’Reilly inches back to the middle.
For someone like O’Reilly supporting an American Olympic bid goes beyond partisan politics and into patriotism. O’Reilly argued that these Olympics would be good for the country. This doesn’t mean that Bill O’Reilly loves his country more than those who cheered, but it demonstrates that within the conservative movement the definition of patriotism is changing.
Those who don’t ideologically reside permanently on the far right hold the more traditional view that some things are above partisan politics. In contrast, the far right is still holding on to the Bush administration’s post-9/11 hyper-partisan view of patriotism. The deeper divide here is really about the future nature and direction of the conservative movement, with the spilt over Olympic reaction being the latest example of the conflict.