Before we started watching the debate at Trocadero’s, the crowd watched the O’Reilly Factor on Fox to get warmed up, and Bill O’Reilly certainly did that with Barney Frank. O’Reilly and Frank raged at each other last night in an interview that generated much more heat than light on the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:
I walked into Trocadero’s in the middle of this interview, and so I missed the pretentious page-flipping of Frank when the interview started. What was he looking at, the bailout plan that he made necessary by defending Fannie and Freddie while the two went bankrupt?
I’m surprised that Frank appeared on Fox at all, and certainly surprised that he appeared on the Factor. I’d expect Frank to be in hiding, doing regional TV in Massachusetts at most. Even with that said, I’m disappointed (but hardly surprised) that O’Reilly turned this into a shouting match. It might feel good to yell at Barney Frank — and it did, according to the crowd reaction — but that interview called for a prosecuting attorney, one prepared to dispassionately slice Frank to pieces with facts, quotes, and figures. A shouting match lets Frank off the hook, and it buries whatever good points O’Reilly makes in this exchange.
Let’s get Hugh Hewitt to interview Frank, and see the difference. That would force Frank to actually defend his record, and in doing so, expose the collapse as a Democratic failure in social engineering that will cost all of us a fortune in the coming years.