- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 30, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

COMMENTARY:

Put yourself in Barack Obama’s sensible shoes. In less than a month, you’ll be president of the United States and, upon entering the Oval Office, one of the biggest messes in history will be yours to sort out. So let’s make a list and see exactly what the new president will face.

On the plus side, the media are still firmly on Mr. Obama’s side and will continue to blame George W. Bush for everything until at least 2011. The media, in general, has a lot invested in the new president and will spin most events his way. That gives President Obama some public relations room. He’ll have a few months before any pressure from the media comes directly at him. Heck, if the liberal press didn’t scream about the conservative preacher Rick Warren praying at the Inauguration, you know the fix is in.

Also, Congress is now dominated by pro-Obama Democrats, and it will do pretty much what the new president wants, so that will make Mr. Obama’s life a lot easier.

On the downside, Congress simply does not know what it is doing. The financial crisis caught our lawmakers by surprise, and the continuing chaos clearly demonstrates that these people have no idea how to deal with the recession. So Americans will just have to tough it out and pray the president and Congress don’t make things even worse.

On the terrorism front, some Americans, including this one, are worried for a number of reasons, beginning with Mr. Obama selecting Eric Holder to be attorney general. This almost defies belief. In addition to lobbying for the pardon of uber tax cheat Marc Rich, Mr. Holder was part of the Janet Reno gang that made it impossible for the feds to investigate terror-related activities inside the United States. You’ll remember that then Attorney General Reno, with her assistant Mr. Holder’s guidance, actually ordered the FBI not to share information with the CIA. Thus, the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers were free to roam this country until doing their deadly deeds.

Now Mr. Holder may be running the show at Justice, and unless he has had a complete Epiphany (apologies to you secular-progressives), his selection is chilling. The fact that President-elect Obama has had so much trouble finding a new CIA chief speaks to Mr. Holder’s situation. CIA veterans well understand that an anti-agency attorney general could cause them great harm.

Overseas, the military calls the shots, and Mr. Obama will not take on Gen. David Petraeus, the genius behind the Iraq turnaround. So, here, the fight against terror will continue to be waged aggressively. However, the prison at Guantanamo Bay will be shut down, and coerced interrogation will not be allowed on Mr. Obama’s watch. So the terrorists gain an advantage.

Barack Obama is a brilliant man. He knows his success hinges on getting us out of the recession and preventing another terror attack at home. He also understands he has to do both of these things if he wants a second term.

And a Happy New Year to you, Mr. President-elect.

Bill O’Reilly is a nationally syndicated columnist, host of the Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor” and author of the book “Who’s Looking Out For You?”

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