Really, I don't know why so many people are annoyed with President Obama for saying that personal success is almost always a product of our system in America, with the benevolent federal government leading the way. Certainly, that's true, and I will attempt to prove it based on a brand-new investigation of very successful folks.
New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey was once a mediocre performer, but he became a star by perfecting the knuckleball. Word is that Nancy Pelosi took the pitcher aside and demonstrated just the right spin to put on his delivery. The former Speaker of the House is too modest to take credit, but she does want to tax Dickey at a higher rate now that he's a 1 percenter.
Did you know that Clint Eastwood was a struggling actor until California Gov. Jerry Brown taught him to squint and say things like, "Feeling lucky, punk?" Apparently, Brown learned that phrase from a former girlfriend, singer Linda Ronstadt, and generously passed it along to Eastwood. However, there is no truth to the rumor that Brown's autobiography will be entitled: "Dirty Jerry."
She won't admit it, but Lady Gaga's career took off when New York Sen. Chuck Schumer advised her to lose the poker face and "loosen up a little." Taken aback by the blunt advice, the former Catholic-school girl took it to heart and replaced her blue blazers with ripped fishnet stockings and rhinestone halter-tops. The rest, of course, you know. But what you might not know is that Schumer was the inspiration for the Gaga hit: "Born This Way."
Likewise with Simon Cowell. The Englishman was looking for a TV niche when he ran across Congressman Barney Frank, who advised him to insult just about everybody and wear tight undershirts in public. After watching Frank on cable TV, Cowell adopted his scorched-earth verbal style and ever since has amassed hundreds of millions of dollars. Fortunately for Cowell, when Frank told him to invest in Fannie Mae, he declined, believing Fannie was an obscure rapper.
But the topper is LeBron James. As a kid in Akron, Ohio, LeBron was directionless, wandering around the boulevards looking for something to do. Then one day a suave stranger showed up on the playground and began shooting hoops with LeBron and his crew. The man showed the youngsters a variety of basketball moves, including the fade-away jump shot. From the jump, LeBron was enthralled and thus began his steady climb to basketball greatness. That stranger's name: Barack Obama.
And now you know the rest of the success story.
Veteran TV news anchor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show "The O'Reilly Factor" and author of the book "Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama."