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Marion On February - 2 - 2011

More than anyone else, in the ever-widening sphere of political punditry, Bill Maher has become a slave to the fashionable practice of Obama-bashing. Bill likes to remind everyone that he was actually the first media personality of the “Progressive” persuasion, who actually criticized the President – for constantly being shown on television. Never mind that this criticism came one week after Bill, himself, had levelled the same sort of criticism at the Rightwing media (for whining about the President continuously being featured on the evening news), Bill was the first from the President’s side of the fence to issue discontent. And not only that, he continued, Obama hadn’t parted the Red Sea, cured the common cold and risen from the dead, respectfully, all within the first hundred days of his presidency. In fact, according to Bill, all the President had manage to do was get a dog for his daughters.

And, thus, the floodgates of Leftwing discontent were opened and justified. Suddenly, it became open season for the Left to take a pop at the President. Criticism continued, unabated, and still continues today, to a point of absolute obsession. It’s not enough to parse and analyse every word that issues forth from the Presidential mouth, the celebrity pundits of the Left have to analyse what he should have said but didn’t, what he probably thought and should think, how he didn’t say enough or actually said too much, so much until the criticism became gratuitous – as if the punditry relished the effort of going over ever Presidential speech, action, thought or raised eyebrow with a fine-toothed comb, in order to report something negative. As if they were waiting for the President to fail. Willing it, almost.

Sooner or later, it isn’t long before such continuous criticism of everything said or done by one person eventually descends into argumentum ad hominem, and Bill Maher likes nothing better. At various and sundry times, the President, for Bill, became “President Poopypants,” “President Sanford and Son,” or simply, “Barry.” I don’t know if Bill realised it – or maybe he did – but “Barry” is the condescending nickname applied to the President by the scores of bitter, twisted and disaffected, old white men, who deplore the fact that there’s a black man in the White House who isn’t there just to serve coffee in a white coat. Bill has said on various occasions that the President doesn’t act “like a black man,” that he’s needy and craven to the Republicans in a pathetic attempt to court friendship, that he craves rather than compromises, that he’s just like the weak side of Bush when he should be more like the cocky, arrogant, ignorant Decider … that he’s weak.

The worst insult thrown at the President by Bill occurred in early December, when Bill referred to the President as a “Pussy” on Fareed Zakaria’s CNN program, on national television.

Last week, Bill played host to a plethora of conservative opinionators on his show, ranging from Michael Steele, the deposed chairman of the RNC, to Kim Campbell, the Canadian ex-premier who seemed to be trying to do an impersonation of Doris Roberts. Amongst the guests was a Real Time regular, Congressman Jack Kingston, from Georgia’s First Congressional District.

Kingston is a guest on the program at least once each cycle, as much as is another Republican stalwart, Darrell Issa. Bill welcomes conservative opinion on his program, and I welcome that too. It’s always good to hear an opposing viewpoint, even if you don’t agree with it. It’s always interesting to watch intelligent debate, but each time a conservative guest appears, I get the uneasy feeling that Bill is more relaxed and at ease with certain ones than he is with people who support the Progressive ideals he purports to uphold.

I have to say, however, I’ve yet to meet a Progressive who’s in favour of the death penalty, who’s virulently anti-union and who’s against public funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Yet whenever a Republican appears on the Real Time panel, they dominate the proceedings, and Bill gives them free range to vent, unchallenged. The last time Kingston had appeared on the program, was in the company of Darrell Issa, during the summer of the Tea Partied Town Hall debates. From the getgo, Kingston and Issa rounded on Bill, forcefully (but good-naturedly) presented and reinforced their opinions, and reduced Bill to cracking lame jokes rather inarticulately.

This time, Kingston was in seduction mode. Everything Bill threw at him in cynicism, Kingston tossed back with a charm which dripped with the odor of magnolia blossoms. The sophomoric idea of Republicans and Democrats sitting together at the State of the Union Address? Kingston loved it, he said. In fact, he sat with two Democrats. They went out for drinks afterwards and had a right old time of it.

Reception of the President’s speech was muted? Not at all, countered Kingston. The Republicans cheered as much as the Democrats. In fact, Kingston continued, he actually wanted to President to succeed. What American didn’t want their President to succeed? (Well, there’s one Rush Limbaugh, but maybe it’s debatable whether he’s actually an American).

The ubiquitous debate on global warming, inevitably descended into the equally ubiquitous debate on evolution, later on, with Kingston, ever smiling, informed the panel that he didn’t “come from a monkey”, he came “from God.” I waited for the requisite explosion to come from Bill’s vicinity, knowing that there was nothing which steamed him more than religion and all the science denial which came from faith. But Bill didn’t respond. Instead he tried to steer the conversation back to global warming, with the help of Prime Minister Doris Roberts, who kept screeching “climate change, climate change.” (There’s a lot of female screeching occuring this year on Real Time – even Rachel Maddow did her fair share.)

The crescendo rose and rose, with D L Hughley disjointedly appropriating the argument, informing Kingston that Kingston’s beliefs actually validated Hughley’s GED, until Bill asked D L if he believed in evolution. D L replied that he didn’t, and the conversation (and the program) abruptly shifted to New Rules, with Bill and Congressman Kingston enjoying a fraternal chuckle.

Nothing challenged, nothing argued, just Kingston dominating the show and snowing Bill with that honeyed accent and his slow, Southern charm. He even told Prime Minister Doris of his time as a student at the University of Michigan, where he’d slip across the border into Canada for some nights propping up a bar for a Molson beer, amongst other things. It’s one thing for Prime Minister Doris, or any woman, to fall for a cultivated Southern drawl on a man from one of the Red States. I’ve been known to be so charmed, myself, in my youth. It’s quite another to see Bill Maher charmed to the point of abject inarticulace.

And so we witnessed the man who called out the President for being America’s “Pussy” become the Leftwing political pundit who morphed into Jack Kingston’s bitch on national television.

Categories: News & Politics

6 Responses so far.

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  1. ADONAI says:

    A liberal website that hates Bill Maher too?!

    I am in love with this place!

  2. TruthWins says:

    Thank you for expressing and explaining why I never liked Maher.

  3. choicelady says:

    Marion -- I fear you got caught in the Koch/Egypt discussions, so we missed as oppposed to are ignoring this good and insightful post.

    I detest Bill Maher and everything he says. He used to be kind of funny, but now he’s just nasty. Might as well be Dennis Miller who is equally despicable but much less present. He is like Jane Hamsher (sp?) at FDL -- spouts off at the drop of a hat with WRONG information and nothing but knee jerk crap. He is not brave for speaking out -- anyone can do that when you don’t give a damn about facts. I love Lawrence O’Donnell’s line: you’re entitled to your own opinion. You are NOT entitled to your own facts. That’s Maher.

    There is a subtext I think I have raised before about liberal racism. People such as Maher are bigots but wrap themselves in cloaks of nobility for “speaking the truth” when it’s all a pack of crap based on that bigotry. Maher is one of those people who will kind of accept Black churches in America -- but the foundation for that “acceptance” lies in his belief that Black people are too stupid or ignorant to be atheists, so of course we’ll let ’em have this foolishness of faith. You can’t expect anything more of them. That embedded white superiority is more destructive IMHO than some overt racism.

    I don’t have HBO so don’t even need to make choices, but when he’s on somewhere that I can see him or read what he’s written, I don’t. I read and listened for years, but what he puts out these days is not based on though but on some very ugly emotion, and his veneer of responsible analysis is getting thinner every day. Your critiques keep helping to peel back that false front, and I thank you for it.

  4. SueInCa says:

    Precisely why I stopped watching Maher. He went from a halfway decent debater to a gibbering idiot. He is not prepared to discuss the topics he brings up, he lets certain people hog the conversation and he is just downright not a very likable person right now. I am not sure exactly what he wants, but I think alot of what he says is an act for attention.


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