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Marion On July - 30 - 2011

Would the real Bill Maher please stand up? Who is he? I want to know. Is he a comedian or a political pundit? Is he a Progressive (as he claims he is), a libertarian (as he’s been on record in the past as saying) or a closet Republican (he did vote for Reagan the second time around and for Dole in 1996)? Is he a bona fide intellectual or a dilettante? An original thinker or a dedicated follower of fashion? Is he an atheist or is there a tryptiched altar in his bedroom, complete with votive candles and a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus?

 

This is the man responsible for introducing the likes of Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Grover Norquist and Christine O’Donnell into mainstream America. He counts Coulter amongst his best friends – one of two, I imagine, because media whore and Queen Ratfucker, Arianna Huffington is the other one. He lambasts the corporatocracy which has taken over America, yet bows from the waist in open admiration at Huffington’s defection to that realm of power and glory (not that she ever left off trying to break down the doors anyway).

 

He describes himself as a Progressive, but he openly supports the death penalty and racial profiling. He is anti-union and crossed the picket lines during the writers’ strike to carry on with his show. After the strike ended, he made it a stipulation that any writer working on his Real Time show not belong to a union. He is virulently against the National Endowment for the Arts. Whilst he was vocal in his criticism of George W Bush, he lauded him for the Iraqi surge. He’s a fervent defender of Israel.

 

If any other self-proclaimed “Progressive” openly claimed those credentials, he’d be immediately lambasted as a Blue Dog Dem, and that’s being kind. Those credentials are solidly Republican.

 

During the health care debates throughout 2009, Bill pushed the envelope in favour of the fashionable “public option,” even advocating Medicare-for-All when he interviewed Congresscritturs pushing that meme; but at the end of that season, in a lengthy interview with Bill Frist, he blurted out that he didn’t trust the government to administer any sort of health program, before launching into an anti-vaccine argument with Frist, a practicing physician, that belied his self-promoted reputation as a secular ratiionalist worshipping at the altar of science. The week before that episode, he engaged himself in a totally ludicrous argument with Jeff Toobin, criticizing what he called “Western medicine” and insisting that people left the United States dying of cancer for alternative treatments and lived to tell the tale.

 

In fact, Bill seems far cozier in the company of some of the most notorious conservative politicians and commentators, Frist included. Coulter, as mentioned, is his BFF; and the criminally-challenged Congressman, Darrell Issa is a frequent guest on Real Time, as is Dana Loesch, Matthew Continetti and the infamous Andrew Breitbart, whom he fails to challenge on any point and actually appears to protect.

 

In fact, it was the conservative writer, S E Cupp, who perspicaciously sussed that Bill’s strident atheism didn’t really appear to be non-belief at all, but rather, an anger at God. In fact, it’s only recently that Bill’s actually outed himself as an atheist. Until 2009, when Richard Dawkins awarded him his coveted Atheist of the Year award, Maher identified himself more as a questioning agnostic, saying that atheists were just as uncertain in their non-belief as fundamentalist Christians were in theirs. He actually admitted to believing in a higher power, just one which wasn’t the traditional view of God as the ultimate father figure.

 

The “Progressive” Bill Maher has shown himself openly queasy about Islam and Muslims, in general. In an interview with Anderson Cooper, in 2010, he quipped that, of course, Islam was a religion of peace. “There’s a piece of you over there and another piece over there, and that’s after the suicide bombers have struck.”

 

He was openly rude and blatantly disrespectful to Congressman Keith Ellison, one is Muslim.

 

And then, there are the remarks about the current President of the United States, referring to him disparagingly as “President Sanford and Son,” and lamenting the fact that Barack Obama wasn’t his idea of a real black President, one who would use ghetto-style language and intimidation techniques, even to the point of showing his Cabinet and Congress a gun tucked inside his suit jacket.

 

I’m positing that Bill Maher is a fraud, and anyone who looks at him either as an intelligent and fearless voice in the pundit community or an equally brilliant satirist, needs to wake up, smell the coffee and learn to think for themselves.

 

This is a man who follows the fashion of the easy money trail, rather than owning up to common sense principles that he’s afraid to avow publically because it would mean swimming against whatever the currently fashionable tide is concerning a popular topic of discussion or criticism.

 

He’s proven this with his attitude toward President Obama.

 

Bill was raised in a Democratic household, although now he doesn’t describe himself as a Democrat, and he’s too afraid to admit that he is, at heart, probably more of an old-style moderate Republican. It’s not unusual for someone to start life as a Democrat and then become a Republican – like John Boehner. Conversely, Hillary Clinton was formerly a Republican who switched parties along the way.

 

No, Bill’s a political starfucker. He leans Democratic when it’s cool to do so, and punches the Republicans when it’s the flavour of the moment to do that as well. And when the radical chic, whom he emulates and longs to join, find a trendy independent with a bone to pick, they push his meme too. Hence, Bill, along with those other two politically astute self-promoters, Michael Moore and Katrina vanden Heuvel, sold their followers on the message that it was all too hip to back Ralph Nader in 2000, because Bush and Gore represented the same corporate animal.

 

There you go. Bill enabled George W Bush, but then Bush gave him some great comedy moments and, no doubt, lined his pockets with money to ferret away from the California tax authorities, so who’s complaining? Not Bill.

 

Now we’re seeing Bill sell his dismay about Obama with everyone from Piers Morgan to Lawrence O’Donnell. I remember when he started this meme, and I remember the background to it, and it’s the background which, I believe, is sincere and incongruent to the undermining message he’s promoted on and off since then, which has done enough harm to the President, but serves only to enhance Maher’s own publicity. I don’t have any problem with self-promoting hacks, but I do have a problem with people who hang on their every word and follow them to the point that they convolute themselves in contradiction.

 

At the end of Bill’s 2008 season, the week after the Election, Bill – who was genuinely pleased with an Obama triumph – sat at his panel’s table and discussed with Jon Meacham how exactly they thought Obama would govern as President. Bill acknowledged that Candidate Obama had run as a centre-Left pragmatist and admonished Progressives not to get caught up in the hope that he would be able to pursue an exclusively Progressive agenda. He even warned that the Republican party, although defeated, was anything but down and out and would be an obstructive force with which to reckon.

 

He and Meacham then agreed that Obama would have no recourse but to govern from the centre and would have to seek bipartisan support from the GOP for certain measures. Bill even cited Mario Cuomo’s famous quote about politicians campaigning in poetry and governing in prose.

 

So far, ao astute. So sensible.

 

Fast forward to February 2009, and Bill’s first program after his hiatus. He took a break from comedy in his monologue, to remind his audience of the immense obstacles, especially with the economy, facing this President. He was right in saying that Obama was essentially the black man brought in to clean up the mess made by the entitled white man. He was actually facing  the worst economic situation since Roosevelt’s first term, but then Bill reminded people about the public in Roosevelt’s time, the so-called Greatest Generation, of which Bill’s parents (and mine) were a part.

 

Bill reminded his llisteners that the President had said that this would take time, that he couldn’t do it without the public’s help, and that was reasonable.

 

“I hope,” he said, “that now we’ve got our man in the White House, that people are just going to sit back and expect him to perform miracles and right this situation right away, because that’s not the way it’s done. It’s gonna take some time, and we all have to tighten our belts. But, you know, I’m not so sure this generation is able to do that, not like our parents’ generation.”

 

He went on to explain how his parents had lived through a Depression and a World War. They were suffering when Roosevelt asked them to tighten their belts even more during a real Depression, and they came off that, only to be asked to make sacrifices during a war. They got on with it and did what was asked; but he was right to single out the immaturity of people in present times. He actually ended his spiel by wryly reminding people that this wasn’t a matter of just cleaning house, and the President wasn’t that sort of servant.

 

Again, brilliant summation.

 

By the third week in June, he was castigating the Republican party for moaning about Obama always being on television; by the fourth week in June, 2009, Bill abruptly changed tack, in one week: Now he was moaning about Obama being on television so much that he’d done nothing since he’d become President. He seemed to enjoy being in front of the camera too much. Why, the only thing he’d accomplished in the first 100 days was getting a dog. Where were the WPA-style jobs’ programs, where was healthcare? And then the killer line: Why couldn’t Obama be more like Bush in ramming legislation through? Why couldn’t he have more of the Bush swagger?

 

Such bodacity garnered Bill umpteen appearances on talk show after talk show and the floodgates on Obama-bashing opened in earnest. As time went by, Bill loved to remind people that he was the first political commentator who dared to criticize the President. By the end of that year, he was snarkily referring to him as “Barry,” emulating the pithy and petty old white men of the Tea Party he disdained. When the President fulfilled a campaign promise of implementing a surge in Afghanistan, Bill tweeted indignantly that Obama was now “just like Bush.”

 

This carried on to a lesser degree – racist comments aside – during 2010. At least Bill had retained enough of his integrity to realise that 2010 was a Midterm election year, and that the Democrats were in danger of losing out. But in the aftermath of the Midterms and after the tax cut compromise, he took to the airwaves on Fareed Zakaria’s program to label the President a “pussy.” He’s since called him that once again in recent weeks.

 

In fact, the only time the President has received any approbation from Bill Maher this year was when Osama bin Laden was killed.

 

Since then, his constant meme has been “caving” or wishing that Obama had pushed Democratic principles, and insinuating that Obama is a Republican at heart.

 

Singularly oxymoronic from a man who openly supports the death penalty, who’s on record as being anti-union (please, the attention paid by Maher to the Wisconsin debacle was fashion-following only), who’s against the NEA, who defends Israel in every corner, who starfucks Bibi Netanyahu, and who doesn’t have a problem with American citizens getting assassinated without due process.

 

Bill Maher says Obama is a Republican at heart.

 

As for the President not promoting Democratic principles, I presume Bill hasn’t heard about the following:-

 

  • – The Lily Ledbetter Act (ensuring equal pay for women doing the same work as men – but wait! Bill Maher’s got a sexist problem with women).

 

  • – The Matthew Shepherd Hate Crime Act (but wait! In 2007, no less than Alan Simpson, ripped Bill a new asshole, when he made an untimely gay joke, to which Simpson took offense)

 

  • – The Dodd-Frank Act (but wait! Bill wholeheartedly approves of BFF’s Arianna Huffington’s entry into the Wall Street arena)

 

  • – The Affordable Care Act (but wait! Bill’s on record as being against anything like a Congressional Act which regulates healthcare)

 

  • – Repeal of DADT (enacted by the man Bill would crawl over broken glass to interview, Bill Clinton)

 

  • – Pushing for the repeal of DOMA (another Clinton accomplishment)

 

There are other things. Bill, like most of his ilk, failed to see that the compromise secured by agreeing to extend the Bush tax cuts for 2 years, contained many valuable benefits for the unemployed, the poor, the working poor and small businesses. But Bill wouldn’t see these things, simply because he has no occasion to think about them. He simply isn’t concerned. And, by the way, just to detract from Bill’s constant meme of Obama being a bad negotiator, the tax cut compromise was negotiated by Joe Biden.

 

And this week he’s back, singing the same old song of Obama disappointment on Lawrence O’Donnell’s MSNBC show, when in reality, he was conflicted to the point of confusion. On the one hand, Bill understands very well that the President has to react the way he does at various times because he’s contending with an Opposition who’ve made no secret of the fact that their aim is to destroy Barack Obama – as a President, as a politician and as a man. And yet, he undermines the President in the next breath, by insinuating that he was naive to want bipartisan cooperation, that he was needy in “wanting the Republicans to like him,” that he was a bad negotiator (yet again) and was caving to their demands by not demanding revenues in exchange for spending cuts (when it was Harry Reid, who famously caved in this instance, after the Republicans had walked out on the Presidential negotiations).

 

Finally, by beginning his interview with O’Donnell with such an infamous qualitative statement as “I like Obama BUT …” he simply reveals that he doesn’t like the President at all, which indicates that Maher is either stupid enough not to have listened to the President at all during either the campaign or his early months in office or that he’s enough of a shallow starfucker to herd-follow the Professional Left shills who gratuitously criticize absolutely everything this President does or doesn’t do which doesn’t meet with their high purist standards, in an attempt to grift a spare buck and some free publicity.

 

Because I’ve heard him speak eloquently and intelligently in defence of this President and because he was still astute enough to realise that something as straightforward as increasing the debt ceiling (a procedure in which  no President in recent history has had to involve himself directly) is a manouevre to destroy the country’s economy in an attempt to bring down one man, I believe the latter.

 

Like his mommy-figure, Huffinton, Bill’s all about self-promotion and getting as much attention as possible. And he wants to play with the big kids, be in with the in crowd. It’s cool in Bill’s world to be a Progressive hating on the black man in the White House, and when Bill derides the stupidity of Americans and manages to convince the dittoes who follow him religiously that he’s a Progressive who’s OK with the death penalty and who’s not ok with defending labour through unions, then he’s laughing all the way to the bank at such singular inability to think critically; but he’s not going to complain if it makes him some money.

 

At the end of his interview with O’Donnell this week, Lawrence asked Bill if there were even a remote part of him who was hoping for a default on the national debt for comedic purposes. Bill replied that he had money; even he wouldn’t want to see that happen. But I have a sneaking suspicion that he’d like to see this President fail and a Republican in Office in 2012.

 

After all, a Republican in the White House is just so much better for comedy.

 

6 Responses so far.

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  1. BlueStateMan says:

    Hear HEAR!!!

    it is SO nice to see that I’m not alone in my amazement that this 3rd rate ‘standup’ has garnered not only credibility.. but GRAVITAS amongst the progressives.

    His show is only as good as its GUEST lineup.. the rest is pure prattle.

    He made a stupid remark and got fired from ABC and is the LUCKIEST man in SHOWBIZ.

    He is ignorant, arrogant and spews garbage about subjects he knows NOTHING about… and he has the AUDACITY to compare himself to the likes of Lenny Bruce or George Carlin.

    He’s more in the realm of “Carrot Top”….. and that is on his better days.

  2. choicelady says:

    Marion -- Bill is the snot-nosed brat I went to Antioch with (not in fact -- he’s younger than I) who believes anything he feels or thinks is fact. His politics are the politics of utter narcissism. It’s like the whole of the art world these days: “*I* created this so YOU have to admire it or YOU are a philistine.”

    Narcissism and solipsism rule the day.

    Maher’s total lack of comprehension concerning how democracy works doesn’t matter to him at all. The only beef I have since I don’t watch him is that a lot of younger people think he’s truthful, knowledgable, and an ‘insider’ so they glom onto his “analysis” and keep repeating his mistakes.

    If it were not for that, I’d not care. But we have a young and not-so-young electorate who take ALL their political discourse from stand up comics and televised self-promoted pundits, and THAT I think is dangerous when the people they are following don’t know anything.

    And Bill Maher knows NOTHING. Scary he has such a following!

  3. Caru says:

    He also looks like a used car salesman. That’s not an offhand insult, he really does.

  4. whatsthatsound says:

    I very much dislike Maher, but I think this is still a case of a cigar being a cigar, and no ulterior motives need to be looked for or assumed about him. People are unique and complex. We are capable of changing our minds and positions, and holding some positions that tilt either to the left or right of our general stance. The whole business of “conservative”, “progressive”, and garnering either of those with the certification of “true” is meaningless, imo. Or almost meaningless, anyway. Bill Maher is who he is, end of story. And like you, I find very little to like or admire about him.

  5. Emerald1943 says:

    Good, Marion!

    I used to be a fan…several years back, but no more. I got tired of his criticism of the President too. Bill will say whatever he thinks will make him some money, get him another guest appearance, or another booking for a stand-up performance. I’m certainly no prude, but I am sometimes offended by the language. I believe he could get his point across without the “F-bombs” that also embarrass his guests.

  6. ADONAI says:

    I don’t get most of the attacks on President Obama. You wanna blame Congress and the infighting? I’m with ya. But I support Obama because I really believe he is giving this his best effort and that’s all that can be expected of any of us. I disagree with the guy on some things too but I have respect for him. He’s doing what HE thinks is best for the country. I would do the same. I think we all would. We may have disagreements on how to do that but why can’t we get over that and focus on the common goal?

    Also, THANK YOU! Bill Maher is an epic douche-bag. Been saying that for years.


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