Ugh. Just... ugh.

I spend a reasonable amount of time grousing about the lamentable antics of various right-wing blowhards. Admittedly, this doesn't take a lot of intellectual effort, since your average fourth-grader could effectively deconstruct most of the rhetoric that spews forth from the likes of Beck, Limbaugh, etc. etc. etc. But it's fun.

In the interests of even-handedness, however, this time I'll turn my attention to smug left-wing prick extraordinaire Bill Maher.

First, though, a digression. I had a birthday shortly after the iPhone first came out, and my father gave me one as a gift. This is part of a long tradition of my father getting me some cool piece of technology, which I then proceed to tragically under-utilize. In this particular case, I have until very recently failed to add a single nifty app to the thing, despite all those neat ads in which people turn off lights in their house, give their kids movies to watch so they're not forced to read books on long flights, and frappe cold drinks, all with their iPhones. However, in a fit of technological zeal, I have added both the IMDB and the Huffington Post iPhone apps in the past week, all the better to see what else Emily Proctor starred in after The West Wing and what inane musings Hollywood has to share about politics.

On that latter note, I was treated to Mr. Maher's recent self-impressed post about DC from the comfort of my palm. It started relatively well:
New Rule: You can't use the statement "there will be no cooperation for the
rest of the year" as a threat if there was no cooperation in the first half of
the year.

Yes. I agree with this first sentence. It is side-splitting that the GOP has said it refuses to play along with the President in protest for health care reform's passage, after refusing to play along with the President for anything since he was sworn in. However, things get a bit off-kilter in sentence #2:
Here's a word the president should take out of his teleprompter: bipartisanship.
People only care about that in theory, not in practice. The best thing that's
happened this year is when President Obama finally realized this and said, "Kiss
my black ass, we're going it alone, George W. Bush style."
Oh, dear. The thing is, I actually do care about bipartisanship in practice. I just happen to think that in this case the failure of bipartisanship lies with the GOP, not the President, and that there are more important things than bipartisanship if it ends up being unattainable. Further, it is distasteful when a left-wing "commentator" thinks he can make racial jokes by virtue of his being left-wing, and thus "down" with black people. Just... don't.

Things go completely off the rails later on, when Maher writes that the unhinged, possessive and frankly violent sexual text messages of Tiger Woods are an apt metaphor for how Obama should treat the GOP from now on. The text he quotes (verbatim) is unseemly, and I won't reprint it here. You can click on the link above, if you're inclined. Maher's (edited) spin:
And this, I believe, perfectly represents the attitude Democrats should now
have in their dealings with the Republican Party: "Shut the [redacted] up while I slap
your face for making noise -- now pass a cap-and-trade law, you stupid [sexist slur],
and repeat after me: 'global warming is real!'"

Ha, ha! Sexual violence and imagery that degrades women! It's OK, though, because Maher is a liberal, and everyone knows that liberals are totally supportive of women, and thus get a pass to use language that would have everyone howling if Mitch McConnell said it.

Moving past the rank hypocrisy of the rhetoric, let's focus on the substance of what Maher recommends. Do I think Obama should quail in the face of Republican obstructionism? No, I do not. I think he should continue to push for his agenda and remember that he still has majorities in both the House and the Senate. (For now.) But I also think there continues to be value in trying to reach out to the other party. If the Republicans had been smart about it, they could probably have gotten some concessions I would have liked (like tort reform) in return for some bipartisan cover and the bill would have been better. But just because they decided to poke the rump end of their base for political gain doesn't mean we shouldn't keep trying.

I voted for Obama in part because I want my party to be better than that. And I still do. Which is why Obama should ignore everything Bill Maher says. A man who writes this:
Democrats in America were put on earth to do one thing: drag the ignorant hillbilly half of this country into the next century, which in their case is the 19th

is just the kind of schmuck we're all better off ignoring.


  1. i dunno if i would call maher left wing, he calls himself libertarian, or at least he used to, i have long since tired of him. libertarians are left wing on some issues and right wing on others.
    if you want to hammer a true left winger, go after Sean Penn or Michael Moore who both have said really, really dumb things.


  2. Given the cheering he's doing for health care reform's passage, I have a hard time believing he's truly libertarian.

    And yes, I concur that Penn and Moore are in a league of their own.

  3. I said this over at the LOOG, but I'll say it here too. In the way rush Limbaugh CLAIMS to be just an "entertainer" but is in fact a or even the leader of an extremely consequential social movement in this country, Bill Maher sometimes claims to be semi-serious political commentator, but in fact IS just an entertainer (often enough he claims to be an entertainer as well, and at those times he has himself right). Hence the differing broad/cablecast platforms: news-talk radio on the one hand, premium subscription entertainment television on the other. I would remind you that Rush Limbaugh was an on-desk commentator right there alongside Tom Brokaw for NBC's network coverage of the Republicans' 2002 midterm victories which ultimately sealed the public case for invading Iraq. If there's one place you will never find Bill Maher, it is occupying an election night desk alongside Brian Williams.

  4. It says something rather bad about Maher's audience that the repulsively violent and misogynistic swill he provides is 'entertainment.'