Highlights from Real Time with Bill Maher - Episode 258, September 7, 2012
David Simon — Creator of “Treme” and “The Wire”
Christine O’Donnell — Conservative Activist
Steve Schmidt – McCain-Palin Strategist / MSNBC Contributor
Katrina Vanden Heuvel – “The Nation” Editor and Publisher
Jim Vandehei – POLITICO journalist
Bill Maher monologue highlights
When you look at the two conventions, the speeches at the Democratic convention — I’m sorry, they were just better. Go back and watch Mitt Romney. – laughter – I mean – after seeing Michelle Obama speak, and Bill Clinton speak, and the President speak – it’s like watching an armless guy paint with his ass. – laughter – If I may make an analogy.
Come on, the conventions were so different. The Democrats finally looked like a real political party, and the Republicans look like a seminar on how to flip real estate for Jesus. – laughter & applause – Not that I’m biased, but… — And when they panned the crowd, the Democratic convention, it just looks like the America I see when I walk down the street. And the Republican convention looks like Antiques Roadshow. – laughter –
But for a lot of people, come on, the highlight was Big Willy. Uh, Bill Clinton came back – cheers & applause – big time, and man, did you see that Bill Clinton speech? One by one, he picked apart and destroyed every claim of the Romney-Ryan campaign. In fact, today Todd Akin said it qualified as a “legitimate rape.” – laughter & applause – Which, I”m very impressed, I know… — Of course it made the Republicans furious. They said, “No fair, not every one has an ex-president who can speak.” – laughter & applause –
Did you see John Kerry last night? Wow, where was that guy eight years ago? He was amazing, and he went after Sarah Palin. He took a couple of shots at her, and she said today — one of her brain farts — she tweeted or facebooked, I swear to God, this is Sarah Palin’s quotes, talking about John Kerry – she said, “I think he diminished himself by even mentioning my name.” – laughter – I could not agree more.
First segment with Christine O’Donnell
Bill: Thank you so much for coming, because you know I’ve been trying to get you here for a long time. And I first want to say to you, honestly look you in the eye, haven’t seen you in a long time, I know when I brought out the “witch tape” I made your life hell, and I’m sorry about that.
Christine: Aw, thank you.
Bill: I never intended it to go — We have to say, it’s a lot about the media. I thought it would be funny, and I read that it was the most reported story in all of the 2010 elections. And I gotta say, I don’t agree with your ideas, but it shouldn’t have hung on that stupid witch thing.
Christine: No, it shouldn’t of, and as I’ve admitted in my book, part of it was a self-inflicted wound because we put out that stupid ad.
Bill: But you know, the whole reason I did that is because I wanted you to come on. You were running for the Senate, and I thought…
Christine: Right! Yeah.
Bill: You did Politically Incorrect 22 times, I did kind of make you a star.
Christine: [laughs] My campaign manager — you know what’s funny? My campaign manager kept texting me, you know, what to say if you said that, and I’m like: He’s not that egotistical. He’s not going to bring that up. – laughter – I know, I know. [laughs]
Bill: But it’s true, I mean…
Christine: So how about this? Since you made me a star, how about you donate a million dollars to my PAC? [Bill laughs] Equal opportunity here. [laughs]
Bill: And they say Republicans don’t have a sense of humor.
Christine: [laughs] – laughter –
(Later on Christine tried to explain that the job reports that show net job growth somehow aren’t telling the whole picture. She says you “can’t only look at the statistics you want to, you have to look at the overall picture” and then you will see that there are job losses. In fact, she said there are four jobs lost for every one created. Of course, this is complete bullshit. So we don’t look at the statistics we just look at the overall picture then? Is that the “overall picture” that Fox News paints? Where can I find that picture? It’s clear she was trying to explain something that she heard somewhere like Fox News. I think you get the idea. Need I type more?)
The panel highlights
Bill Maher: Let me ask about the conventions. The general consensus seems to be that the Democrats had a better convention. Would you [Steve Schmidt] concede that?
Steve Schmidt: Yeah, I think they did as good a job as you could possibly do, uh, trying to make a case for the president’s re-election. Tough for me to see them, you know, being more effective at it.
Bill Maher: I remember when the Democrats did not have their shit together. I remember in 1972, I was a teenager, and I remember my Democratic father apoplectic. They nominated George McGovern at three in the morning. And this is in the television era. This is not 1950. Three in the morning he made his speech. So they’ve come a long way.
Steve Schmidt: No it was terrif… We’ll see in the coming days if they bounce ahead. Uh, you know, I think it was great TV, but how did it impact with the people, not in the hall, but the people watching on TV out in the eight states that are going to determine the election.
Katrina Vanden Heuvel: The Democratic convention looked like America. Really. I mean it was a mosaic of diversity, of inclusion. The Republican Party, convention, was, it was so pale, so pale and stale. And it was in a netherworld of post-truth politics. One thing that Bill Clinton did so effectively was just blow away the toxic B.S. of the full-frontal fiscal fraudulence of that party. – cheers & applause –
Bill Maher: Well — No one loves to get blown away like Bill Clinton. – laughter – Um, you know, to me he was so devastating because he used humor. I feel like — now maybe this is because I’m a comedian, so I notice these things — to me, this was the Republican deficit; the humor deficit. I mean Clinton — so many big laughs.
Katrina Vanden Heuvel: The thing that struck me about Bill Clinton, and not to pour water on this but — the center in this country has been redefined. The extremism of the Republican Party has pushed everything to the right, so that a Bill Clinton, who was a new Democrat, who I…we defended him at The Nation during impeachment because we thought that was the savagery of the right which didn’t know what to do. But he did, you know, he did deregulate the banks. He did NAFTA. He did a whole set of things…
Bill Maher: Glass-Steagall
Katrina Vanden Heuvel: That’s right.
Katrina Vanden Heuvel: …Elizabeth Warren, who spoke before Bill Clinton — She spoke from the heart about how so many millions of people in this country feel the system is rigged against them. — That’s where much of the Democratic Party is today. Even President Obama, who’s been moved by the movements of these times to talk about inequality, and fairness, or moved by the “Dreamers” to talk about immigration rights and make real changes, or moved by the gay rights movement. That to me is part of the greatness of the Democratic Party is — is when it’s moved by movements to move by the limits of it’s politics.
Jim Vandehei: Republicans are going to bury the Democrats from now until the end. The Koch brothers, just the organizations that they are either funding or raising money for, will do 400 million dollars, which is 100 million more than his [Steve Schmidt] guy [John McCain] for an entire presidential campaign.
Katrina Vanden Heuvel: It’s the first time in modern history that I can remember that one party is working to restrict the vote. I mean, part of our democracy is to expand the vote. Why not fight for the vote instead of… – applause –
Katrina Vanden Heuvel: It’s this larger story. The Republican Party — and of course politicians have exaggerated, it’s not just the Republicans but — We are witnessing right now, a party that is in the netherworld of post-truth politics. And it’s not just Paul Ryan. You [Bill Maher] mentioned George W. Bush. Do you remember the political operative, maybe it was Karl Rove, who said ‘we make up our own reality’? You can live in it. From there the arc to a Romney operative saying ‘we’re not going to let fact-checkers define our campaign’. This is not a left-right issue. In my mind, this goes to the very nature of the kind foundation nature of what a liberal democracy is about, because if it’s not about transparency and accountability, where’s the trust between represented and representatives?
Jim Vandehei: But to be clear, I just spent a bunch of time in Chicago and Boston talking to operatives on both sides. They both, they are gleeful about the fact that they don’t think facts matter anymore. Both sides, the Obama campaign is just as bad as the Romney campaign.
Katrina Vanden Heuvel: I disa…No. It’s not…No. – What’s the example?
Bill Maher: That’s the false equivalency that is so much the problem with the media. They are not the same. – applause & cheers – This…it’s just bullshit.
David Simon: I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve come to realize that the question “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” is the most destructive question, it’s the worst thing in American politics right now. – applause – (I totally agree. Maybe not the wort thing, but it’s a bullshit question to be sure.) And I’d say that if the roles were reversed. I’d say that, I don’t want to blame… Parsing these trends that are actually 30, and 40, and 50 years in the making is the most destructive thing, it’s what’s trashing the election. — The fact that we can’t have an adult electoral process is rooted in this frenzy over ‘who can we blame and how fast?’
(later Bill Maher lists Obama’s accomplishments — in the context of the Obama administrations failure to communicate what it’s done)
Bill Maher: I think he’s [Obama] a terrible salesman who had a much better presidency than a campaign. When you look down the list of the things:
- Probably stopped a depression
- Gave the country health care, which so many presidents have tried to do
- Got out of Iraq
- Killed bin Laden
- Killed Gaddafi
- Wall Street reform
- The Dream Act [executive order]
- Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
- Saved the automobile industry
- Two women on the Supreme Court
- We can have stem cell research again
- Equal pay for women
- Stopped torture
- Student loans
David Simon: It took us, uh, a profound change in the way we viewed capital and labor, to create an engine which was the consumer class. We took the laboring class and made them into the greatest consumer class the world as ever seen. And we did that to create this incredible economic engine that drove the 20th century. For the last 30 or 40 years, I would date it to the PATCO strike in ’80 . We’ve been taking apart collective bargaining, and organized labor, and we’ve been dismantling that part of the engine. I don’t think labor should win every fight, and I don’t think capital should win every fight. It was in the tension between the two that you actually created this engine, and it’s disappeared.
Bill Maher: Labor Day was Monday. Let me tell you what Eric Cantor, the Republican leader in the House said. He said today — This is Labor Day — He said, “Today we celebrate those who have taken a risk, worked hard, built a business and earned their own success.” — The opposite of Labor Day. Even on Labor Day, these people…
New Rules highlights
And finally, New Rule: If re-elected, President Obama must appoint Bill Clinton to head the EPA — Because on Wednesday night he cleared away an unbelievable amount of toxic bullshit. — cheers & applause — Beginning with knocking down the contention that Democrats are envious of success and sneer at the American Dream of starting out with nothing and making good. No, it’s not that liberals envy the rich, they just wish the rich would admit that a lot of them were just lucky. (not the complete final New Rule)
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