Bill Maher: Ronald Reagan was the Original Teabagger

I happened to catch Bill Maher’s incredibly wonderful evisceration of Ronald Reagan on Friday night and was thrilled to have found video and transcript of it online. I’m sharing it here in case you missed it.

Transcript via BruinKid at DailyKos:

“…And finally, New Rule: when Bob Dole, a guy so Republican his adult diaper has a flagpin (audience groaning laughter), when he says his party has become a bunch of idea-free ideologues who obstruct too much, people should listen.  But they should also question his other statement that Ronald Reagan himself couldn’t have made it today as a Republican.

This has become a kind of conventional wisdom, that the Republican Party has gone so far right, Reagan himself wouldn’t fit in.  But I’m here tonight to call bullshit on that.  Ronald Reagan was an anti-government, union-busting, race-baiting, anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-intellectual, who cut rich people’s taxes in half, had an incurable case for the military-industrial complex, and said Medicare was socialism that would destroy our freedom.  Sounds to me like he would fit in just fine.  (audience applause)

Now, I know over at Fox News right now, they’re already putting out a fatwa on me, for committing the cardinal sin of taking in vain the sacred name of Ronald Reagan.  It’s a name like Jesus Christ — you can say it, but only in a good way.  Like, “Jesus Christ, bless this chili dog.”  Not like, “Jesus Christ, look at the ass on Rihanna!”  No, can’t do that.

But what they cannot contest is that even though Reagan did a few things today’s GOP would not like, he wrote the playbook for them on every issue of consequence.  Sure, he raised taxes a few times, but when you look at where he started with taxes and where he ended, this is where our income inequality problems began.  Heinvented voodoo economics.

On race, his ideas couldn’t have been more Tea Party if he shouted them from a rascal scooter.  He ran on states’ rights.  He invented the notion that black people get all the breaks, constantly telling the story of the Chicago woman — wink, wink — who has “80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards”, and her tax-free cash income is over $150,000.  And that woman today is RuPaul.  Actually, that woman never existed.  Reagan just made shit up, something else he pioneered for his party of today. (audience applause)

He described the New Deal as “fascism”, Medicaid recipients as “waiting for handouts”, unemployment insurance as “pre-paid vacation for freeloaders”, and once said, “a tree’s a tree, how many more do you need to look at?”  He was the original official pitchman for batshit.  When they hold up signs that say “no socialized medicine”, where do you think they got it from?  We got it from you, dad, we got it from you.

RONALD REAGAN: If you don’t do this and if I don’t do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in American when men were free.

Drama queen much?  (audience laughter)

Worst of all, Reagan inspired a whole generation of people who hate government to get into government.  Both sides really should stop pretending he was something other than the man most responsible for our decline.  (wild audience cheering and applause)  And I do mean both sides.

You know, I get why Republicans worship Reagan, they’re the religious party.  Worship is in their DNA.  They can’t help it.  They love him beyond logic.  Last year, they tried to elect his haircut.

(audience laughter)

They want him on a stamp so they can lick his backside.  (audience groaning laughter)

But why are Democrats conceding the argument on Reagan?  Obama talks about him like he’s a brother from another mother!  “He changed the trajectory of America.”  Yes, but not for the better!  When you mainstream Reagan, the far-right becomes the new middle.

He wasn’t a friend to all Americans.  He was Patient Zero for everything you’re fighting against now.  He was the original teabagger.  Stop agreeing he was a saint.

Especially when his two miracles were turning water into polluted water and walking on the poor.”

Bill Maher: “I think this is the week Mitt Romney lost the election.”

Raw Story reports on an exchange between John Feehery and Chris Hayes that I thought was significant regarding reality and Republican talking points:

“Obama just looked cool and smart,” Maher recalled. “And, again, Obama just looks cooler and smarter, ’cause he is.”

One of Maher’s panelists, Republican strategist John Feehery, suggested that “things are just getting started” in this election cycle, since there haven’t been any debates between Romney and President Barack Obama yet, and Obama has yet to poll above 40 percent with voters in “key states,” though he did not mention which ones.

But when Feehery described this week’s outbreak of violence in the Middle East, including the killing of the U.S. envoy to Libya as “all hell breaking loose,” MSNBC host Chris Hayes interjected.

“All hell breaking loose in the Middle East are 4,800 dead Americans in Iraq, and 500,000 Iraqi civilians dead,” Hayes responded. “That is what all hell in the Middle East breaking loose is.”

Watch video

MAHER TO ROMNEY: Giving to your ‘ridiculous church’ doesn’t count as charity

Love him or hate him, Bill makes some good points about this question: what constitutes a charity and especially a tax-deductible charity:


Maher on Romney's charitable givingMAHER TO ROMNEY: Giving to your ‘ridiculous church’ doesn’t count as charity

Maher asserted that the real problem here, however, is that when Romney’s money goes into what Maher first calls his “cult,” then softens to “ridiculous church,” taxpayers have to make up the shortfall. Charitable deductions, he said, take more than 60 billion dollars a year out of the public coffer, money that has to come from other programs and services.

“So it is fair,” he said, “to ask what constitues a charity.”

(Video) Bill Maher: The GOP is at war with Common Sense — Real Time 4.20.2012

“Not having diabetes is a liberal plot? If you can see your shoes you hate America?”


Maher: “I think if the Democrats came out against eating yellow snow, Rick Perry would eat yellow snow.”

On the environment:

When Richard Nixon, yeah! created the EPA, both parties agreed that rivers shouldn’t catch on fire and the air shouldn’t make pigeons cough. But then Al Gore embraced it and now, when the EPA wants to reduce the level of arsenic in drinking water, you half expect to see Mitch McConnell making appearances with Archie the Arsenic Molecule.

You don’t have to make everything political. That’s like making all your decisions on what Jesus would do. Paper or plastic? Sometimes Jesus just doesn’t give a shit…

Comparing Rush Limbaugh to Bill Maher is either remarkably dishonest or really stupid

For one thing, Bill Maher is a COMEDIAN! Yep, Maher has said mean things about Palin and sometimes he goes too far — but most of the time it’s funny — because that’s what he does for a living. By now, everyone who is not in a coma should understand that Maher’s a politically-based comedian who does a show on HBO (pay channel!) and stand-up comedy.

On the other hand, Rush Limbaugh is broadcast on public airwaves for three hours a day, five days a week — including taxpayer-funded Armed Forces radio (AFN) — and has been allowed to set the tone and conversation on issues affecting everyone with the GOP establishment, while he sits atop the Republican Kingdom on his Big (huge!) Royal Throne of Grandiosity. There’s absolutely no comparison. Look at the influence that the GOP has given Limbaugh:

Limbaugh and George HW Bush: 

Early in the summer of 1992, Roger Ailes, who was working for President Bush, made the connection. The president invited Limbaugh to accompany him to the Kennedy Center and spend a night at the White House. Bush personally carried Limbaugh’s bag from the elevator of the White House residence to his room, a gesture Rush never forgot. That night he called his mother and brother from the Lincoln bedroom. “Guess where I’m sleeping tonight,” he said. Bush might not be Reagan, but he was the president of the United States. [page 81]

Limbaugh and Ronald Reagan: 

Limbaugh proudly read the letter to his audience on the December 21, 1992, edition of his television show [via Nexis]

LIMBAUGH: “Ronald Reagan, December 11th, 1992. Dear Rush, thanks for all you’re doing to promote Republican and conservative principles. Now that I’ve re” — and lis –and listen to this, folks. Listen to this. “Now that I’ve retired from active politics, I don’t mind that you’ve become the number one voice for conservatism in our country.”

I — I mean — you know, that’s — that’s — that’s not just a, “Hey, Rush, nice to know you. Hope you enjoyed my letter,” kind of sentence. There’s a — there’s something very serious in that, and I was – I — I was so proud.

It goes on, “I know the liberals call you the most dangerous man in America, but don’t worry about it. They used to say the same thing about me. Keep up the good work. America needs to hear the way things ought to be. Sincerely, Ron.”

Limbaugh and George W Bush — RECENT history: 

August 1, 2008: During his 20th anniversary show on August 1, 2008, Limbaugh received a surprise phone call from President Bush, Jeb Bush, and George H.W. Bush — “people who consider you friends and really appreciate the contribution you’ve made,” as the president put it. George H.W. Bush told Rush he was “proud of you, always,” and asked how “our man” Roger Ailes was doing. Jeb Bush told Limbaugh: “One of the great things about your show is it’s broadcast in the Sunshine State, for which a whole lot of Floridians are very grateful, including me.”

November 9, 2010: Bush’s most recent appearance (to date) was on November 9, 2010, as he was promoting his recently released memoir, Decision Points.

In the final days of the Bush presidency, Limbaugh traveled to Washington for what one of his guest hosts called a “secret meeting.” Limbaugh later revealed that the “meeting” was a private “farewell luncheon” at the White House with President Bush. As Limbaugh described it, the lunch was actually a surprise birthday party for Limbaugh, complete with a rendition of “Happy Birthday” sung by Bush and his aides, and “a little chocolate microphone.”

And the apologies, the tears, and the kissing of the ring!

  • Michael Steele
  • Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA)
  • Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS)
  • Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)

There’s MUCH more…

So if someone tries to say that Limbaugh’s an “entertainer” or “comedian” like Maher, it won’t work. He may be absurd and ridiculous to most of us, but he’s been taken very seriously by the Republican Party for two decades.

And that rather embarrassing fact is on them.

Sunday morning’s 6 disputably interesting things

1) Good Call: In 2008, Biden Said Bin Laden Was Hiding In Pakistan - In the 2008 Vice Presidential debate between then Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin, Biden said Osama Bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan. He was right.

2) Catholics intensify campaign against same sex marriage - LONDON — The Roman Catholic Church stepped up its campaign against civil gay marriage, with a letter from two senior archbishops being read out at services in 2,500 churches on Sunday. The letter from Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and Archbishop Peter Smith, the Archbishop of Southwark, said it was their “duty” to defend the institution of marriage. “Changing the legal definition of marriage would be a profoundly radical step. Its consequences should be taken seriously now,” Nichols and Smith said in the letter, which was being read out at parish churches in England and Wales. “We have a duty to married people today, and to those who come after us, to do all we can to ensure that the true meaning of marriage is not lost for future generations.”

3) Santorum Easily Wins Caucuses in Kansas - Mr. Santorum captured 51 percent of the vote, easily eclipsing his rivals Mitt Romney, who had 21 percent; Newt Gingrich with 14 percent; and Ron Paul with 13 percent. Mr. Santorum was projected by The Associated Press to win at least 32 of the 40 delegates in play, raising the stakes for the Alabama and Mississippi primaries on Tuesday, which polls showed to be wide open. “We’ve had a very, very good day,” Mr. Santorum said in Missouri, retracing the ups and downs of a campaign in which he said many had questioned why he persisted. [image: thatslayerchick]

  • Watching Willard Romney have to reinvent himself as a barbarian is going to be the best show in town - And, also, this is the casual slander that passes for political thought among the people with whom Romney cannot be nominated for president. In his appearance in Topeka, Santorum lashed out at Romney, saying that the former Massachusetts governor “can’t wait” for the primary season to be over so that he can “get back in his comfort zone.” He added, “We already have one president who doesn’t tell the truth to the American people. We don’t need another nominated by our party to do the same. Gov. Romney reinvents himself for whatever the political occasion calls for.”  It is now permissable in the Republican party to say anything you want about the incumbent president of the United States. I’m going to open comments for someone to prove to me that a Democratic candidate in, say, 2004 came that close to calling George W. Bush a liar. The general election campaign is going to be the most savage and truthless exercise that money can buy, and the money involved is going to be able to buy a lot. The GOP is one small step from having one of its politicians drop an N-bomb on TV.

4) Romney struggles with improved economy - The first is that Romney’s refusal to even acknowledge the new job numbers suggests he has a problem. Romney has already said, more than once, that he believes the economy has improved since President Obama took office, and whether the Republican candidate ignores reporters’ questions or not, the facts are hard to dispute. Second, Romney likes to throw around that claim about “he would keep unemployment below 8 percent,” but it’s just not true. Repeating a lie does not make it more accurate. And third, if we’re really going to have a conversation about who “has failed” at job creation, we should probably talk less about the guy who prevented an economic collapse, and more about the governor whose record on job creation was something of a fiasco — during Romney’s tenure, Massachusetts’ job creation was “one of the worst in the country,” ranking 47th out of 50 states in job growth. [image: liberalsarecool]

5) James Wolcott | Julianne Moore’s Sarah-dipity - The chief reason to see Game Change (HBO, Saturday March 10th) is that it’s fun. It has nothing new or profound to say about the runaway train of a presidential campaign, it doesn’t paint any rainy moments of a candidate’s somber reflection on the toll of his soul as the an aide prattles on the latest polls, it doesn’t peel any of the crab shell off of John McCain for a look under the psychological hood, or show us a side of Sarah Palin that will send us to the rewrite pages of history. It doesn’t drip oil from the ceiling like Ides of March, implicating everyone including the audience in collusion and corruption. It’s a slow-burn comedy of exasperation, finally blossoming into cursing frustration when Palin, the rock-star treatment from her rabid fans pumping her up into believing that she’s bigger than the campaign, wants to make her own concession speech the night of the losing election…

  • The relevant comments come from these two: Other aides who worked on the campaign – campaign manager Steven Schmidt and top aide Nicolle Wallace – have said the film is a generally accurate portrayal of Sen. John McCain’s selection of Palin, whom they allege was emotionally and intellectually not up for the job. Let’s be clear: Palin is absolutely right. The film doesn’t matter.
  • ‘Game Change’ and the realities of political decisions - What matters is that John McCain picked someone so totally and completely unfit for the position of vice president. That disastrous decision disqualifies McCain for the position of “senior wise man” that he so loves to play. But what this choice tells us, reinforced by his behavior during the September 2008 financial meltdown, is that McCain’s instincts are abysmal and his judgment is worse. Why anyone would continue to take McCain seriously from a political standpoint is unanswerable. He’s never going to live down this choice. And the reason he’s so dismissive of the movie and the book is for all the right reasons: the chatter may be all about Palin, but the implications are all about McCain. In fact, that’s actually what happened in 2008, in case anyone has forgotten.

Your average rightwing talk-radio fan.

6) 98 Major Advertisers Dump Rush Limbaugh, Other Right-Wing Hosts - This helps explain why, on Rush Limbaugh’s flagship station WABC, almost of the commercial breaks were filled with unpaid pubic service announcements. You can check out the list of the 50 advertisers who were known to have dropped Limbaugh before this report here. But it’s not just Limbaugh that these advertisers want to disassociate with, but other big names in right-wing radio too. As the Daily Beast’s John Avalon notes, this is unprecedented in the 20-plus years that Limbaugh and his imitators have been on the air and could spell real trouble for an industry that’s already suffering demographically. Women ages 24–55 are the prize advertising demographic, but Limbaugh and other conservative hosts have steadily alienated these listeners over the years, so the sexist attacks on Sandra Fluke were “a perfect storm.”

  • (VIDEO) SNL’s Rush Limbaugh and his “new, better” sponsors:
  • The Young Turks: A Challenge to Rush: Prove Your Ratings - So, Rush is in big trouble now as more and more advertisers peel off. He’s in a tail spin. Why else would you triple down on the “slut” comments from Wednesday to Friday and then issue an apology on Saturday? He has over-reached (in his offensive comments) and undelivered (in his ratings). That’s a lethal combo. But Rush can easily prove me wrong. So, I’m issuing a challenge to him – show us your ratings. He won’t do it because he’s embarrassed by them. He has never produced evidence of his ratings and he certainly won’t do it now. In fact, I’ll make a Mitt Romney like wager. I’ll give him $10,000 if he can show us his 20 million listeners. Rush’s audience is a myth. He is a paper tiger. Do some people listen to him? Of course. Is it anywhere near the hype? Not remotely. Talk radio is a dying business. I wouldn’t be surprised if his daily listeners didn’t even reach a million.

Thursday morning’s 10 interesting things: Groundhog Day!

1) Groundhog Day 2012: Punxsutawney Phil, Staten Island - UPDATE 7:30: Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, and predicts 6 more weeks of winter.

2) Did Mitt Romney’s Dog Actually Run Away? - The Romney family says their Irish Setter Seamus was no worse for the wear, and lived to a “ripe old age.” But a report in the NY Observer cheekily suggests that might not be the whole story. A trusted source tells them two of Romney’s sons actually told reporters in an off the record chat that Seamus ran away when they reached Canada.

3) HBO Films: Game Change Trailer

4) “We know that pumping oil out of the ground does not create many jobs. It does not foster an entrepreneurial spirit, nor does it sharpen critical faculties… Greenhouse gas emissions and global warming are among humanity’s most pressing concerns. Societal expectations on climate change are real, and our industry is expected to take a leadership role.” – Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi

5) This is a Party That Has Run Out of Ideas - For some reason, the whole notion of a giant wave of welfare recipients paying for lap dances with state issued cards makes me laugh. But seriously, this is it. This is the kind of stuff the GOP is going to be heading into the election year promoting. So much fail.

6) Komen’s House of Cards - I’m confident that Komen’s funding will be replaced, and also that Komen will be a pale pink shadow of its former self unless it reverses this stupid decision and fires the people responsible. Check out list after list after list of Komen’s corporate sponsors. Do you think New Balance, Ford and Georgia-Pacific signed on for a public fight over Planned Parenthood? When Yoplait put a pink lid on its yogurt, did they do it to make it easier to boycott their products? Because that’s what’s going to happen. Unlike most boycotts, it’s easy to figure out which products you shouldn’t buy: anything that displays a pink ribbon with the Komen name.

7) Trump to endorse Gingrich: reports - “I will be making a major announcement tomorrow… at Trump International Hotel & Tower, Las Vegas, Nevada. The announcement will pertain to the presidential race,” [Trump] said on Twitter Wednesday. | Note: remember “The Stand”? Remember who wound up in Las Vegas?

8) Beyond Willard’s Lack of Concern for the Very Poor - [...] check out what he said there at the beginning: “The challenge right now — we will hear from the Democrat party…” Whoa. Stop. Rewind. “…the Democrat party…” In case you had any remaining doubts, our Willard has gone full wingnut. “Democrat party” is always the giveaway, a sniggering, dumbass rhetorical loogie originally hawked up by Joe McCarthy. It’s the way you send a message to the other, dumber members of the tribe that you’re with them. I heard him say it a couple of times in South Carolina and thought, damn, Willard, you’d dress up like Madame LaFarge and dance the hootchie-koo if you thought it meant five votes from these goons.

9) Indiana Becomes ‘Right to Work’ State - NY TIMES: “Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, who had once said that he did not wish to add a ‘right to work’ provision to the state’s labor laws, signed a bill on Wednesday doing just that. The legislation, which bars union contracts from requiring non-union members to pay fees for representation, makes Indiana the first state in more than a decade to enact right to work legislation and the only one in the Midwestern manufacturing belt to have such a law.

10) Washington State Senate Passes Gay Marriage Bill – Washington appeared almost certain to become the seventh state to allow same-sex marriage after the State Senate voted late Wednesday for a measure that would allow gay and lesbian couples to marry beginning this summer.

(Video) Bill Maher on the GOP: they disdain the lazy yet their solution to everything is ‘do nothing’

Bill Maher, as usual, properly nails the current attitude of the Republican Teaparty and its presidential candidates:

Partial transcript via inothernews:

“I find it ironic that Republicans have such disdain for the lazy, and yet their solution to everything is do nothing. Their answer to wealth inequality? Do nothing. Healthcare? Do nothing. Climate change? Nothing. Racism? Doesn’t exist. For a group of people so head over heels in love with self-reliance, they sure do recommend a lot of sitting on their ass.

If A Christmas Carol was performed by the Tea Party Dramatic Society, it would be a cautionary tale about how the hero, Scrooge — a blameless job creator — is turned into a socialist through the corrupting influence of Tiny Tim. And the play would end with a simple, plaintive question from Mr. Scrooge: ‘Just how much of my wealth does Mr. Tim think he’s entitled to?’

And that is the great Republican fallacy of this election: that our economic problem are due not to Wall Street’s gambling, but because too many Americans are lazy. But there are 16 million unemployed, and we only created 80,000 jobs last month. The problem isn’t laziness — it’s math.

This is where the Republican Party is now: in favor of people dying because they don’t have health insurance. In favor of letting people go unfed if they won’t work. And if they wanna work, but are Mexicans, in favor of putting up a fence that electrocutes them.”

David Simon’s original pitch for The Wire

Jason Kottke: David Simon’s original pitch for The Wire

David Simon was just awarded one of the MacArthur Foundation’s $500,000 genius grants, so I thought it would be interesting to revisit Simon’s original pitch of The Wire to HBO (PDF).

But more than an exercise is realism for its own sake, the verisimilitude of The Wire exists to serve something larger. In the first story-arc, the episodes begin what would seem to be the straight-forward, albeit protracted, pursuit of a violent drug crew that controls a high-rise housing project. But within a brief span of time, the officers who undertake the pursuit are forced to acknowledge truths about their department, their role, the drug war and the city as a whole. In the end, the cost to all sides begins to suggest not so much the dogged police pursuit of the bad guys, but rather a Greek tragedy. At the end of thirteen episodes, the reward for the viewer — who has been lured all this way by a well-constructed police show — is not the simple gratification of hearing handcuffs click. Instead, the conclusion is something that Euripides or O’Neill might recognize: an America, at every level at war with itself.

Best. Show. Ever.

Went to see Dinner for Schmucks

It is ridiculously funny! See it, yes. And one of the movie’s characters, “Kieran Vollard,” reminded me of an excellent show he used to be in, a show that I really really miss — which reminded me of one of my fav songs of theirs (♥ the lyrics – so funny):

Lyrics:

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