Saturday, November 17, 2012

Real Time with Bill Maher #267 "What About Dick"

By Catherine Giordano

I’m naming this review of the season finale of Real Time with Bill Maher, episode #267, aired on November 16, 2012, “What About Dick?” Don’t go there!  Dick is a man’s name and Eric Idle, the special guest this week, wrote a play entitled “What About Dick.”  (It is in a Los Angeles theater.)

Okay, now I am going to go there—into the land of double-entendres. Now usually, I try to keep things clean here, which if you know Bill, is not all that easy to do. This week Bill and friends (and the stuff in the news) have made that a really hard task. 

Bill’s opening monologue was unusual this week. It was devoted almost entirely to a single topic—the David Patreaus-and-friends sex scandal. Bill is not one to condemn anyone for their sex lives, but he had a good point when he said “I do sorta care that the CIA director can’t keep a secret.”  He referred to Jill Kelly, the other other woman as a Gypsy Grifter—part Khadashian, part Sarah Palin, part Snooki. This is the “insult-one-get-three-free” moment of the week.  He took down four airheads with one line.

Patreaus really screwed-up giving Bill enough material for the entire monologue. What was Patreaus thinking when he wrote all those emails. Or maybe the question should be what was he thinking with? “His d---.”

Bill did the interview with Dave Axelrod. Naturally, they talked about the election and Obama’s victory. Bill asked Axelrod why Democrats won’t come on his show. “I know I’m a pot- smoking potty-mouth, atheist, but…”  “There you go,” Axelrod said. They got it right, but I feel it is a shame that prominent Democrats feel that it would hurt their reputation to be seen with Bill. Bill is also an insightful political commentator and a great comedian. 

Bill and Axelrod discussed the tea party for a while. They said that losing made the Republicans nuts, although some of them were that way before, even before there was a tea party. However the tea party made them nuttier because special interests came in and shaped the group and exploited them.

There is a lot of discussion among Republicans about changing the party’s message.  I don’t see how that is successful for them. One, they want to change the words they use (try to be a little less insulting), but not the things they believe and want to do. Two, if they become more moderate, they lose the radical right wing base of the party, and if they become more right wing (as they did in the last election), the lose the moderates. They have become the party of the super rich and since that is too small a base for winning elections they have to bring in the haters, thee crazies, and the misinformed.  (Research has shown that people who watch no news at all are better informed than people who watch only Fox News.) Further ,the people who have become rich pandering to the haters and crazies (e.g. Rush Limbaugh) are not going to stop saying the things that have made them rich. I don’t think the Republican party has a path back. Republicans know this, hence all the efforts at voter suppression. They know they can’t win elections with their ideas.

The panel included Ana Navarro who was billed as a Republican strategist and CNN contributor. She lost me at “Hello.” She had that smug, condescending, know-it-all smile on her face. However, she did make a few good points all the while speaking in a school-marm voice.  She tried to dismiss Romney as “old news.” She said he should GOP—Get Out of the Picture.  She noted that Republicans twisted themselves into pretzels trying to defend Romney prior to the election, and now Republicans condemn him when he says the same things he said before. (Awww, no one loves a loser.) She said Republicans had to take the asylum back from the inmates. However, everything she said sounded like rehearsed lines, and not like something that was the result of genuine thought. It sounded like she had decided to position herself as a moderate, and so she said moderate-sounding things.

And then Pow! Ana said something so stunningly stupid. The panel was talking about why Patraeus had to resign, she said, “Women are smarter than men. Women can get around men especially when men are horny.”  (She evidently thinks that women can lead all men around by their “d---s.”) Everyone just stared at her because her statement had nothing to do with the subject they were talking about. (Also, I doubt this pasty-faced over-stuffed sofa of a women knows anything about what men do when they are horny, never having been around a horny man. ) (And yes, I’m ashamed for my gratuitous insult, but she really annoys me.)

The panel spoke about gerrymandering and how that was the only reason the Republicans kept their majority in the house.  In the Congressional races, more people voted for Democrats than Republicans, but the Republicans had “safe” districts.  Ana said that gerrymandering was good because some districts were gerrymandered in favor of Hispanics and African-Americans.  Wrong again, and very self serving because she is Hispanic. I don’t want any “safe” districts. I want congresspeople to be accountable to the voters on election day. Good African-American and Hispanic candidates can win in fair districts. My thought is that redistricting should be given to an impartial team of cartographers. They should have population counts and NO other information. Then districts would be fair and would represent neighborhoods.

Michael Moore, the documentary filmmaker, author, and Democrat was another panelist. (Just to show that I am fair, I want to say Michael’s appearance leaves a lot to be desired. He reminds me of the sagging over-stuffed arm chair, springs-popping, stuffing-hanging, upholstery-fading. Michael, you are a successful intelligent man—start looking like one!)

Michael is a great guest because he is intelligent and witty. He spoke about these petitions to secede from the United States that have popped up all over since Obama won re-election.  (Remember, the old “love it or leave it” taunt—maybe these secessionists should just all leave to a country more to their liking—if any will have them.)  Michael said, “Let the Red States go. The Blue States have all the money. The Red States are one big Mississippi.”

David Frum, a republican and author of Why Romney Lost was the third panelist. David Frum is an intelligent and reasonable person, although he is one of the ones who has to occasionally twist himself into a pretzel to defend Republican ideas. Unlike most of the Republican guests, he speaks in a calm and thoughtful way. He tried to defend Romney’s post election comments by saying every losing candidate is bitter, but they are not usually taped.  (Bitter? I think Romney is “acting like a d---.)

Frum thinks that in the Republican party “the ice is cracking, and new ideas are coming.”  Well, I guess that is win-win.  If Republicans don’t change, they go the way of the Whigs and Democrats rule.  If Republicans do change, they stay in the game, but they govern better.

For the mid-show comedy bit, Bill went on a rant about Romney’s comment that Obama won because he gave “gifts.” Some see gifts; some see good policies that invest in America and make her a stronger, better country. Plus, turnaround is fair play. Bill listed the gifts that Romney promised his backers—the rich ones: Tax cuts, deregulation, defense contracts, turning Medicare over to insurance companies, and giving high-interest student loans back to the banks.

Towards the end of the show, Bill continued his tradition of giving end of season predictions—the headlines we might see while the show is on hiatus. One of them was “Romney’s second and third wife revealed.” (I know cheap shot—but funny.)

In New Rules, Bill had these cautionary words for Obama. “You can interpret the election in two ways. One, we love you. Two, we like you 3% better than Romney.”  He told progressives to hold Obama’s feet to the fire. He told Obama, “There’s no third-term. Throw caution to the wind.”  He suggested never say “clean coal” again—it’s an oxymoron, “like internet privacy, tea-party intellectual, or Fox News journalist.” He said, how about a “surprise retreat” from Afghanistan.  He suggested that we don’t rewrite social security; we rewrite the Patriot Act.

Bill closed with the topic near and dear to his heart. End the “war on drugs.” Colorado and Massachusetts made marijuana legal. Don’t send the feds in. Republicans can’t object—it’s States Rights. He ended with “I’m not a teenager and you are not my mother. There’s a much better way to confirm your suspicions that I’m smoking pot and hanging out with the wrong people. Just watch the show!”

Of course, I will watch the show. Bill and friends will be back on January 18 2013, and so will I.
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