Sunday, March 17, 2013

Real Time with Bill Maher # 275 “New Ideas”

Rachel Maddow on "Real Time with Bill Maher"
by Cathrine Giordano

Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO, episode 275, on march 15, 2013, was a lively show.  Rachel Maddow was a guest and that is reason enough to watch it.

Bill does a segment titled ”New Rules” each week, so I thought I’d do a take-off on that and  title this review “New Ideas.”  And when I say “new ideas”, I mostly mean “no new ideas.”

In the opening monologue, Bill talked about the selection of a new pope, or as Bill put it, “They found a guy to wear the white dress.”  He said that the new pope was being called “the humble pope.”  No limos for him, he rides the bus. Bill said, “An old guy on the bus mumbling about Jesus. When do you ever see that?” Nothing new about that.

Bill asked whether anything would change with this new pope.  He answered his own question, saying “Of course not.”  Bill pointed out that Pope Francis is pro-life, against contraception, and thinks homosexuality is the work of the devil. No new ideas there.

Bill added, “Or as Republicans call him, a progressive.” (It’s a joke, but as Republicans keep leap-frogging over each other to be the furthest to the right, it may actually be true real soon.)

Bill discussed C-Pac—the conservative convention.  Mark Rubio, senator from Florida, and new darling of tea-party gave a speech saying, “We don’t need a new idea.  We have an idea. It’s called America and it still works.”  Bill mocked him. “Really? Climate change? America! Stagnant wages? America. Equal rights for women? Saudi Arabia!"

Rubio is not ready for prime time. First there was the dreadful speech after the president’s state of the union speech. and now this inane speech at C-Pac.  First of all, Rubio—you just admitted that not only do Republicans have no new ideas, they don’t even want any new ideas. Why have an idea when you can have a slogan?  America!  Bill didn’t have to make a joke about it. It’s funny all by itself.

The interview was with Michelle Rhee, the Republicans darling of education reform. I didn’t hear any new ideas from her. Just the same old tired Republican talking points about bad schools and bad teachers.  Bill pointed out that the problem is not schools and teachers, but poverty. Michelle wouldn’t engage, and just kept on talking about bad schools and bad teachers.

I live in Florida.  When Jeb Bush was governor, the state started giving schools grades.  (Jeb Bush is often called the education governor. If by that they mean “the destroyer public education.’ then the title fits. I don’t know how he gets away with it.) One year, an “F” school was turned into an “A” school in one year. How was it done?  A local corporation “adopted” the school.  They provided resources, tutoring, enrichment programs. It’s as simple as that. We don’t have to close “bad” schools or fire “bad” teachers, we just need to provide more resources.  All the government had to do was duplicate the efforts of this corporation in every “bad” school, and problem solved.  Did they do it? Of course not! That would cost money! 

The panel included Rachel Maddow, host of an MNSBC news show (9pm Monday through Friday), Jared Bernstein, a former economic advisor to V.P. Biden, and Tom Davis, a former Republican Congressman from Virginia.

I love Rachel Maddow—watch her on MSNBC and you’ll see why. She’s super intelligent and funny.  She’s like no one else on TV. Jared is new to me, but I liked him immediately.  Rachel and Jared didn’t have any new ideas either, but they don’t need any. Their old ideas are the ones that this country needs, like cutting defense spending, ending poverty, providing health care, and not putting the country into deficits by neglecting to pay for the war that you lied the country into.

Tom Davis’s response was to say that he agreed with Jeb Bush that “history will be kind to G. W. Bush.” He added, “Nixon was rehabilitated.”  Everyone else guffawed saying that there was no comparison between what Nixon did and the terrible mess that Bush got us into. I was laughing, too.  It seems like the country is finally waking up to how really, really, bad Bush was.

Bill went back to the pope theme for his comedy segment.  He talked about what some famous politicos might say in confession.

John Boehner:         I only cry because I’m sh-t-faced.”

Pope Benedict:         I’m not actually sick. I just hated the job.   

Sarah Palin:              Sometimes I close my eyes and pretend Todd is Kobe Bryant.

Marcus Bachman:   Sometimes I close my eyes and pretend Michelle is Kobe Bryant. (Michelle Bachman’ s husband, Marcus, is rumored to be gay.)

Mitt Romney:             I hate the other 53% too.

An orangutan:          I only slept with Donald Trump’s mother to win a bet.

The special guest was Tom Colicchio, a chef who has just done a documentary about hunger in America, called “A Place at the Table.”  He pointed out that 47 million children in this country don’t know where their next meal is coming from. He also explained that hunger and obesity are related. People get calories, but not nutrition. Healthy food is expensive.   

In “New Rules” Bill poked fun at smart cars. He said that you may have things on your key chair bigger than a smart car, and that if you kit Chris Christy while driving one, he’d ask you if you were OK.  (Yes, smart cars are very small, probably smaller than Chris Christie, but I think they are cute.)

The final ‘new rule” dealt with conservatives. 

Bill said that Obamacare is hated, but its individual components are well liked. 
He compared it to saying, “I hate pizza, but I love dough with tomato sauce and cheese.”  He said, “People don’t dislike socialism; they just don’t know how to define it. Hint:  It’s in the name ‘social security.’”

 He said C-Pac was the “open mic from Hell.”  Their message is “whatever you do, don’t change.” 

Bill said, ”Politicians from both parties think their constituents are more conservative than they actually are. He added, “(Conservatives) don’t speak for the majority of Americans. They are just so loud that they haven’t noticed that America has moved on.

He concluded by saying that conservatives were like the nasty old man yelling that the kids hit their ball into his yard and he hasn’t noticed that they have grown up and moved away… and he’s the senior senator from Arizona.

And, that is not a new idea, not even a new joke, but it is really funny when Bill says it.  It’s funny because the analogy is so perfect. This is the “I’ve-heard- it-before-but-it-still-makes-me laugh-every-time” moment of the week.

I’m fine with the fact that Republicans don’t have new ideas. I bet the do-do birds didn’t have any new ideas either—just before they went extinct. I just wish they would get out of the way of the liberal’s good ideas.

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