Meacham Suggests He Prefers Dog Feces to Cruz or Trump, Ties Reagan to Enviro Problems

Appearing as a panel member on Friday's Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, author and former Newsweek editor-in-chief Jon Meacham made a crack suggesting he would prefer dog excrement for President over GOP candidates Ted Cruz or Donald Trump, as host Maher asked panel members which of the two Republican frontrunners they would pick if they had no other choice.

Meacham, who recently authored Destiny and Power as a biogrophy of former President George H.W. Bush, later tied former President Ronald Reagan to modern environmental and safety problems during a discussion that included global warming and the polluted water in Flint, Michigan, as he complained about the Republican President causing a "cultural shift" in declaring that "government is not the solution, it's the problem."

Maher began the segment by asking panel members to indicate whether they would prefer Cruz or Trump for President if they knew ahead of time the Democrat would lose. After Republican consultant and anti-Trump activist Liz Mair declared that she would prefer a "dried dog t***" for President over Trump, Meacham went along with her joke as he suggested that he would himself prefer the dog excrement over either of the two leading Republicans:

JON MEACHAM, FORMER NEWSWEEK EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Oh, Lord. Isn't there something else?

BILL MAHER: No, there's nothing else. You have to play my game.

LIZ MAIR, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT (referring back to her previous joke): Yeah, the dry dog t***, the dry dog t***.

MEACHAM: There's the dry dog t***, yeah. That was a Whig.

When pressed for a choice, the liberal historian ended up choosing Trump over Cruz. Meacham: "I guess I accept the emerging conventional wisdom that Trump would be slightly more manageable."

A bit later, after Maher listed a number of environmental and safety problems ranging from the polluted water in Flint, Michigan, to contaminated food at some restaurants, Meacham weighed in as he began:

I think we're mixing up a lot of different things. There is safety regulation, which has now been a part of the American life for more than 50 years basically, I mean, that's the important thing.

After Mair interrupted him a couple of times, leading Maher to jump in demanding for her to let Meacham finish, he took aim at Reagan as he added:

It's about institutions, it seems to me. The idea -- and this has been going on really since 1981 when President Reagan said the government is not the solution, it's the problem -- there has been this cultural shift that the private sector, you stipulate that they do things better.

It's just not true. It's not true that the public sector does things better, it's just, institutions have to be run by smart people who are dedicated to a larger good, whether it's a profit or keeping a bridge up.

Maher cracked: "Yes, those are called Democrats."

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Friday, January 22, Real Time with Bill Maher:

10:17 p.m. ET

BILL MAHER: All right, well, I thought I'd never see a week where the question was: Trump or Cruz? So I'm going to ask this panel a very basic question. Let us say you know the Democrat is going to lose. So the Republican nominee is going to win. It's got to be either Donald Trump or Cruz. We know where you stand because you don't like Trump-

LIZ MAIR, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: I would vote for probably a dried dog t*** running as a Republican over Trump. He would be for smaller government than Donald Trump. That's for sure.

MAHER: Okay, so we know where you stand. What are the positions of the other members of the panel if you had to pick?

REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D-FL): I look at Cruz and I see Senator McCarthy. They look alike, they sound alike, they have the same lines.

MAHER: So that's a vote for Trump?

GRAYSON: Yeah, unfortunately.

MAHER: Jon?

GRAYSON: By default.

JON MEACHAM, FORMER NEWSWEEK EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Oh, Lord. Isn't there something else?

MAHER: No, there's nothing else. You have to play my game.

MAIR: Yeah, the dry dog t***, the dry dog t***.

MEACHAM: There's the dry dog t***, yeah. That was a Whig.

MAIR: It's a great option.

MEACHAM: In the 19th century, the Whigs ran a lot of those.

GRAYSON: How about revolution instead?

MAHER: Now, now, let's answer this question first.

MEACHAM: I guess I accept the convention, emerging conventional wisdom that Trump would be slightly more manageable.

MAHER: I agree. I heard him yesterday say something you don't hear Republicans say, and that happens fairly frequently, which is, "Ronald Reagan made deals. I'll make deals." Now, they've been getting by for the longest time as Ted Cruz does, saying, "I don't work with the Democrats. That's why I'm great." And they all applaud. And Trump has this ability to come out there and tell them they're f****** idiots and, no, Ronald Reagan, when he invokes, you know, peace and blessings be upon him, he made deals and [starts impersonating Trump's voice]  "I'm the deal maker, deals are great, I make great deals, I'm America's personal shopper."

(...)

10:31 p.m. ET

MEACHAM: I think we're mixing up a lot of different things. There is safety regulation, which has now been a part of the American life for more than 50 years basically, I mean, that's the important thing. 

MAIR: Well, Teddy Roosevelt put some on the books.

MEACHAM: Some. But if you're talking about bridges collapsing.

MAIR: That's true, if you're talking about like poultry.

MAHER: Let him finish! Jesus! I hate to say this on this show, but let the man speak.

MEACHAM: There may be an Oscar nomination in this. No, the, it's about institutions, it seems to me. The idea -- and this has been going on really since 1981 when President Reagan said the government is not the solution, it's the problem -- there has been this cultural shift-

MAHER: Right.

MEACHAM: -that the private sector, you stipulate that they do things better. It's just not true. It's not true that the public sector does things better, it's just, institutions have to be run by smart people who are dedicated to a larger good, whether it's a profit or keeping a bridge up.

MAHER: Yes. Those are called Democrats.

Brad Wilmouth
Brad Wilmouth is a contributing blogger to NewsBusters