Andrew Breitbart on Friday exposed Bill Maher for not being the Libertarian he claims to be, but a socialist instead.
When push came to shove, a seemingly embarrassed Maher didn't protest.
In the middle of a heated discussion on HBO's "Real Time" about healthcare reform legislation passed earlier this year, Maher vehemently defended the program.
This led Breitbart to smartly observe, "So you're officially not a Libertarian anymore, right? I mean, this position has run so far from the Libertarian position. Is this, so you admit that you have more of a, you know, European socialist leaning perspective on this issue?"
When the audience laughter subsided, a clearly stunned Maher acknowledged, "I'm not afraid to say European socialism works" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
AMY HOLMES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: In point of fact, Democrats did talk about healthcare endlessly. President Obama went out on the stump talking about, "Pass this bill, pass this bill." Bill Clinton said once it was passed it would become popular. Bill Clinton now, he confesses that he made a mistake, that it has not become more popular.
BILL MAHER, HOST: It's been kicked in for two days...
HOLMES: It's become less popular, and here's why.
MAHER: ...and most of it doesn't kick in till 2014. Could we wait till people see it before we can judge whether it's popular?
HOLMES: You're asking why...
MAHER: Please, sorry.
HOLMES: But you're asking why Democrats are not campaigning on this. Because in the next 40 days with a bill that is hugely unpopular, it's not good for their re-election process.
MAHER: It would be popular if they would talk about it. They could have, if they could stand up for what they believe they could have passed Medicare for all. That's what they should have done. What they should have said is insurance companies have a million other things to insure. They insure your car and your house and if it rains and there's a flood and an earthquake and Betty Grable's legs and a million other things. They don't need to also insure life. Life should be off the table.
HOLMES: They talked endlessly about it and their agenda was rejected by the American people, that's a simple fact.
MAHER: Because they're stupid.
And here's where it got good. Readers are strongly advised to watch the video to see Maher's expression when Breitbart nails him:
ANDREW BREITBART: So you're, you're officially not a Libertarian anymore, right? I mean, this position...
BREITBART: ...has run so far from the Libertarian position. Is this, so you admit that you have more of a, you know, European socialist leaning perspective on this issue?
BREITBART: Why is that funny?
The look on Maher's face at this moment said it all:
MAHER: I'm, I'm not afraid, it's not, I'm not afraid to say European socialism works.
Exactly. Quite a strange position for a man that claims to be a Libertarian.
In the end, Bill Maher has been hiding behind a Libertarian veil for years, but the reality is he's liberal through and through.
No self-respecting Libertarian would support the government expansion Maher does. Far from it.
And on September 24, 2010, Andrew Breitbart exposed Maher for what he really is.
Nicely done, Andrew. Bravo!
*****Update: Hot Air's Allahpundit chimes in:
The funniest thing about this? I'm not sure Maher does know. He knows he's more socialist than libertarian when it comes to health care, but as a general proposition about how he self-identifies, he seems hesitant when Breitbart puts it to him. That's a testament, I think, to how intellectually attractive the libertarian brand is, ironically almost in inverse proportion to how successful it is at the polls. Democrats bristle at the "socialist" label but tell any Republican pol or pundit except Mike Huckabee that he's a "libertarian" - especially in the year of the tea party - and he's likely to agree, albeit with qualifiers. And why not? The brand means free markets, property rights, civil liberties, and most importantly for Maher, permissiveness towards drug use and sexual behavior. The Constitution + fun = crazy delicious. And because libertarianism tends to operate in popular debate as a critique of mainstream conservatism (even though, of course, economically it's a much sharper critique of liberalism), it's a useful way of endorsing certain elements of the GOP agenda without endorsing the entire rotten GOP brand, essentially shorthand for saying, "I like capitalism but I'm too thoughtful to be a Republican." None of which is meant to impugn committed libertarians like the Reason crew, just guys like Maher who dig the label and the slight charge of dissident chic that it carries so much that they're reluctant to part with it, even after they've (d)evolved into center-left Democrats.