Bill Maher Loves Bernie Sanders: 'We Haven't Seen a True Leftist Since FDR'

The Hollywood Reporter provided Bill Maher with a platform for an op-ed hoping for a little clickbait, complete with a headline promising "Bill Maher Pens Blistering Essay." That's not quite accurate, since at the bottom it says "As told to Seth Abramovitch."

Maher's a little fond of this year's trending toward "authenticity," as if Trump ever takes an authentic position. "Trump is a petulant child, but at least that's real, they seem to be saying. Bernie, too, is as real as real gets. (So real he doesn't even own a comb.)"

Maher has hope for Trump because he's a "star-f---er." While Trump is presently on the "standard Republican moron page" on global warming, he's not worried:

One White House dinner with Leonardo DiCaprio, the big celebrity environmentalist, is all it would take. Trump, Melania, Leo, whatever supermodel Leo's with at the time. The two supermodel chicks can bond, and Melania will talk to Don that night. "Leo, he seem very smart, The Donald. Maybe you should listen to him." And the next day, Trump will switch. He does it all the time, and no one seems to care.

So that's authenticity? On Sanders:

We haven't seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena. These are people who have sat out for a long time because the Democrats became a corporatist, center-right party and the Republicans became radically right (and, of course, just plain nuts in many ways).

There's been enough "no one thought it could ever happen" stuff this year — Trump! — that until anyone proves otherwise, Bernie has earned the right to be considered absolutely viable. Will a conservative state like Indiana vote for a socialist? Probably not, but then again, as I say, this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated. They're like a sleeper cell: Let's see if they can assassinate the old way of doing things.

On Hillary:

And poor, poor Hillary Clinton. I mean she just is such a Charlie Brown figure. I could see the nomination slipping away from her again. I don't know why everyone just wants to beat up on her. If you are threatened by Hillary Clinton, you were molested by a real estate lady, I used to say. There is no other explanation because she is just not that threatening. I actually like Hillary. I think she is unfairly demonized and has been for her entire career. I personally don't think she is dishonest. And yet the hatred for her is just amazing — the hatred on the right and the abandonment on the left. She's particularly hard to watch as a candidate. (That laugh.) Yes, the hard truth is that Hillary Clinton is a terrible campaigner who is living in a different era.

The show business community in Los Angeles has always been very engaged, no matter the year or who's running. Hillary has her fans out here, but there's no doubt that the sentiment and energy are for Bernie. Key Hillary endorsements — like David Geffen's — are MIA. It's definitely cooler to be for Bernie; all the kids are doing it.

On Obama:

The Democrats are wonks — and I say that as a compliment. This idea that the Republicans have been playing since Reagan — that government is always the problem, that it only makes things worse — has been so detrimental to America for so long. Republicans hate government, but they want to be in it. Right away, that's not a good formula for success. It's one of the reasons I have never become a priest. They love, love, love America — it's the greatest country in the world and I will kill anyone who dares say different! — except when a Democrat is in office, and then it's an unlivable shithole.

Yet somehow Obama, even with the Republicans saying no to everything he proposed (including things that used to be their own ideas), still managed to get a lot done. He stopped the country from falling into a depression when it easily could have. "No Drama" Obama was exactly what the country needed in that nervous time right after the banks collapsed in 2008. And he is the first black president. I always called him the Jackie Robinson of American politics because Jackie Robinson, as the first black baseball player, had to be perfect. Obama never took the bait, not once. His personal life, private life — always above reproach. And you know they were looking for something...

I once made a $1 million donation to Obama. It was February 2012 — the first election since the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United paved the way for super PACs — and I thought the liberals had absolutely not gotten the memo that the game had changed. It was really a method to shame the richer liberals. To say, "This hurts me. I'm not that rich. So Silicon Valley billionaires, where are you?" Did my donation result in an invitation to the White House? No. It didn't result in anything, really, and that's fine. I didn't expect it to, nor should it. That's not why he should do my HBO show. He should do Real Time because it's a large, underserved, under-respected audience.

PS: As might be expected, Maher did pinch liberals in the usual sensitive spot, on Islam:

Forty countries in the world have some version of Sharia law. I just don't understand how liberals who fought the battle for civil rights in the '60s, fought against apartheid in the '80s, can then just simply ignore Sharia law in 40 countries. Apartheid was only in one. I am not anti-Muslim and never have been: I am anti-bad ideas. Killing cartoonists and apostates, these are terrible ideas and practices, and it would be lovely to think that they were confined only to terrorists. They unfortunately are not....

So no, Donald Trump is not right [on a temporary ban on Muslim immigration] — but he will win the election if the American people have to choose between his demagoguery and a party that won't even say the words "Islamic terrorism." I think the Democrats could lose on that issue alone, especially if there's another attack.

(HT: @marklarsonradio)

Bill Maher
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