It goes without saying that HBO’s Bill Maher is no journalist. However, it doesn’t seem to be asking too much of the comedian turned political pundit in his own mind to exhibit some degree of impartiality when interviewing current members of Congress and former presidential candidates, especially four weeks before a major election. Sadly, that appears not to be important to Maher, who like his compatriot on MSNBC, has become an unashamed, predictable hatchet-man for the left.
As a result, his program disingenuously titled “Real Time” has degenerated into a safe harbor for Democrats to get free reign over the cable-waves to make any statements they want – regardless of accuracy or validity – without the risk of being challenged by the host.
Such was certainly the case Friday when Maher demonstrated an almost unbelievable lack of integrity and impartiality while interviewing Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). The questions couldn’t have been better positioned for the former presidential candidate if they had been posed by Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, or left-wing operatives Paul Begala and James Carville. In fact, this conceivably was even a new low for Maher, which for him is approaching abyss-like depths that would require liquid oxygen to be inhaled to prevent lung implosion.
In reality, there is so much that is disturbing about this interview that identifying lowlights would be as time-consuming as listing all the obscenities in a rap video. As such, what follows is the full transcript of this abomination (video link here) with a strong recommendation to have a bucket nearby just in case the virulence upsets your stomach beyond your expectations.
After some niceties, Maher asked the senator what he got his wife for her birthday. Kerry said that he took his wife to a lovely retreat in Vermont. Begin transcript:
Maher: You could have went to New Hampshire and killed two birds with one stone.
Kerry: Or, I could have gone to 1600 Pennsylvania and killed the real bird with one stone.
Maher: Well, speaking of that, speaking of that, do you run into a lot of people these days who are considering how things have gone with the bloopers and practical jokes the past few years have a lot of buyer’s remorse about how they voted in 2004?
Kerry: Uh, I actually do. I run into a lot of people. Most people as a matter of fact, except for Donald Rumsfeld. And Cheney.
Maher: And, if I may ask just one question about that election. It seems to me when you look back you would say probably that you took the high road. I mean, you could have called Bush out in 2004 and called him a draft dodger. You could have called him a deserter. Certainly, that was a lot more true than what he was saying about you. But, you took the high road, and lost. If you took the low road, do you think you would have won?
Kerry: Uh, I’ve thought about it a lot. Um, the answer is we bet, I bet that the truth was out there, that I had gotten the truth out there, and it was the wrong bet. You know, you make that kind of a decision in a campaign. I thought Americans really wanted to hear more about health care, the environment, the, energy independence, the real war on terror. And, obviously, those kinds of attacks make a difference. The great lesson is, and it’s a lesson for everybody in ’06 is don’t get ‘em an instant. Don’t give ‘em a breathe of daylight, and if I ever do anything again I never will.
Maher: Um, you famously said about Vietnam I think in 1971, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?’ Is there any reason that line doesn’t work now even more so for Iraq?
Kerry: I think its, uh, I think it’s even much more poignant today than Vietnam. The fact is that this was a different kind of choice – pure choice. This is, you know, war where the president has a policy of stand still and lose. Not in the center of the war on terror in Iraq. And where we do have the center of the war on terror, in Afghanistan and the northwest corner of Pakistan, they’re basically walking away and not finishing the job. It’s the most extraordinary contradiction. It is a deception – a war of complete and total deception, and misleading. And I think our troops have done their job, and it’s time for Iraqis to stand up and do theirs and bring our heroes home.
Maher: Let me talk about the thing that drives a lot of Democrats, liberals, and at this point maybe anybody a little crazy which is that it seems that so often the Democrat – you for example – has the right answer, as the answer you just gave, but cannot seem to win the debate with the American public. Give you an example, in 2004, talking about the war on terror, you said, “It would be occasionally military, but primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation that requires cooperation around the world.” That seems to be the right answer. It doesn’t sound as good as “We’ll put a boot in your ass.” So, what can you do differently when you run in 2008?
Kerry: Well, if I run…
Maher: I thought I’d catch you there…
Kerry: No you didn’t, I know you didn’t think so. You’re too smart to have thought you would. But, anyway, what you do is you just put a boot in their ass, period. Look, um, we’re in a very different place from where we were two years ago. We were one year away from the start of the war. Katrina has just torn away the curtain, and all of America is seeing that there isn’t, there clearly isn’t any wizard behind the curtain. This is a failed policy beyond anybody’s imagination. And I think everybody understands that now. We have a Katrina foreign policy. I mean how can these guys possibly protect the United States of America from terrorists when they can’t even protect us from Congressman Mark Foley. These people are incompetent. I’ve never seen, I’ve never seen anything like it. You know, you have the Dubai ports, you have Katrina where CNN is broadcasting what’s happening at the Superdome, and they’re sitting there trying to pretend to America we didn’t know people were there. Every step you go here, there’s a disconnect to the real lives of Americans, and I think the American people know that now, so that we’re going to have an easier time making a clearer, simpler message.
Maher: But, I have heard that before from the Democrats, and it hasn’t worked out. You for example, somehow they were able to paint you in 2004 as suspect as an American because you know, you were smart and a reader. You know, you spoke French. And you were cosmopolitan, and your wife, where was she from? All this nonsense, and um, I notice that Bill O’Reilly has a book out now, and his thesis is that there is a war between the real Americans and the people who want to be a little more like Western Europe. And my question is, what’s wrong with being like Western Europe in the ways they’re better than us. For example, you mentioned Katrina, I think if we could build levees like they do in Holland…
Kerry: I’m with you. I think that Americans have really, realized that they’re not going to going to fall prey to the games these guys play anymore. I think the card has worn thin. You know, every time something happens in America, that begins to nibble away at the perception that these guys know what they’re doing they trot out the fear card. And, and they play the fear card again and again, and every time we did something, you’d turn around and there was an orange alert, there was a red alert. There hasn’t been any, you know, I don’t think there has been any fundamental alerts since the, since that uh, since the election. But, more importantly, I think what Americans really care about is what’s happening here. They don’t worry about Europe, they don’t need to worry about Europe. They’ve seen an administration that’s screwing up the marketplace, they’re losing jobs, their health care is disappearing, their pensions are disappearing, they see executives walking away with unbelievable golden parachutes while the average worker is struggling to pay the tuition, pay the gas bill and, and make things work. So, I’m not worried about what’s happening in Europe. I'm worried about what’s happening right here. And I think that’s what most Americans are concerned about today, Bill. And, I think there’s going to be a profound shift in about five weeks when we have the elections.
Maher: I think you’re just one sexually harassed page away from having that happen.