Maher Trashes Republicans: 'If You Drew a Venn Diagram of Insane and 21st Century Republican, It Would be a Circle'

During Friday’s edition of Real Time With Bill Maher, the eponymous host concluded his satirical segment “new rules” with a lecture to potential independent 2020 candidate Howard Schultz; which basically ended up as a five-minute monologue trashing the Republican Party. At one point in the monologue, Maher asserted that “if you drew a Venn diagram of insane and 21st Century Republican, it would be a circle.”

The monologue began with Maher issuing a message directly to Schultz: “new rule: instead of saying both parties are equally to blame for the mess we’re in, just admit you haven’t really followed politics for the last 20 years.” Maher went after Schultz’s premise that both sides have become too extreme, citing an article from “highly respected scholars” named Norm Orstein and Thomas Mann describing the Republican Party as “ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science.” Maher agreed with their analysis, concluding that “Congress is not broken. The Republican Party is broken,” as the crowd erupted into thunderous applause.



Maher accused Schultz of not doing his homework when he blamed both parties for the debt, pointing to President Bill Clinton leaving office with a surplus without mentioning that Republicans controlled Congress and therefore the budget at the time. After bringing up “Pizzagate” and “birtherism,” Maher made his point that “if you drew a Venn diagram of insane and 21st Century Republican, it would be a circle.” The camera then panned to one of Maher’s guests, former Republican Congressman Jack Kingston; who obviously disagreed with that analysis. Maher promised Kingston that he would have chance to make a “rebuttal” during “Overtime.”

Maher took issue with Schultz’s notion that “both parties engage in ‘revenge politics,’” claiming that “it wouldn’t have even occurred to Democrats that you could simply refuse a President to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.” Maher was obviously referencing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to hold hearings for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, which occurred during a Presidential election year.



Believe it or not, it has occurred to Democrats that you could “simply refuse a President to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.” Apparently, Maher forgot about the Biden rule; which then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden invented back in 1992. Biden declared in a speech on the Senate floor that “action on a (hypothetical) Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election is over.” At the time, Republican President George H.W. Bush was running for re-election; which he ultimately lost to Democrat Bill Clinton. In other words, Biden, like McConnell, made the calculation that his party might have the opportunity to appoint the next Supreme Court Justice if they won the Presidential election; therefore, they had an incentive to keep any vacant Supreme Court seat open until after the election. Nonetheless, Maher concluded that “both parties are not extreme...that’s extreme.”  Using his own standards, Maher should have described Biden’s decision as “extreme” but he didn’t.  After all, consistency would not cause his ultra-liberal audience to erupt into applause.  

A transcript of the relevant portion of Friday’s edition of Real Time is below. Click “expand” to read more.

Real Time With Bill Maher


10:49 PM


BILL MAHER: And finally, new rule: instead of saying “both parties are equally to blame for the mess we’re in,” just admit you haven’t really followed politics for the last 20 years. Now, everyone is mad at Howard Schultz for thinking he can be the barista-in-chief, but nobody’s attacking his central premise: That we need an independent because both sides have become equally extreme. Now, I’m not here to pick on Howard; I don’t believe in kicking billionaires when they’re down. And besides, there’s some professional courtesy involved; I also was once a drug dealer. 


MAHER: But this idea of “a pox on both their houses” is just factually wrong. There’s a pair of highly respected scholars named Norm Ornstein and Thomas Mann who’ve been analyzing Congress for half a century, always criticizing both parties in equal measure. But then around 2012, they started writing something very different; summed up in their article: “Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.” They wrote “The Republican Party has become an insurgent outlier…ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science.” Exactly. Congress is not broken. The Republican Party is broken. So…


MAHER: So when I hear Howard Schultz say “We are sitting, today, with approximately 21.5 trillion of debt, which is a reckless example, not only of Republicans, but of Democrats as well,” it’s obvious he just hasn’t done his homework. Bill Clinton left office with a surplus. Obamacare was paid for, and Obama’s bank bailouts, necessary because of a Republican recession, were paid back. Reagan, W. and Trump all ran up huge debt with tax cuts for the rich, and their party continues to practice trickle-down economics long after evidence has shown it not to work. Yes, evidence. 


MAHER: Only one side generally trades in reality anymore. Trump has made over 8,000 false or misleading statements as President…nothing like this has ever happened before. Yes, all presidents lie to a degree, but Trump is in a world of his own: he’s Bob Beamon at the ‘68 Olympics, breaking the long jump record by two feet! He’s Babe Ruth, hitting 59 home runs when the previous record holder had 27. He’s, he’s, he’s Tom Brady winning six fucking Super Bowls. 


MAHER: But this leveling of truth is a war being waged on democracy by only one side. 51 percent of Republicans still believe in birtherism! I once joked that Trump was the son of an orangutan…


MAHER: …and he sued me for it, but it didn’t become a foundational belief of the Democratic Party. 


MAHER: A majority of Republicans believe Hillary ran a pedophile ring out of a pizza parlor, they believe three million people voted illegally in 2016, they believe reverse racism is a bigger problem than racism. If you drew a Venn diagram of insane and 21st Century Republican, it would be a circle. 


MAHER: After, you’ll get your shot after the show; in Over, in Overtime, you’ll get a rebuttal. Howard Schultz says both parties engage in “revenge politics,” but it wouldn’t have even occurred to Democrats that you could simply refuse a President to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. Mitch McConnell did that. He said, I know it’s in the Constitution, I don’t care, make me. Both parties are not extreme…that’s extreme. 


MAHER: Al Gore conceded the 2000 election for the good of the country. Would Bush have? Would Trump? Only one party thinks it’s okay for presidents to have a side gig as a Russian agent. Trump fired the head of the FBI for doing his job with the Russian investigation. Then he had the Russians over and laughed about it. That’s not a bipartisan problem. If Obama did it, he’d be in Supermax now trading cigarettes with the Unabomber.


MAHER: And are you really going to tell me that both sides are equally to blame for the state of the environment? One party trusts the science on climate change, and the other asks, “how can Earth be warming if I’m holding a snowball?” 


MAHER: So when you say “they’re both equally bad,” just know, that doesn’t make you a sage…it’s a stupid person’s idea of a smart thing to say; it’s a cheat that says you’re above it all when you’re really just too lazy to tell shit from shinola. It’s…


MAHER: And it is the central fraudulent idea that allowed an “outsider” like Trump to get elected. It’s one step up from “I don’t vote.” It’s like claiming that “I don’t read” makes you smarter. And “I don’t shower” makes you smell good.


Please support NewsBusters today! [a 501(c)(3) non-profit production of the Media Research Center]


Or, book travel through MRC’s Travel Discounts Program! MRC receives a rebate for each booking when you use our special codes.


Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential HBO Real Time Uncorrected Falsehoods Bill Maher Howard Schultz
Ryan Foley's picture