HBO's Vile John Oliver: ‘Ted Cruz Can Suck My Balls’

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Liberal Last Week Tonight host John Oliver devoted much of his show Sunday night to advocating for an end to the filibuster; echoing an argument made by several Democratic presidential candidates.  In addition to delivering a plea to abolish the filibuster, Oliver spent part of his monologue trashing Republicans in the most vulgar way possible. At one point, the vile host sneered, “Ted Cruz can suck my balls.”

Oliver began his public service announcement on the filibuster by complaining that “The last major social program passed into law was ObamaCare a decade ago.” The HBO host blamed the “low level of production” when it comes to the passage of social programs in the Senate on “one incredibly annoying legislative tool,” namely, the filibuster rule, which Oliver described as “that thing where a Senator stands and talks endlessly” in an effort to stop legislation unless 60 Senators agree to end debate.   

While arguing that the filibuster has “become an overused tool of political obstruction,” Oliver expressed horror that as a result of the filibuster rule, “Senators from the 21 least-populated states, representing just 11 percent of Americans, could overrule everyone else; which seems pretty extreme.” Oliver proceeded to go through all of the arguments in favor of a filibuster and attempted to debunk them one by one.

 

 

Oliver’s monologue was also loaded with insults at Republicans. After playing a video of Ted Cruz’s speech filibuster of ObamaCare that included a reading of Green Eggs and Ham, Oliver mocked his performance by reciting a vulgar parody of the Dr. Seuss children’s book: “I do not like that man Ted Cruz, I do not like his far-right views, I do not like his stupid chin, I do not like his smarmy grin, I do not like him with a beard, I do not like him freshly sheared, I do not like Ted Cruz at all, that man Ted Cruz can suck my balls.”

Oliver blamed the filibuster for the death of “meaningful legislation” including “the Manchin-Toomey gun control bill...the Paycheck Fairness Act...(and) the public option in ObamaCare.” While Oliver admitted that abolishing the filibuster may backfire for liberals when Republicans are in power, he concluded “it is a risk worth taking.”

After he finished complaining about all of the liberal legislation thwarted by the filibuster, Oliver played a clip of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying “think of me as the grim reaper.” Oliver informed McConnell, “You don’t have to tell me to think of you as the grim reaper. It’s like if Donald Trump said ‘think of me as a bunch of trash bags from a Cracker Barrel dumpster brought to life by an ancient curse when a clown f***ed a car alarm.’ I’m way ahead of you there, buddy. I already think of you that way.”

The Republican bashing did not stop there. When highlighting the risks of abolishing the filibuster, Oliver referred to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as “Justice Sourpuss J. Boofs-a-lot.” While Oliver pretended that he opposes the filibuster because it does not let the Senate “address America’s problems,” his monologue made it clear that he opposes the filibuster because it has prevented the passage of liberal legislation.

Oliver has a history of hammering “racist,” “evil” conservatives. Click here for more. 
 

A transcript of the relevant portion of Sunday’s edition of Last Week Tonight is below. Click “expand” to read more.

Last Week Tonight

09/08/19

11:23 PM

JOHN OLIVER: The truth is, the Senate doesn’t pass many major laws these days. You could argue the last major social program passed into law was Obamacare a decade ago. And that low level of production is largely thanks to one incredibly annoying legislative tool; not actually this tool, although he is certainly at fault. I’m referring to the filibuster. So…so that is what we’re actually going to look at tonight. Or, if you’re watching this on YouTube, this morning. Or, if you reached for the remote the moment I said the word “filibuster,” goodbye, and I completely understand.

(LAUGHTER)

OLIVER: A filibuster is any tactic aimed at blocking a measure by preventing it from coming to a vote. Fun side note: The word “filibuster” is derived from the Dutch word for “freebooter,” which basically means “pirate.” And I didn’t even know there were Dutch pirates, but I’d absolutely watch a movie about them. “Avasht, me mateysh, batten down ze hatchesh. And remember, dead men tell no talesh.” If you are at all aware of the filibuster, you probably know it as “that thing where a Senator stands and talks endlessly.” It’s often been presented in TV and movies as a heroic act, like when Jimmy Stewart talked himself to exhaustion in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

(…)

11:25:05 PM

OLIVER: The thing is, that movie made the filibuster seem like a good idea, just like how “The Wizard of Oz” made going on a trip with a furry, a vagrant, and an ax-wielding robot seem like a good idea, but in real life, it’s only a good idea if you know them. But the modern filibuster is nothing like the Jimmy Stewart version. It’s become an overused tool of obstruction, and in practical terms, it essentially means that a simple majority of 51 votes isn’t nearly enough to pass legislation. If you don’t get 60 votes for a bill, it’s dead; which means theoretically, Senators from the 21 least-populated states, representing just 11 percent of Americans, could overrule everyone else; which seems pretty extreme. So, to quote everyone who’s ever sat in a bathroom stall with a three-inch gap in the door, why on Earth was it designed this way?

(LAUGHTER)

OLIVER: Well, people…people often claim that it goes back to the founding of the country. It’s an argument that runs like this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY CORDES: You may wonder why the Senate has this 60-vote rule when it’s a straight majority rule in the House. Well, the answer is that the founders meant it that way. The Senate was designed to be the “cooling saucer,” where the two parties were forced to work together and hence that 60-vote threshold.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLIVER: Okay, so there’s a few things to know about that and the first thing is that it is not true. There is nothing about a 60-vote threshold for legislation in the Constitution, nothing about it in the Federalist Papers, nothing in Jefferson’s private letters, and nothing skillfully rapped by Alexander Hamilton to the delight of everyone within earshot.

(LAUGHTER)

OLIVER: In fact, some historians say the filibuster was created by mistake, and even then, the first one didn’t take place until 1837. So, it was categorically not part of the founders’ original vision. It’s like claiming the day Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, he also sent the first dick pic. No, no, he didn’t. That development came much later…two weeks later.

(…)

11:28:06 PM

OLIVER: But it is true that the Founders wanted the Senate to be a counterweight to the House. They achieved that, though, by having fewer members who serve longer terms; six years, not two…and, until 1913, not having them directly elected by the people. So, if keeping the filibuster is not following the Founders’ wishes, why do we still have it? Well, some argue that it preserves the Senate’s ability to be a bastion of debate; as this Senator explained in 1952.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR ROBERT KERR: The Senate of the United States is the last open forum in the world where the rights of all minorities can be fully and freely and completely debated. And while I would never, and have never, taken part in a filibuster, neither would I take part in an effort which would…which would result in depriving any minority group in this country from having their cause fully discussed and fully debated on the floor of the United States Senate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLIVER: Okay, so first, the Senate’s reputation as a haven of gentlemanly debate is at best overblown. In the 1800s, Senators pulled pistols on each other; and at one point, a Congressman used a metal-topped cane to beat Senator Charles Sumner nearly to death. So, feeling nostalgic for the golden age of the Senate is like feeling nostalgic for ‘90s indie films, then actually watching “Chasing Amy.” ‘Cause, set aside the notion that any lesbian can be magically turned straight if the right guy comes along; what’s extra-offensive in hindsight is the idea that that guy would be Ben Affleck.

(LAUGHTER)

OLIVER: But…but that…that guy also touched on another major argument for the filibuster there, that it protects minority rights. Although it is worth noting that the minority whose rights have historically been protected by the filibuster are the political minority, who’ve often used it restrict the rights of racial minorities. The Senate’s own website calls the filibuster “particularly useful to southern Senators who sought to block civil rights legislation,” and it was used most notably by Senator Strom Thurmond.

(…)

11:30:29 PM

OLIVER: He wanted to debate it “indefinitely.” His goal wasn’t to consider every aspect of the bill…his goal was to kill it. He’s like a five-year-old saying “I shall pull the legs off this bug so that every facet of it may be discussed and considered at great length.” No. That little psycho just wants to watch a bug die.

(LAUGHTER)

OLIVER: And Thurmond knew just how obstructive a filibuster could be. In 1957, he stalled another civil rights bill by speaking for a still-record 24 hours and 18 minutes straight; while, according to some accounts, he had his aid wait in the cloakroom with a pail so he could relieve himself while still keeping a foot on the Senate floor. And it’s almost impressive to take a morally disgusting act and somehow make it physically disgusting too. It’s like if Hitler had delivered all his speeches while publicly clipping his toenails.

(LAUGHTER)

OLIVER: Now…now, modern filibusters actually no longer contain the David Blaine-esque feat of endurance element and that is because, in the ‘70s, in the interests of efficiency, Senators agreed to no longer require talking filibusters, you know, in the style of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” or “Mr. Thurmond Goes to the Bathroom in a Bucket.” Instead, now, if you just signal your intent to filibuster and have 41 votes on your side, a bill is doomed; which is not to say that Senators don’t still sometimes choose to stand and talk for hours…it’s just that when they do, it’s often a publicity stunt or a protest; like when Chris Murphy spoke for 15 hours to draw attention to gun control or Rand Paul filibustered Obama’s nominee for CIA Director for 13 hours, pausing only to eat fun-size candy with spectacular incompetence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR RAND PAUL: Which had previously brought a challenge in federal court...

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: …to the legality of the authorization to target Awlaki in Yemen, released the following statement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLIVER: How on Earth are you eating something so small that badly?

(LAUGHTER)

OLIVER: I mean, it didn’t even present the challenge of a regular candy bar. We’ve all gotten into the quagmire of a normal-size Milky Way and not being able to get out until everything we know and love is covered in caramel. We’ve all been there. But that was fun size. It should’ve been easy. Although I will say this, at least Rand Paul stayed on topic, unlike when Ted Cruz filibustered against Obamacare. And when you watch this, remember, the stated argument for this tactic is it is supposed to be a vital means of facilitating a full and robust debate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR TED CRUZ: “I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them, Sam-I-Am. Would you like them in a house? Could you like them with a mouse? I do not like them in a house. I do not like them with a mouse. I do not like them here or there, I do not like them anywhere.”

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLIVER: I do not like that man Ted Cruz, I do not like his far-right views, I do not like his stupid chin, I do not like his smarmy grin, I do not like him with a beard, I do not like him freshly sheared, I do not like Ted Cruz at all, that man Ted Cruz can suck my balls. But…

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

OLIVER: But again, again, again, Cruz and Paul didn’t need to do that, and when you combine the fact that it’s now easier to filibuster with the increasingly partisan nature of the Senate, it’s frankly no surprise that its usage has skyrocketed. If you look at the number of cloture votes, which is a good way to measure filibuster use, the number during Eisenhower’s term, here, was two, whereas in Obama’s eight years here, there were 506, which kind of undercuts the final argument made in favor of the filibuster, that it encourages bipartisanship; that…that if you have to get 60 votes to end debate on a bill, the parties will just have to work together. But the reality there is, that is simply not happening. Thanks to the filibuster, many pieces of meaningful legislation, some with bipartisan support, have died, from the Manchin-Toomey gun control bill to the Paycheck Fairness Act to the public option in Obamacare. We’ve reached a point where Senators don’t so much brag about what they’ve passed as brag about what they are going to obstruct. Just watch Mitch McConnell promising a room of supporters that the Green New Deal and Medicare For All won’t even see a vote if they ever end up in his chamber.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL: None of those things are gonna pass the Senate. They won’t even be voted on. So, think of me as the grim reaper…

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONNELL: …the guy who’s gonna make sure that socialism doesn’t land on the President’s desk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLIVER: Okay, Mitch, you really don’t have to tell me to think of you as the grim reaper. It’s like if Donald Trump said, “Think of me as a bunch of trash bags from a Cracker Barrel dumpster brought to life by an ancient curse when a clown fucked a car alarm.” I’m way ahead of you there, buddy. I already think of you that way. So, to recap the main arguments in favor of the filibuster: “We’ve always had it.” No, we haven’t. “It enables debate.” No, it doesn’t. “It protects minorities.” Not the ones you’re thinking of. “It encourages bipartisanship.” Not even close. It has become so difficult to pass a law, the big issues of our day are now being handled by other branches of the government. Major issues, from immigration to climate change, are being decided through things like executive actions and court rulings. So why keep the filibuster? Some presidential candidates, including Pete Buttigieg, Steve Bullock, and Elizabeth Warren, want to get rid of it. But before you get too excited about some of your favorite Democrats, and also Steve Bullock, calling for it to be abolished, you should know, so has this guy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We have to get rid of what’s called “the filibuster rule.” We have to.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And if we don’t, the Republicans will never get anything passed. You’re wasting your time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLIVER: Exactly.

(LAUGHTER)

OLIVER: And there is just nothing that can make you question one of your beliefs quite like Donald Trump unexpectedly sharing it.

(LAUGHTER)

OLIVER: Although…although I will point out, there are endless opinions that a person can have. Inevitably, a few of them will overlap with Donald Trump’s. For example, he and I both enjoy a good hamburder…we do. We…we both think James Comey is a big pasty goober…it’s true. And neither of us are willing to Google Tiffany Trump’s birthday. We’re not completely different, he and I. But the fact that Donald Trump is in favor of ending the filibuster is a good reminder of the serious risk here: the side you agree with won’t always be in power. Abolishing the filibuster would make it easier for everyone to do things, including people you might not agree with, and there have been hard lessons in this regard recently. It used to be possible to filibuster judicial nominations. That was rolled back, even for the Supreme Court, and one consequence was last year’s 50 to 48 confirmation of Justice Sourpuss J. Boofs-a-lot.

(LAUGHTER)

OLIVER: So, look, this is undeniably a gamble, and you may well feel that it’s just too risky. But personally, I have come around to thinking that is a…a risk worth taking. The Senate is supposed to address America’s problems, and the filibuster is making it basically impossible for them to do that. And some have suggested merely reforming it; maybe going back to forcing Senators to pay a physical price and stand and talk for hours again. But as we have seen, some Senators are more than happy to do that, even if they don’t have to. And do you really want to hear more of Ted Cruz creepily reading you bedtime stories? Or watch Rand Paul battle fun-sized candy to a draw? No, no, you don’t. So that is why I’m arguing, despite the risk, that we should get rid of the filibuster.

 

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