by Steve Young
Say what you want about Sean Hannity, the guy can snap your argument in half from twenty paces away. I'm not saying he'd be right - after all, it's pretty difficult to remember all ten minutes of any of his loaded questions - but the guy does his homework and he uses the information so that his audience walks away feeling vindicated.
Not so much for Bill Maher this past Friday.
Full disclosure here: In the old comedy club days, Bill worked for me, sometimes for as much as $75 a show. And back then $75 would be worth over a hundred today. And Today, I am a "Real Time" toady. In fact I've called on Bill to go 5 nights a week with "Real Time," for which, I'm sure, his writers would be thrilled.
Bill is as much a necessity in the punch a hole in the world of bullshit biz as Jon Stewart. But Bill's satirical bite has always delivered much more a clench-fisting "yeah!" for fans than a Stewart or Colbert guffaw does. He not only finds the funny but when he does he takes no prisoners.
Except for this past Friday.
One of Bill's guests on the "Real Time" panel was Congressman Jack Kingston (R, Ga). You would have thought that he was a FoxNews Consultant on Fox and Friends. And no matter how many lies (Republican talking points) he threw out, Maher, for the most part, let them fly past unchallenged.
Kingston has been a guest on several of Maher's shows for years, and while I don't remember how he faired on previous shots, my guess is if he got away with murder the way he did Friday, Howard Dean would have had a warrant out for him.
Here be some of the beauties Kingston got away with and WMDS (What Maher Didn't Say) that were needed to be said.
Kingston: Obama refuses to place his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance.
What Maher Didn't Say: It wasn't the Pledge of Allegiance where Obama didn't have his hand over his heart, Jack. That was a right wing hoax caption on a photo. It was during the Star Spangled Banner. There's no nationalistic stipulation that your hand goes over heart during the National Anthem. And please, don't give me he could have if he really was a patriotic American. The point is here that the Right needed to fake a point to make one.
K: (On how McCain has taken on the far-right) What left wing group came out against Hillary or Obama?
WMDS: Are you kidding? Have you ever read the Huffington Post, Jack? Hillary is slammed 24/7 by most on the Left. You think the Rush Limbaugh smashes her? Those aren't wrinkles on Hillary's face. Those are scars from shots fired from Alec Baldwin.
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K: McCain reaches across the aisle. Hillary or Obama don't.
WMDS: Hey, Jack. Even Mr, Conservative Orin Hatch says that Hillary constantly works with the Republicans. Doesn't reach across the aisle. If she wins the nomination, don't be surprised if she names the most conservative Republican as her VP... Joe Lieberman.
K: Castro is popular with the anti-Bush Left in America. Obama wants to hug Raoul.
WMDS: Jack. There may be some who supported Castro, but painting the entire Left that way is patently false. And have you seen Raul's uniform? I don't think he's changed it in since Batista was in power. You think Obama wants to get those Oleg Cassini suits he wears covered with 50 years of Fidel's cigar smoke?
K: Obama wants to bomb Pakistan.
WMDS. For crissakes, Jack.. What did you do, memorize Karl Rove's guide to f*ck the American people before you came on? This is pure McCain talking point. Nothing in any Obama speech mentioned "bombing Pakistan." He called for small, SOP-type incursions to get anyone who had terrorized America. But "bombing Iraq?" Plain, simple scare tactics that I thought you were better than.
About the only talking point that Bill caught and threw right back was Kingston's and the Republican's only red-herring that supports Bush. "We have not had a domestic attack since 9-11." Bill's "Well, I'm wearing green socks again this week and I haven't gotten cancer," was what he should have been flinging out all night. It was perfect, but that was about it. And unfortunately, Amy Walter of the National Journal, the only lib of the panel's threesome, seemed to have only read the Wall St Journal this past week, for she sat silent through everyone of Kingston's lies.
In the web-only, post-show, Real Time Overtime segment, Bill seemed to find his legs and called Kingston on the FoxNews "Oh my Lord, Obama doesn't wear a flag pin" outcry. Kingston wasn't wearing one either.
Problem is, how many people run from their paid HBO cable to watch on their computer? Then again, it might be a good thing if you didn't see it. It's where Bill told Kingston, "You've always been straight with me."
Wonder if Bill will feel the same way after he watches the tape?
I'm not saying that Bill should Hannity it. Sean twists the truth to work for him. Maher had the untwisted truth on his side and for some reason he chose not to use it.
I just hope that Bill rebounds this coming Friday. If not, I'm going back to Fox and Friends for my hard-hitting, fact-based satire.