In advance, let me correct one likely misimpression. My fury against Bill Maher here is not based on his admittedly mild (though very misleading) joke about Revolt Against Plutocracy (RAP) and our Bernie or Bust pledge on his Real Time show. To clarify things for readers, here is what Maher said about RAP (quoted from the Raw Story article just cited):
"Maher explained that some of Sanders' supporters have pledged to refuse to vote for Clinton if she is the Democratic Party nominee, calling it the 'Bernie or Bust' campaign. Instead, they urged progressives to vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, among other alternatives.
"'On their website, they say they're revolting against the plutocracy,' the host said. 'No, actually you'll be helping elect a plutocrat who's revolting.'"
Maher's implication that "plutocrat who is revolting" applies only to Trump and not with equal or greater force to career influence peddler Hillary Clinton is of course deeply misleading. Clinton herself being a "revolting plutocrat" is precisely what made RAP's co-founders insist on a political revolution much larger in scope than Bernie Sanders' mere campaign--one rejecting Clinton every bit as much as French sans-culottes rejected Marie Antoinette. More on that point soon.
But far from resentment on RAP's behalf, my immediate reaction to Maher's gentle mockery of our pledge was closer to jig-dancing jubilation. After all, there's no such thing as bad publicity. For a grassroots movement, conjured into existence from an OpEdNews article and two activists scheming on Facebook, seeing our logo displayed on Bill Maher's show was nearly as big a coup as Bernie Sanders winning Michigan. RAP's grassroots revolutionaries were, after all, born without silver spoons, and here was Bill Maher, current possessor of quite a silver spoon, publicizing our movement on national television.
Indeed, I was forcefully reminded of Paul Simon's brilliant 1970s timepiece, "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard"--above all, of the following lines:
"But the press let the story leak
And when the radical priest
Come to get me released
We was all on the cover of Newsweek"
See, prior to Maher's show, Bernie or Bust--either the movement or our specific pledge--had recently been mentioned (numerous times) in such big media outlets as Huffington Post and Salon, even internationally in the Guardian . RAP co-founder Victor Tiffany had even been interviewed on FOX Business News. Given Maher's standing an establishment liberal powerbroker--no one ever goes broke serving the establishment--even the cover of Newsweek was perhaps no longer beyond the Bernie or Bust movement's aspirations.
So with establishment bigwig Maher giving the Bernie or Bust movement such great free publicity, what has me as RAP co-founder so furious? It's not his rather harmless joke against RAP, but rather, the dangerously deceitful message of the segment in which that joke appears.
See, as a seeming maverick who's in reality a well-paid member of the Democratic Party establishment, Maher reliably defends what's acceptable to that establishment--even if what's acceptable is immoral, unconstitutional, and dangerous. In return, Maher's allowed to "run with scissors" for his maverick brand, even up to the mildly risky point of endorsing Bernie Sanders for president. Provided, of course, that he toes the establishment line in pretending there's no great difference between Sanders and Clinton and in making no real effort to actually get Bernie elected. So for example, you'll never hear Maher call out the supposedly progressive Democrat pols who lined up like lemmings to endorse Hillary Clinton. And you'd fully predict Maher's defense of Liz Warren's cowardly fence-sitting while Bernie--the only full-throated defender of her own supposed principles--gets sacrificed to the Clinton machine Moloch. If the Democratic establishment lets Bill Maher run with scissors, it's only because they know he's ready when needed to stab them in progressives' backs.
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