April 14, 2010

Bill Maher discusses Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, why they're popular with conservatives and what motivates the birthers with Chris Matthews on Hardball.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. That was Sarah Palin today rallying her supporters to show their strength in November. How much influence does this lady have?

Bill Maher hosts "Real Time With Bill Maher" Friday nights on HBO, and I can`t wait to get on that show April 30th, in a couple weeks. Bill, thank you. I just wonder about Sarah Palin, and she seems to operate in a different area than most of us are used to, but in a different octave, as well. Your thoughts?

BILL MAHER: Yes. The... chalk, fingernails on a chalkboard comes to mind. But I don`t know why the mainstream media is always taking her so seriously. The conservatives had another one of their, seems to be, weekly conventions last week. And again, they polled the rank and file, who I would think would be her biggest supporters. Isn`t this supposed to be who`s for Sarah Palin? If not them, who? And she comes in third, as she did at CPAC. I think she got 18 percent. She got less than that at CPAC.

I understand why I want to talk about her. I`m a comedian and a rationalist. But I mean, what are her qualifications? Why is she this political rock star? She was the governor of a state with no people for half a term. She quit. You know, I don`t know what qualifications you need to have to be a presidential figure, but I would think it has to be something more than just a -- having a FaceBook page. So I don`t know why they take her this seriously because she is a manifestly unserious person.

MATTHEWS: Well, that windshield wiper wave of her attracts 10,000 people in Boston today on the Common. I don`t think Mike Huckabee could draw 10,000, or Tim Pawlenty or Mitt Romney in Boston, his home town. She can draw a crowd and she turns them on. And every time we watch a rally, the people in front her seem to go into some sort of a frenzy. So what`s that about? Do we ignore that? Because it seems rare in politics today.

MAHER: Yes, you should ignore that. I mean, you can get 10,000 people to...

MAHER: What? I mean, you have -- you have a section on your show called the "Sideshow." It is a -- it is a sideshow. This is a person who, when Glenn Beck asked her to name her favorite Founding Father other than George Washington, she couldn`t come up with one. You know, she gave the same answer she gave to Katie Couric about magazines, I like them all, you know?


MAHER: You know what? Let`s not even go into specifics about that one.

MATTHEWS: But when you read it...

MAHER: You know, I mean...

MATTHEWS: ... the thing is, Bill, when you -- she doesn`t know answers to questions, but -- and apparently, according to our "Sideshow" element tonight, the deal is, when she gives a speech, all questions have to be screened and approved by God knows who her camp. But yet when she gives a prepared speech from the stump, she`s talking about the Crimea. She`s talking about Ukraine, about Chechnya. She`s got opinions about Iran. It`s absolutely worldwide, the areas she`s touching on. My own belief is she`s got neocons scribbling all this stuff in crayon for her, and she`s reading it out like she knows what she`s talking about. But if you ask her one question, she doesn`t know any answers.

So, I am a little bit puzzled. But I`m not really.

MAHER: Yes. I would like to see her on "Jeopardy," Chris.

MAHER: I would love to see her and Michele Bachmann on "Jeopardy." I think it would the all-time low score.

MATTHEWS: What do you make of those two ladies when they came out and did sort of a competition? They showed up together looking -- well, they were attractive ladies. Let`s say that. And they very good at drawing that crowd up there in Minnesota, which I used to think was Hubert Humphrey and Gene McCarthy country. And now it`s that country.

MAHER: Well, I think you`re right.

I think you -- you hit on something there. They`re attractive, especially to the Republican Party, which is not known as a party that really does well with the opposite sex.

MAHER: Usually, they`re doughy white men. And I think they look on Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin as, you know, MILFs. And I agree. They`re morons I would like to forget.

MATTHEWS: Oh, my God.

Well, let`s take a look. Here`s Sarah Palin leaving the stage today in Boston. Here`s what the announcers said along those lines, Bill. I think you will have some material here. Let`s listen to what the announcers said as these -- as this -- as Sarah Palin left the stage.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you hear that, my lefty friends? You see that? Conservative women, they`re smarter than you and they`re hotter than you.


MATTHEWS: Did you pick up on that little sidebar there? They`re hotter than you, they`re smarter than you. So, now they do claim an advantage in that department of glamour for the first time, I guess, in a while. The Democratic Party used to have that edge. Now the conservative party, the -- the tea partiers are claimings the glamour edge.

Mr. Maher?

MAHER: Right. And this is the -- this is the criterion we`re using to judge our field for national candidates?

MAHER: You know, we have a terrible deficit in this country. You know what else we also have a deficit in? Female role models.

MATTHEWS: Well, I don`t know about that. We have got -- we have got the secretary of state. We have got a couple of senators from California. They`re pretty impressive. We have got a very impressive senator from Missouri and from Minnesota.

I have gotten to know a lot of them, and they`re very impressive.


MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the people that bother you. Last time I was on the show -- or the second-to-last time I was on your show, these birthers and these truthers, they don`t go away. The birthers are not going away, Bill. They still think this guy`s not one of us and they would love to prove it.

MAHER: Right.

Well, you know, they`re just another sort of strain of something we have seen many times from the right wing, who are, if anything, sore losers. You remember when Al Gore was fighting for the election in 2000 and they had those signs, "Sore Loserman"?

MAHER: If anybody is "Sore Loserman," it`s these people. They do not accept any Democratic victory as legitimate.

They did it with Clinton. Remember Paula Jones? They didn`t care, anything to get them out of office. The birth certificate stuff is their version of Paula Jones. It`s just something to get this man out of office, because, when they win, it just doesn`t count.

And, of course, it`s also based a lot on racism. Of course, if you go to a birther and say that, they hate that. If there`s one thing they absolutely cannot stand, it is being called racist. If there`s another thing they absolutely cannot stand, of course, it`s black people.

MATTHEWS: Well, let`s -- let`s connect the dots. The governor of Virginia`s talking about bringing back Confederacy celebrations, and -- and forgetting slavery, of course.

MAHER: Mm-hmm.

MATTHEWS: The governor of Texas is talking about secession. And his opponent is talking about nullification and interposition. The A.G. down in Florida`s talking about, what, the invasion of the state`s sovereignty because of the health care bill.

A lot of pre-Civil War antebellum lingo coming out, dripping from the lips of these Southern Republicans. I think there is a connection, myself.

MAHER: Absolutely.

You know, I -- we talked about this on our show about a year ago. And I thought I was making a joke, and I said, you know, somewhere along the line 20 or 30 years ago, the left in this country moved to the center, and the right moved into a mental hospital.

MAHER: I said they were just a bunch of religious...

MAHER: ... religious lunatics, flat-earthers and Civil War reenactors.

But that`s actually kind of true. They -- they are Civil War reenactors. And this -- this sleazy idea that comes up over and over again now, that somehow we`re going to recast this Civil War as a states` rights thing or something about economic differences, you know, forgetting the ultimate elephant in the room, the slavery issue, that little thing.

Yes, it was an economic issue. It was the original, "It`s the economy, stupid,` because that was very cheap labor they had, Chris, very cheap labor. And that was very important to their economy.

But there was that other little issue, and they -- they kind of forget the fact that, when you are nostalgic for a period in history that was very bad to a certain group of people, it`s sort of insulting to that group of people, the same way, if you`re nostalgic for the `50s, you`re kind of forgetting the fact that the `50s wasn`t a good time if you were a woman, so much, or black or Hispanic or gay or mentally disabled. Lots of things, it wasn`t good for.

So, you know, you know, when they sing that song, "I wish I was in the land of cotton," yes, because you didn`t have to pick it.

MATTHEWS: OK, Bill Maher.

"Real Time With Bill Maher" is on this Friday night, as always, on HBO. And I will be on the 30th.

And, by the way, you are going to be up in Upper Darby on the 25th, Upper Darby right outside Philly, the home of Tina Fey. She went to Upper Darby High School. What are going to say to those people? Do you have a Philly accent figured out?

MAHER: No, but, Chris, that`s your -- that`s your area, right? You can give me some tips.

MATTHEWS: I will explain to you off the air. It`s very -- it`s always adding an extra syllable. It`s Huntington Park and Saint Joe`s. It`s Villanova. Just add an extra sound in there, it will work great with the people. They will love you more.

MATTHEWS: Up next -- Bill Maher, thank you.

Updated with transcript via Nexis Lexis.

Updated title to include the MILFs line. Chrissy didn't seem to find much humor in it. Oh well. After all the gushing he and Buchanan did over "Rodeo Queens" Palin and Bachmann he should be ashamed of himself. Get a sense of humor Chris.

(Originally posted at Video Cafe Wednesday Apr 14, 2010 5:15pm.)

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