Often, it seems that the real specialty of political talking head debate shows is the ability to bring together a group of people with no apparent rhyme or reason behind their selection. And while a certain Great American Panel is perhaps the best example of this, the roundtable debate on tonight’s Real Time with Bill Maher stands among the unlikeliest. Here, under one roof, we had Maher, Ann Coulter, sometimes-MSNBC-fill-in host Chris Hayes, author Amanda Foreman, and…Chaz Bono. Yes, this was odd.
Luckily, Maher knew how to make sense of it all: by talking about Bill Maher. He devoted a significant chunk of time to Fox News contributor/psychiatrist Keith Ablow’s accusation that Maher is especially hard on political and media figures like Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin because he’s anti-woman. Maher, of course, disagreed: “I have greater hatred for idiots.” Coulter disagreed with that. Maher chided Ablow for having “no sense of humor” and invited him on his show. We’re not holding our collective breath.
The panel also briefly touched on the News of the World scandal and the Casey Anthony trial – or, as Maher called her, “Casey Anderson.” But to us, the most intriguing part came near the end of the Ablow discussion, where Coulter explained why she eschews psychiatry: her belief in God. This seemed an odd leap to make, and Bono called her out on it:
“Believing in God and psychiatry – how are those two things opposed to each other?”
So, on a panel full of people paid handsomely to give their opinions on the issues of the day on television as their jobs, one could make a strong case the best, most cutting piece of insight came from one of the few people on said panel who doesn’t do any of that for a living. There’s probably a profound lesson on the level of our political discourse in there somewhere. Video of the segment below, via HBO.
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