Bill Maher closed out tonight’s season premiere of Real Time with one of his go-to bits: Tea Party (or, as he’d say, Teabagger) bashing. He hit on his usual points on the subject, like what he sees as racist sentiments in the Tea Party and religion (of which, of course, Maher isn’t much of a fan) with a slightly different conceit: he contrasted the Tea Party to the people they “believe are just like them, but aren’t”: the Founding Fathers.
It should be noted that some of Maher’s criticism was just gratuitous/mean-spirited/weird (i.e. potshots at Tea Partiers’ personal hygiene), and some was wrong (ex. calling Thomas Paine an atheist when he was actually deist). But as is Maher’s wont, it was certainly provocative, with his overarching message being:
“[T]he Founding Fathers would have hated your guts…and what’s more, you would have hated them. They were everything you despise. They studied science, read Plato, hung out in Paris, and thought the Bible was mostly bullshit.”
Maher got a crack in at the Founders as well, saying they had a moral code, but it didn’t come from the Bible…”except for the part about, ‘it’s cool to own slaves.'” And of course, he got in a dig at Sarah Palin over her line from last year that America needs “a commander-in-chief, not a professor of law standing at the lectern.” Maher quoted Palin, then rattled off a list of Founding Fathers who were also lawyers.
And Maher saved one of his better lines for near the end of the segment – in emphasizing that the Founding Fathers “were not the common men of their day,” he mentioned Ben Franklin’s scientific achievements, and said that “were he alive today, he could probably explain to Bill O’Reilly why the tides go in and out.” Maher’s assertions might not have been all on the mark, but there’s no question plenty of people will be talking about them. Watch the segment – and Martin Short serve as Maher’s personal laugh track – below.
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