What Bill Maher Said
By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson
Photo: Fox News
I may have my head handed to me for this one, but this quote from Bill Maher’s June 19 monologue, “New Rules,” on HBO is something I wish I’d written.
[… E]very time Obama tries to take on a progressive cause, there’s a major political party standing in his way: the Democrats. Now, people talk a lot about a third political party in America. We don’t need a third party. We need a first party. You go to the polls and your choices are the guy who voted for the first Wall Street bailout, or the guy who voted for the next ten.
This year, we’re hearing that a public option for health care is unlikely because it doesn’t have the support of enough Democrats. Even Ted Kennedy’s plan– Ted Kennedy, yeah — leaves 37 million uninsured. This is because we don’t have a left and a right part in this country anymore. We have a center-right party and a crazy party.
And, over the last 30-odd years, Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital.
So, what we have is one perfectly good party for hedge fund managers, credit card companies, banks, defense contractors, big agriculture and the pharmaceutical lobby; that’s the Democrats.
And they sit across the aisle from a small group of religious lunatics, flat-earth-ers and Civil War re-enactors who mostly communicate by AM radio and call themselves the Republicans. And who actually worry that Obama is a socialist.
Socialist? He’s not even a liberal. I know he’s not because he’s on TV. And while I see Democrats on television, I don’t see actual liberals. And if occasionally you do get to hear Ralph Nader or Noam Chomsky or Dennis Kucinich, they’re treated like buffoons. Okay, these are not three of the world’s most charismatic men, but then nobody is going to confuse Newt Gingrich for Zac Efron. And I have to look at his fat face on TV more often than that free credit report song.
Shouldn’t there be one party that unambiguously supports cutting the military budget, a party that is straight up in favor of gun control, gay marriage, higher taxes on the rich, universal health care–legalizing pot–and steep, direct taxing of polluters? These aren’t radical ideas. A majority of Americans are either already for them or would be if they were properly argued and defended.
And what we need is an actual progressive party to represent the millions of Americans who aren’t being served by the Democrats. Because, bottom line, Democrats are the new Republicans.
Barack Obama is a thousand times smarter, more honest and ethical, and more empathic than that creepy guy who ran against him (and may again, his adultery far enough in the past to have been all but forgotten). But I keep waiting for him to stand up on his hind legs, tell the wingnuts to go pound sand, and then threaten to keel haul some of the members of his own party (and mean it) if they don’t stand with him on the issues that got him elected — and many of them, too, riding on his coattails.
Like Isaac Asimov’s robots, elected politicians have a prime directive. Theirs is to stay elected. But why they are such wusses when it comes to issues such as a public health insurance option (which 72% of voters want in the package) is beyond me.
Hey, Democrats: Show me some backbone. Show me some loyalty to something beyond your own hind end. You, too, Obama. It’s time to whup ass.
[Hat tip to Jill Richardson and La Vida Locavore]