Behar & Maher Fret ‘Tragedy’ That Jimmy Carter ‘Vilified,’ IQ Test to Stop O’Donnell, Tax Hike ‘Heals the Economy’

Appearing as a guest on Tuesday’s Joy Behar Show on HLN, comedian Bill Maher praised Jimmy Carter as "a better proponent of what Democrats actually believed in," and asserted that it was "fantastic" when Carter bragged about never taking military action against anyone during his tenure, as the HBO host complained about the modern day Democratic party. Maher: "He was a better proponent of what Democrats actually believed in. He was saying the other day, I heard him on 60 Minutes say that during his administration they never fired a shot, not a bullet, not a missile. He said, you know what, I thought, as the world's superpower, we had the obligation to be the peacemaker. I think that's fantastic. What a choice that would be for a voter because we don't have that kind of choice."

Host Behar complained: "And the tragedy is that Jimmy Carter has been vilified as the worst President in the United States history, practically, besides George W. Bush, of course, and it's really not very nice for people to say that."

During a discussion of Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell in which Maher took shots at her religious beliefs, he declared, "I need someone in the Senate who believes that global warming is real and the Earth is not 6,000 years old," leading Behar to add, "I know. It's true. I mean, maybe they should be given an IQ test before they can even run."

Maher also voiced support for raising taxes on the wealthy, claiming that increased taxes "healed" the economy in the 1990s. Attacking the credibility of supply-side economic theory, he dismissed the benefits of cutting taxes on the wealthy as he declared that the wealthy would use their money to purchase more boats, seemingly oblivious to the fact that middle class people build boats and therefore benefit financially when they are purchased by the wealthy. Maher:

Obama just wants to go from what it is now, 36, to what it was under Clinton, 39. And I was saying it’s a win-win because people with that much money don’t even feel that three percent tax raise over $250,000. And it heals the economy. It happened in the ‘90s when Clinton did it. ... That is the biggest canard ever that it trickles down. Give me a break. Rich people don’t do that. They put it in the bank or they buy a boat-

The discussion eventually returned to more religion-bashing:

MAHER: Well, they're well versed in what, you know, they cherry-pick little things that they probably read in a pamphlet, but trust me they have, they have never read the Bible cover to cover. I don't know if anybody could read the Bible and still want to be a religious person. It is a book that is filled with immorality, wickedness, and then just plain silliness.

BEHAR: Uh-huh, well, the other day I was having a conversation-

MAHER: But there's a lot of wickedness, there's a lot of-

BEHAR: Yeah.

MAHER: -God acting like a psychopath and just ethnically cleansing people and wiping people out and-

Below is a transcript of relevant portion of the Tuesday, September 28, The Joy Behar Show on HLN:

JOY BEHAR: He hates hypocrisy. He hates religion. But, most importantly, he hates stupidity. And we love to listen to him. He’s Bill Maher, and he’s got something to say about everything. Good thing because there is a lot of news today I want to ask him about. So welcome to the show, Bill Maher, host of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher.

...

BILL MAHER: But we have a microphone, and we like the President, but we want more. It’s our job to hold his feet to the fire. But when it comes time to vote, okay, that’s the time when you say, look, the talk is over. Talk is cheap. Now we have to make a choice. We only have two parties in this country. So we have to grow up and realize there is a difference between a disappointing friend and a deadly enemy.

BEHAR: Right.

MAHER: And when you look at the accomplishments, you know, of the administration, they’re actually pretty impressive. It’s really been a better year or two for liberals since the ‘60s. I mean, they did get health care through. It’s not the perfect bill, but it is a start. It’s about as much as I guess we could do in this climate. I mean, they got banks from, to stop being the middle men in student loans. They got a credit card bill of rights, they pulled out of Iraq, they had a flat lining economy that they at least have up and running again. There’s been a lot of stuff to be happy about, and the Democrats are just awful at bragging about their own accomplishments. The Republicans run on their screw-ups, and the Democrats stay quiet about their accomplishments.

BEHAR: That’s true. That’s true.

...

BEHAR: Well, who’s going to be the tough guy in the White House now, Hillary? I mean, who have they got?

MAHER: Well, I don’t know if you need a tough guy. I think you would need a guy like Bill Clinton who can make the argument. That is what they’re so bad about doing, is making the counterargument. Jimmy Carter, you know, who was always portrayed as this weak, ineffectual President, you know, he’s out plugging that book, so I see him all around. You know, he was a better proponent of what Democrats actually believed in. He was saying the other day, I heard him on 60 Minutes say that during his administration they never fired a shot, not a bullet, not a missile. He said, you know what, I thought, as the world’s superpower, we had the obligation to be the peacemaker. I think that’s fantastic. What a choice that would be for a voter because we don’t have that kind of choice. People say there’s not enough bipartisanship. There’s too much bipartisanship. If both parties are for using the army in Afghanistan to fight terrorism, that’s not too much bipartisanship. That’s not enough.

BEHAR: Well, and the tragedy is that Jimmy Carter has been vilified as the worst President in the United States history, practically, besides George W. Bush, of course, and it’s really not very nice for people to say that.

...

MAHER: She was on Politically Incorrect 22 times, and I’m apparently the only one who has every episode of Politically Incorrect. It’s good to be a hoarder. You know, we released the witch one the first week and last week the one where she says that, you know, come on, why don’t monkeys evolve right before our eyes? Like you could sit at the zoo and watch the chimp become a human? You know, whether, I have more, you know, we could put together a montage. It’s funny stuff, but I don`t want to make my show the Christine O’Donnell show, so I don’t know what we’re going to do this week. We might show one. We might not. I just think it’s important for people to assess that this person could be in the Senate. You know, there’s only 100 Senators. Those votes count. And, you know, I need someone in the Senate who believes that global warming is real and the Earth is not 6,000 years old.

BEHAR: I know. It’s true. I mean, maybe they should be given an IQ test before they can even run.

...

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BEHAR: I`m back with the star of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. You know, I’m a huge fan, Bill. I watch you every week, and I’ve been on your show. Maybe I’ll come back-

MAHER: As I am of you.

BEHAR: Okay, darling. But, you know, the other night, you were talking about millionaires and how annoying they all are. You took on Ben Stein and Forbes, right? What’s your beef with Ben Stein specifically?

MAHER: Well, these rich people-

BEHAR: Go ahead. I’m sorry.

MAHER: Well, it’s that rich people are whining-

BEHAR: Right.

MAHER: -about Obama’s plan to merely raise the tax rate on the richest one percent, basically, three percent. I mean, it’s insane how, how they react, how they overreact. We’re talking about a three percent raise from 36 percent to 39 percent just for the richest people. Now, under Eisenhower the richest people paid 90 percent tax rate. Under Nixon it was 70 percent. Obama just wants to go from what it is now, 36, to what it was under Clinton, 39. And I was saying it’s a win-win because people with that much money don’t even feel that three percent tax raise over $250,000. And it heals the economy. It happened in the ‘90s when Clinton did it.

BEHAR: Well, what about this rap that they keep giving on the right about how you have to, you know, give tax breaks to these rich corporations and people so that it’ll trickle down in jobs? It didn’t during the Bush years, so why would it happen now?

MAHER: That is the biggest canard ever that it trickles down. Give me a break. Rich people don’t do that. They put it in the bank or they buy a boat-

BEHAR: Right.

MAHER: -or a bigger boat. This idea that we have to give the money to the rich people because then they’ll create jobs with it. No, they’re much more likely to cut jobs, mergers, and outsourcing. These are all, hiring immigrant labor, these are all ways to squeeze the middle class and make more money for them. That’s why we have this unbalanced economy that we have now where we have the very rich, just a few people who have more money than they could ever do anything with, and the rest of the people trying to find a second job at a yogurt shop.

...

MAHER: This is not news to me because this is exactly what I found out when I was on the road for a few months in 2007 making my documentary Religulous. What we found out talking to endless numbers of religious peoples that they know absolutely nothing about religion because they don’t want to know. Religion is all about sticking in fingers in your ears and humming. They don’t want to hear what the reality is. They want to believe what they believe. It’s not about critical thinking. I mean, faith is the purposeful suspension of critical thinking. I always ask the question: Why is that good? Why is it good when people brag about, "I have faith, I’m guided by my faith"? Every President says I’m guided by my faith. If there was a crisis, what would you do? Pray. Oh, good. I’m so reassured that if there was a crisis, the first thing you would do would be to try to telepathically communicate with your imaginary friend. That’s what we need in a crisis.

BEHAR: You know, the tragedy of that also, as you point out here a little bit, is that we’ll never have an atheist as a President. And even in running for the Congress you cannot say that you don’t believe. They won’t vote for you. I mean, there’s-

MAHER: Right.

BEHAR: -a new prime minister who is a female in Australia, and she’s an avowed atheist. She was elected. This country is way behind on that particular topic.

MAHER: Way behind. And, as I also tried to point out in Religulous, the biggest minority that gets absolutely no respect in this country is atheists and agnostics. They are at least 15 percent of the country. They are a bigger minority than blacks, Hispanics, Jews, National Rifle people, teachers, you know, gays, you name the minority, it doesn’t, it’s not quite 15 percent. And yet they have absolutely no voice.

MAHER: They talk about how there’s no Protestants on the Supreme Court. Who cares if there’s no Protestants on the Supreme Court? What they are, all are believers in something. So when you’re having a case of, you know, the First Amendment, church and state, yes, they have a, they have a stake in this because they believe in some sort of a church or a temple.

BEHAR: But, you know, you were saying that the religious people that you interviewed for Religulous ... But they’re uninformed, and yet they can quote chapter and verse of the Bible a lot of times and give you some kind of like story about Noah ... and also things about gay people. You know, they seem to be well versed on that. How come?

MAHER: Well, they’re well versed in what, you know, they cherry-pick little things that they probably read in a pamphlet, but trust me they have, they have never read the Bible cover to cover. I don’t know if anybody could read the Bible and still want to be a religious person. It is a book that is filled with immorality, wickedness, and then just plain silliness.

BEHAR: Uh-huh, well, the other day I was having a conversation-

MAHER: But there’s a lot of wickedness, there’s a lot of-

BEHAR: Yeah.

MAHER: -God acting like a psychopath and just ethnically cleansing people and wiping people out and-

BEHAR: Yes.

MAHER: -just, you know, that, I was pointing out on the show Friday night the Ten Commandments. You know, this is the ultimate list of the ten things right from God, and it doesn’t include rape, incest, or genocide. That’s okay. That’s not on the top ten. But apparently swearing, working on Sunday and building statues to other gods, those are the things that are important.

BEHAR: Okay, thank you, Bill, always a pleasure to hear from you. Keep up the good work.

MAHER: Okay, Joy. Thank you.