Maher on Limbaugh: 'You Can Root for the Opposition Party to Fail and Not Be Unpatriotic'

The hubbub over conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh proclaiming he hoped the policies enacted by President Barack Obama fail has gone on for months. It has drawn scorn and condemnation from voices in the media and on the left.

However, one committed and very controversial lefty isn't as up in arms about it as one might have thought he would be. HBO's "Real Time" host Bill Maher told the Orlando Sentinel on April 6 Limbaugh's remarks weren't as outrageous as some of his allies on the left have alleged. However, he did manage to take one shot at the conservative radio host.

"Maher says he is surprised the Republicans didn't give Obama more of a honeymoon," Hal Boedeker, the television critic for the Orlando Sentinel, wrote. "His take on Rush Limbaugh? ‘We all say crazy stuff when we're high,' Maher says, with a laugh. But Maher doesn't criticize Limbaugh for a line about hoping Obama will fail."

Maher was promoting an April 10 appearance at the Universal CityWalk in Orlando. He explained Limbaugh should be given the benefit of the doubt, but also claimed he was frightened by the "paranoia" of "right-wingers" when they were out of power.

"You can root for the opposition party to fail and not be unpatriotic," Maher added. "He should be given the benefit of the doubt. I would say he scares me the way so many other right-wingers scare me. I don't know when they're more scary: when they're in power or out of power? Out of power, the paranoia goes through the roof. Glenn Beck talks about a totalitarian nation. They pull this out of the air. Democrats have never said boo about guns since Al Gore lost Tennessee in 2000."

 Maher has attacked Limbaugh for other reasons, claiming he was using racist rhetoric and once pondering why Limbaugh wasn't the one to die from a drug overdose versus actor Heath Ledger.

Last fall, Maher bought into the wild unsubstantiated claims that Sarah Palin's baby son was really her grandson. That earned Maher the 2009 MRC DisHonors Awards Quote of the Year award on March 20.