Bill Maher on the U.S.: 'It's Still Not a Very Bright Country'
Maher’s criticism of his fellow citizens came three minutes into the 9 pm Eastern hour CNN program. King had asked him about the president’s first weeks in office and the proposed economic stimulus package. Despite the Obama administration’s various problems, Maher defended the president as “learning” and that “he certainly is the smartest guy we’ve had there that I can remember.” He also stated that the tax cuts that are part of the proposal “really are not stimulus.” The host then asked Maher, “Do you think he’s [Obama] going to solve this economic problem?” The comedian replied, “Well, he can’t personally solve anything....I mean this is a mess like -- and I don’t think they’re telling us really how -- how bad it is. I think that’s why Geithner was so vague the other day when he presented his plan, because I think he just didn’t want to say it’s even worse, because I think there would be more of a panic than there is.”
The evolution issue came up when King followed-up by asking if Maher thought the economic siutation was worse than presently believed:
KING: You think it’s worse than it is?More than a half-hour later, the CNN host brought up Governor Palin. As you might expect, Maher had an opinion on the matter:
MAHER: I think there’s every possibility that that’s possible, and certainly most economists don’t think that this stimulus plan, as it’s passed, is nearly big enough. I thought it was interesting he was -- he mentioned Darwin, you know, and --
KING: All in the same day as Lincoln.
MAHER: I think only -- I read the other day, I think only four in 10 Americans believe in evolution. It’s still not a very bright country, Larry --
MAHER: And I think it was interesting because he -- Obama has made the point recently that although politicians are disagreeing about the stimulus package and whether we should spend money -- government money now -- really, economists don’t, and it reminded me the way politicians, for years, when they talked about evolution, said well, people disagree. Yeah, people disagree. Scientists don’t disagree on evolution. There’s a consensus among scientists, just as [there’s] a consensus, really, among economists, now, that the government has to spend a lot of money.
On the other hand, Maher also had some criticism of Palin’s opponent, Vice President Biden. Earlier in the program, he told Biden to “shut up -- you don't always have to be voicing your interior monologue.” King also brought up Biden after the two discussed the Alaska governor. Despite King’s defense of the former Delaware senator (“You want someone who speaks his mind” and “Joe has been doing that all his entire career”), Maher repeated his “shut up” advice: “Well, as I mentioned a few minutes ago, he needs to, you know, not always speak his mind.”KING: And is Sarah Palin going to be a force?
MAHER: I hope so. (laughs)
KING: You want her to be a force?
MAHER: Of course.
KING: Because you’re a comic.
MAHER: Yes, because I’m a comic, and because I think she’s a real gut-check for that Republican party. I mean, a lot of them still like her. Okay, if that’s -- if that’s the road you want to go down, please go down that road. That’s more of the know-nothing road, the people who, you know, you want to have a beer with, and I think this is what we need to find out about her.
KING: She’s been critical of some conservatives lately.
KING: Gone against the grain a little lately, critical of the way she was handled by the McCain campaign.
MAHER: Why doesn’t she just go away for a while? She’s like a reality show contestant who just lost --
MAHER: And they’re always like, you know, you haven’t heard the end of me. I’m not going. Yes, you are, Sanjaya. Good bye, bye-bye. Just lay low for a while, Sarah.
KING: But she was good for you guys.
MAHER: She was good and she will be good, because, you know, I could do an entire program called ‘Another Thing Sarah Palin Doesn't Know’ --
MAHER: Because the list just went on and on. You know, she couldn’t name a Supreme Court case. She thought Africa was one country. I mean, she made Bush look like a professor, this girl.