Fareed Zakaria: 'Bill Maher One of the Sharpest Observers of American Politics Out There'

As NewsBusters previously reported, Fareed Zakaria on November 5 marvelously exposed comedian Bill Maher's staggering ignorance of politics.

Exactly one month later, on the CNN program bearing his name, Zakaria contradictorily said, "I find Maher to be one of the sharpest observers of American politics and life in general out there" (videos follow with transcripts and commentary):

FAREED ZAKARIA: "Politically Incorrect" was the name of the show Bill Maher hosted in the 1990s. It's also an apt description of the man himself. Now host of eighth HBO's hit show "Real Time", I find Maher to be one of the sharpest observers of American politics and life in general out there. It doesn't mean I always agree with him. I always find him funny, though. 

Really?

Well, here's what happened the last time they were on the same set together on HBO's "Real Time":

BILL MAHER, HOST: I thought it was interesting the Blue Dog Democrats who, that’s a nice term, Blue Dog. What it really means is Democrats who act and vote more like Republicans. Very conservative Democrats. They lost on Tuesday. Those people who said, “You know what, I’m not with Obama. I disavow him even though he’s my president in my Party.” They lost. What does that tell you? You know, it tells me that this election was lost when Obama didn’t back the public option. To me, that was the one key thing that said to the people, “You know what? This is no different than Al Gore Democrats, the old Al Gore playbook. Let’s run from our achievements, and let’s not stand for what we believe in."

FAREED ZAKARIA, TIME AND CNN: I think it stretches imagination though Bill to think that fundamentally, if you look at this election and what happened, basically as you, as you mock them, Independents broke, broke for the Republicans. It’s difficult to imagine an Independent saying, “I’m going to vote for extremely right-wing Republicans because Obama wasn’t left-wing enough.” Right? You see what I’m saying? They’re saying, instead of saying, “I’m going to vote for Obama who was left of center, I’m going to go to the extreme right of the political spectrum.” I think it’s more plausible to say that they perceived rightly or wrongly that he had moved too far left. My view, the going doing healthcare itself gave people a signal he was concerned about the kind of things Bill O’Reilly was saying: social justice. Because look, fundamentally, 85 percent of the country has healthcare and worries about cost. Fifteen percent doesn’t and worries about access. What he did was he dealt with the issue of the fifteen percent before he dealt with the issue of the 85 percent.

MAHER: Among that 85 percent that has it, a lot worry that they will lose it.

ZAKARIA: They may.

MAHER: If you lose your job you lose it.

ZAKARIA: They may.

MAHER: Or if the insurance company chooses to screw you because of a spelling error, you lose it. In fact, the public option, the public option in January of ’09 polled at 73 percent approval, wanted the public option. A year later, 53 percent because the Republicans…

ZAKARIA: The healthcare plan was generally speaking not very popular from the get go.

MAHER: That’s not true. That’s still not true.

ZAKARIA: It had between 40, 48 percent support. It never really crossed 50.

MAHER: That’s not, I don’t believe that’s true. I think…

CONGRESSMAN DARRELL ISSA, (R-CALIFORNIA): Those darned polls, they just lie.

ZAKARIA: You think if he had done a single payer system, all these guys who voted for right-wing Republicans would say, “Hallelujah! This is what we wanted. Now we don’t like Christine O’Donnell?” It just doesn’t make any sense!

DANA GOULD, COMEDIAN: No. He campaigned on the healthcare program. He campaigned on healthcare.

ZAKARIA: But why would they vote for right-wing Republicans? They would vote for people who were more left-wing than Obama not people who are right-wing. They would have to be truly confused.

So which is it Fareed: Is Maher "one of the sharpest observers of American politics and life in general out there" or truly confused?

As Zakaria exposed Maher for not having a clue why independent voters broke so strongly for Republicans in the midterms, the answer seems quite obvious.

Maybe Fareed forgot his last "Real Time" appearance when Maher once again showed himself to be nothing more than a comedian pretending to know what he's talking about.

Makes you wonder what else escapes Zakaria's memory when it fits his agenda.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.