For Rolling Stone’s 40th anniversary magazine, one of the celebrities interviewed was the atheist, leftist HBO comedian/pundit Bill Maher. Even as Maher has long professed his support for Bill Clinton's sexual freedom (remember this gig as Clinton's talking little Willy?), he still says of Hillary, "F— them and their Clinton baggage...when the Democrats want a sure winner, John Edwards looks like it." Whoever wins for the Democrats, Maher hopes they’re good at lying to the voters:
ROLLING STONE: What’s your best case scenario for the future?
MAHER: First of all, some Democrat better win it in 2008. Then that person should go for broke and say to the people, "Now I have to tell you the truth. I couldn’t do it when I was running, because you are a bunch of babies who can’t take the truth, and you know damn well you wouldn’t have voted for me if I said that. But we’re going to take these painful measures."
The sad part of it is, the money is there to do almost anything we want. It’s not as if you’d have to raise taxes so much. If you took the money being wasted on Iraq, corporate welfare and the drug war, you would have trillions of dollars to work with. That’s the core of it. Whoever is the next president has to get at this corporate state we’ve found ourselves living in.
Spoken like a true timecard-puncher for Time Warner/HBO. Then there was the hatred-of-religion section:
ROLLING STONE: Speaking of religion, do you see people getting more or less rational in the coming years?
MAHER: Both. People are finally catching on that religion is childish and dangerous....Europe is over religion. They’re religious in name only. So the older, wiser continent, they’ve moved beyond that. But of course, much of the world has not....
ROLLING STONE: What about religion in this country? Is it becoming less of a political force?
MAHER: I really feel like there’s a movement building. This is the issue of the day, and people are beginning to understand that religion is the problem. Now, when the president shows up at a disaster site and says he’s going to pray, it means nothing. He might as well show up and say, "I’m going to hope. I’m on it – I’m going to wish it were so." It’s meaningless at best. It’s difficult to steer the ship of state toward some sort of safe harbor when at least half the people in this country essentially think we should do that by splitting open a chicken and reading its entrails. I’m suggesting we use a compass.
That sounds fairly in sync with the Edwards campaign and its tendency to hire bloggers who rage against Bush's "wingnut Christofascist base."
Rolling Stone interviewer Mark Binelli also asked if Maher was optimistic or pessimistic about the future:
You know, one man’s pessimist is another man’s realist. People say to me, "Why are you so cynical?" And I say, "I wouldn’t be so cynical if you weren’t so f—ing stupid." I’m pessimistic because I see multiple looming icebergs that we’re sailing toward, and Captain George Bush is the guy in the crow’s nest of the Titanic. He doesn’t see the iceberg. Or he sees it and thinks it’s Jesus or some s–t. There are environmental, religious, and financial disasters looming. What if they all go down at the same time? It’s not like we’re getting our s–t together on any of this stuff.
What about global warming? Don’t get Maher started:
And don’t forget, most Republican congressmen are still global-warming deniers. I don’t understand what any person doesn’t get about "You’re going to die too!" I could understand that, because they’re selfish pricks by nature: "I’ve got my own air. Why do I give a s–t?" But there’s a cloud of coal slag over China that’s so large it affects the weather. How good can business be to justify that? [Italics in original.]
Maher’s ultimately not impressed with his own influence. He concluded that he’ll look back on his career of punditry and say "You’ve heard me. I’ve made my point. I’ve had my time on the soapbox. And nobody took my advice."
Update 13:50 | Matthew Sheffield. It's good to see Maher finally come out and admit he's pulling for Democrats. Maybe now he can finally drop the "I'm a libertarian charade."