Scarborough Asks Maher How to End 'Mutually Assured Destruction' of President-Bashing

Newsweek decided to let Bill Maher and Joe Scarborough interview each other for their year-end edition – with predictable results. Scarborough chummily agreed he could run for president with Bill Maher on his ticket:

MAHER: You know, I guess what we need is an independent leader. Maybe you and I should run together on a unity ticket, Joe?SCARBOROUGH: I think we could do that. [Laughs] MAHER: The unity ticket of Scarborough and Bill Maher. I'll be happy to be the vice president because you have experience in Congress and I don't really want to get up before noon.

Scarborough tried (without much success) to get Maher to slash Obama from the left. He agreed that it was foolish for Obama to attempt to pacify the right, since he was too young and too black:

MAHER: He was never going to get the conservatives. I mean, I don't know why he spent the amount of time he has so far in his administration currying the favor of people who don't like him. Someone has to give him a memo that says, "They're just not that into you." You are the wrong age, the wrong party, the wrong color. They're just never going to get behind you. So, you know, I hate to say it, but I agree with your boy Pat Buchanan. If Obama was in Congress still, he would have been against this troop buildup in Afghanistan. He would have been with Kucinich.SCARBOROUGH: But let me correct you. Pat Buchanan is not my boy, Pat Buchanan is America's boy, OK, Bill? MAHER: [Laughs] Certainly not America's boy.

Scarborough pitched a bipartisan consensus against Bush wars:

SCARBOROUGH: You know, speaking of Pat Buchanan, who certainly understood where populists were in '92 and again in '96: Buchanan seems to believe that Americans are exhausted by war, after eight years in Afghanistan and Iraq. Don't you think the president could unite progressives and conservatives like George Will, Pat Buchanan, and myself by actually having the courage to stand up to the generals and say, "You get 18 months and no more. [Then] bring the troops home." MAHER: Well, yes. His own top military guys said there's probably less than 100 Al Qaeda [in Afghanistan]. So why can't we call up George Bush and get the old Mission Accomplished banner and put it up and march right out of there? You're right, it might unite progressives and conservatives.

Scarborough continued his moderate-Republican mission by suggesting conservatives need to get their rage removed, like it was a bad pimple:

SCARBOROUGH: You've heard this theme as well. For eight years Republicans worked around the clock to delegitimize Bill Clinton. For the next eight years, Democrats tried to delegitimize Bush. Now Barack Obama is enduring the rage of his conservative opposition. How do we step back from a political system that seems to promote mutually assured destruction, regardless of whom we elect? MAHER: Well, I would take some issue with that question, and this is something conservatives like to do, which is to spread it around equally when that's not really the case.SCARBOROUGH: Here's the problem, though, Bill. Hold on, Bill – MAHER: Do you really think if there was a terrorist attack on the order of 9/11, Republicans would rally around Obama like Democrats did around Bush?SCARBOROUGH: Yes. MAHER: You do?

Scarborough ended by pleasing Maher (and all the atheists and agnostics at Newsweek by engaging Maher on religion, his DVD trashing religion, Christmas, and his sexual memories of Christmas:

SCARBOROUGH: Well, speaking of our favorite topic this holiday season, what are your thoughts about God? Do you believe in any supreme being in any form? MAHER: Joe, I put this all in my movie Religulous. It's on DVD.SCARBOROUGH; I know. But you wouldn't do our show.MAHER: It's the perfect stocking stuffer for the secular-minded person at Christmastime. Christmas is a national holiday, and I don't object to the holiday. Of course, I have wonderful memories of Christmas when I was a child, and it's a great time of year for family to get together. That's a nice thing. Families should bond. But also to reassess. It's a good time to say "Oh" and take stock and say, "Gee, how was I ethically this year?" That's the problem with faith, Joe. What it does is it kind of screws up your priorities. Your priorities shouldn't be saving your own ass, which is the focus of Christianity. The focus should be, I'm a good person, and I do that just for the sake of being good. Like the Christmas song says, "Be good for goodness' sake."SCARBOROUGH: OK, final question from me. You talk about the fact that you had good Christmas memories. Do you have a favorite?...Going back to your childhood? I'm trying to help you here with all of the people you've pissed off already. So give me your favorite Christmas memory. MAHER: I don't know about a specific one, but what I remember was a Christmas tradition, which was playing Robert Goulet's Christmas album. My mother was a big fan of Robert Goulet, and so many housewives were in the 1960s, Joe. I don't know if you remember that at all, but Robert Goulet was quite the matinee idol. In fact, I once flew my mother out to Las Vegas to have dinner -- we all had dinner together – Robert Goulet, his wife, my mother, and I. It was the thrill of her life. It was the best Christmas album, we just wore that thing out. I remember after Christmas we had a party, which was odd, because it was a Christmas party, and my father was very Catholic but my mother was Jewish. It was all the Jewish relatives who lived in the area, so they came to the Christmas party, and then they would leave and we would all be exhausted. And we would all just sit there, and [enjoy] the glow of the fire, the fire on the TV – we didn't have a fireplace – and listen to the Robert Goulet Christmas album.SCARBOROUGH: It doesn't get better than that, Bill Maher. MAHER: And then I would go upstairs and masturbate.
Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis