On PBS, Bill Maher Says America Will Regain Prestige 'Quickly' -- Once Bush Is Gone

On May 4, Bill Maher appeared on the PBS talk show Charlie Rose to denounce Bush's handling of the war in Iraq. Speaking of being greeted as liberators, Maher said America will get back its global reputation almost instantly once Bush is gone and the Carter-Clinton people are back in charge of foreign policy:

CHARLIE ROSE: Now, we`re at a low ebb in terms of our respect around the world. In your judgment, and people you talk to -- Madeleine Albright and the whole range of people -- Zbigniew Brzezinski, who come there [to Maher's show in L.A.], how long does it take, if there`s a change in administration -- which there clearly will be -- and if it is somebody that has the same belief that you do, will it take to get America back?

BILL MAHER: Quickly.

CHARLIE ROSE: That`s what I think.

BILL MAHER: I think quickly, because people want to like America. I just spent quite a bit of time overseas on my last break in December and January, and I was actually surprised to find very little animosity towards the American people.

CHARLIE ROSE: Yeah.

BILL MAHER: They all don`t like Bush. But, you know, I talked to a lot of people in London -- I mean, I was doing something where I was literally standing on the street with a microphone ...

CHARLIE ROSE: Yeah. Right.

BILL MAHER: ... talking to passersby, so I did talk to a lot of people in a lot of different places. And, you know, in places like Europe that have been around a long time, their attitude was sort of, you know, we`re England, we`ve seen a lot of bad rulers come and go. We lived through the sheriff of Nottingham. OK, you know? George Bush is ...

CHARLIE ROSE: We had Robin Hood.

BILL MAHER: Yeah, they`ll come, they`ll go.

After the praise for the Zbigniews and Madeleines, Maher also hailed Seymour Hersh as brilliant for his vision of seeing how Bush will next go to war in Iran. He then held his regular seminar on how deeply stupid the president is, and how dumb America was for putting him in the White House:

CHARLIE ROSE: Comedy deals with whatever the biggest issue of the day is.

BILL MAHER: It`s actually a hard issue to make funny, because it`s just so sad and tragic. Not that war is ever funny...

CHARLIE ROSE: But if you have got ineptitude...

BILL MAHER: When ineptitude, yes. When you add that upon it. I mean, you can -- I`m always amazed at how many times I could go to the well of George Bush as a dumb screw-up, with not just my audience, but pretty much any audience these days, and they just eat it up. There is such an antipathy towards this man...

CHARLIE ROSE: But is it because people who believe as you do who come to hear you and see you?

BILL MAHER: But those are most of the people in America now.

CHARLIE ROSE: Yes, it is the majority, isn`t it?

BILL MAHER: I mean, three or four years ago, I was in the minority, you know. And back in 1999 -- look, I`m not the best judge of character always. I don`t get every prediction right, but, boy, I had George Bush pegged.

CHARLIE ROSE: Had him pegged when?

BILL MAHER: From the very beginning. I said, this is a disaster that walks like a man.

CHARLIE ROSE: You mean when he was running?

BILL MAHER: Absolutely. From the very beginning. I could see just it, you could just see.

CHARLIE ROSE: But he was saying all those interesting things when he was running. He was saying things like, you know, we need to be more humble in our foreign policy. He was saying things like, I don`t want us to get involved in nation-building, other things.

BILL MAHER: He was reading his...

CHARLIE ROSE: He believed in the United Nations and internationalism and all that.

BILL MAHER: Well, he was reading a script, I guess, they gave to him. He said he was a compassionate conservative. He said he was a reformer with results.

CHARLIE ROSE: Do you think we`re a dumb country?

BILL MAHER: Basically. I think we have...

CHARLIE ROSE: Dumber than, say, Great Britain? Are we dumber than say, Cambodia? Dumber than, say, Venezuela?

BILL MAHER: Well, we`re a big country, so there are a lot of smart people in this country.

Just not enough to elect Al Gore or John Kerry, apparently.

Finally, for all-around strangeness, there is this exchange:

BILL MAHER: I happen to not believe in Western medicine. Western medicine is like Iraq -- it`s all about invading. It`s all about drugs, pharmaceutical drugs -- and we won`t even get into that because you know how corrupt that is -- give people pills. And cut, surgery.

CHARLIE ROSE: But all pills are not bad.

BILL MAHER: Not all pills.

CHARLIE ROSE: All pills are not bad. There are a lot of people who are alive today because they lowered their cholesterol level with -- in part with pills and in part with diet.

BILL MAHER: I would say 90 percent of it is unnecessary if you would treat your body right. Aspirin, you know, as my holistic doctor would tell you, no one ever had aspirin deficiency. The cause of a headache is not aspirin deficiency.

CHARLIE ROSE: I won`t argue that. You know, I`m out of my league now in terms of what causes a headache...but in fact, an aspirin a day is very good for...

BILL MAHER: No, it`s not. An aspirin is horrible for you.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis