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March 02, 2005

Did the Left's Paradigm Shifting All Begin With Bill Maher?

Just after the State of the Union and the Iraqi elections, I caught a Hardball interview with Bill Maher that I had always meant to transcribe. I never got around to it, until last night.

Bill Maher isn't funny, and he's a shamelessly partisan hack, but he does occasionally call bullshit on the excesses of the left. He serves usefully, once in a while, as a canary in the coal mine of leftist lunacy.

And he seemed to be reconsidering the Iraq War as far back as February fourth.

Regarding Bush's SOTU, he said:

What I was more interested in was the shout-out to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, I thought that, I was way surprised by that, and I applaud that. I mean that's good to give both guys a little nudge.

Chris Matthews then ponders how difficult it is to tell the sons of Arab despots that their oldest sons can't simply succeed them as rulers, given that Bush succeeded his father. Except, of course, he didn't; there was a President named Clinton between them, and except for the fact that Bush was elected twice and did not "succeed" his President-King dad, a fact apparently forgotten by Matthews, or possibly challenged by him as being a fact at all.

At any rate, that idiocy out of the way, Matthews then asks, "But are you willing to give the President a modest asalute for the success of the [Iraqi elections on January 30]?" To which Maher answers:

Absolutely. And I think he did the right thing by sticking to the election ddate, because postponing it wasn't going to help.

And I think some of his sentimental rhetoric [about freedom] was borne out. I mean people really do want a different way of life there.

I think a lot of us forgot when we went into Iraq that Iraq was not a backwater like Afghanistan, not a country that was recently in the Middle Ages like Saudi Arabia. They picked Iraq, of course they lied to get us there...

See the below post on Jon Stewart's whine for an answer to that bit of kneejerk hackery.

...because [Iraq does] have a middle class society. And Baghdad could be Beirut. Beirut was known as the Paris of the Middle East before the civil war. Cairo, I think the people in Cairo, Egypt, are looking at that election and go, "Wow! How bad are we doing now?! Iraq has pased us. Now they're having a real elections; we don't have one yet."

I think places like Teheran, even, in Iran, if you got rid of the mullahs, Baghdad, Cairo, these are cities that really could be European cities. [Cities that] hat really coud be someplace that would change the world.

Two points:

Why does Bill Maher feel he has to tell us which countries Teheran and Cairo are located in?

And he pronounces "mullahs" as "Moolahs," which Bush just took some ribbing for by the left. I doubt they'll nail Maher on his similar mispronunciation.

He concludes with the standard disclaimer:

However, having said that, I don't think it's necessarily true that this election over in Iraq has achieved the goal that we're all looking for, which is to make us safer.

Little bonus: After the break, Chris Matthews noted that the Iraqis had to dip a finger in indelible ink to prove they had only voted once, and they had to show ID. He wondered why we didn't have the same system in the US, to keep people from voting multiple times in the cities.

Maher and Matthews remain jackasses, but give Maher credit for at least admitting the possibility that the elections in Iraq could change the political dynamic throughout the Middle East-- and for doing so well before Thomas Friedman told him it was now officially Safe and Socially Acceptable to admit this.


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posted by Ace at 02:43 PM

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