Here's the thing about Real Time with Bill Maher. Even if you agree with every position he takes, you're still going to run up against Bill Maher's general obnoxiousness at some point or another. And that's part of what keeps this show entertaining and fresh.
More Moyers on Maher
Bill Moyers is almost like the anti-Bill Maher. Politically, they are aligned pretty tightly, but while Maher is crass and confrontational, Moyers is soft-spoken and folksy, and more willing to reason with those who have opposing views. As a progressive, I kind of wish more people saw Moyers as the spokesperson for the left wing, as opposed to more abrasive, funnier people like Maher and Jon Stewart. He really comes across as a voice of reason, while those others guys, no matter how correct and their beliefs, are entertainers first and foremost.
Bill Mixes it Up
Even more than Stewart, Maher is committed to having opposing voices on his show. His two main guests this week may have been old lefties Moyers and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, but on his panel, he had iconoclastic former governor and stealth GOP presidential candidate Buddy Roemer and conservative Matt K. Lewis of The Daily Caller website, who's apparently written something called The Quotable Rogue: The Ideas of Sarah Palin in Her Own Words, and no, Maher confirmed, it is not a joke book. The third panelist was former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat. This balance tends to keep things lively.
Maybe Too Lively
This was one of those episodes where the panelists, especially once Sanders joined them, raised their voices and talked over each other a lot. Maher tried to keep them in line, but things got away from him as they discussed the Republican. They all agreed that there's too much money in politics, though they disagreed on President Obama's culpability. Maher whined about online piracy of his movie, Religulous, in his discussion of the failure of SOPA/PIPA. There was a funny bit about state tourism campaigns, and Maher discussed the results of a poll that showed Republicans more willing to vote for a gay candidate than an atheist, and 39% would vote for Tim Tebow over Romney.
It was a lively episode, and they addressed wealth inequality, the elephant in the room that, with all their debates, the Republican candidates are understandably loath to discuss.
"It's also a blow to his campaign manager, Capt. Francesco Schettino."
--Maher, in the monologue, on Rick Perry's withdrawal from the Republican primary.
--Roemer on the Republicans' choices.
"He said, 'I am not a philanderer. I am a b