Considering everything that's been going on in the news lately, there was nothing particularly exciting about this week's Real Time with Bill Maher.
Obama Comes Out
The big topic on the show this week was gay marriage, though Bill Maher also made time for lengthy discussions of national security, and President Obama's economic record. In the monologue, Maher also discussed the recent story about Mitt Romney during his prep school days, when he allegedly led a group of boys in tormenting a soft-spoken, long-haired classmate, who later turned out to be gay. Maher expressed ambivalence about calling Romney out for something he did as a teenager, but also wondered if it wasn't indicative of a certain lack of compassion.
Clarke Comes Out Firing
Maher interviewed Richard A. Clarke, former White House advisor and author of Cyber War. Clarke is still kind of the ideal spokesperson for the Democrats, with his storied background in national security and his all-consuming hatred for the Bush Administration. He is clearly a knowledgeable guy, and discussed the CIA's recent "underwear bomber" success with Maher. I hadn't realized Clarke was quite so partisan, but he came right out and said how "important" it is (presumably from a national security standpoint) that Obama win the presidential election.
Not the Grover From Sesame Street, Sadly
I have my own issues with Grover Norquist. He's a gross distorter of truth, for one thing, and this show is not an ideal forum, because he can get away with saying a lot of stuff and no one has time to fact check, or even think too long about whether what he is saying makes any sense, as when he compares Ronald Reagan's recovery in the 1980s to Obama's recovery. Totally apples and oranges, right? Fellow panelist David Cay Johnston tried to point that out, but Norquist just went on and on with it, for what seemed like hours.
Gays and Latinos
The third panelist, Margaret Hoover, was also a conservative, but came off better because she had rational things to say about marriage equality, for one thing. (Norquist, wisely, remained silent.) Eva Longoria was the special guest panelist, and it turns out that the Desperate Housewives star is a national co-chair of the Obama reelection campaign. She was well-spoken, and seemed well versed in the issues she discussed, including immigration policy and agricultural labor.
Maher made good points during "New Rules" about how Obama's comments about marriage equality can only help him in the election, partly by forcing the Republicans to embrace bigotry.
"Billy Graham took out full-page ads in 14 North Carolina newspapers. I was shocked. North Carolina has 14 newspapers?!"
--Maher on Graham's campaign against marriage equality.
"This wasn't the only bullying he did. He also took poor kids' lunch money. Oh wait, that's his present economic policy."
--Maher discusses the story about Romney bullying in prep school.
"It matters who you elect as president."
--Clarke expresses his support for Obama.
"We spent the night trying every position Mitt could think of. Pro-war. Anti-war. Pro-choice. Anti-choice."
--Fake remembrances of one of Mitt's college girlfriends.
"Nothing gets their base stimulated like the thought of someone getting their base stimulated."
--Maher jokes about how worked up right-wing Republicans get about all things gay.