Home > NewsRelease > Bill Maher Ethics And Resistance Big Lie #5
Bill Maher Ethics And Resistance Big Lie #5
Jack Marshall -- ProEthics, Ltd. Jack Marshall -- ProEthics, Ltd.
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Alexandria, VA
Sunday, August 4, 2019


HBO’s Bill Maher has exercised a downward force on national ethics since he started taking himself seriously as a pundit. We haven’t check in on Bill for a while. The non-news is that he’s as reflexively smug and vile as ever, and that his pose as a comedian is still used as cover to permit his often sociopathic political views to escape the condemnation they warrant. Let’s see…

  • In his latest show, Maher had this exchange with Democratic columnist Josh Barro:

Maher: “I’ve been hoping for a recession – people hate me for it – but it would get rid of Trump.”

Barro: “Recessions are really bad. People lose their jobs and homes and we shouldn’t wish for it.”

Maher: “I know. It’s worth it.”

Unless you think this was a hilarious exchange, you must recognize it as the position of a hateful, Machiavellian fanatic. He detests the President so much that he wants there to be a disaster harming the U.S., families, businesses and the economy  so  he can rid the nation of the President. This is no different from wishing for a plague, race riots, a terrorist attack or a war.

  • Closing his show, Maher made this pitch:

“Fatigue is the best thing we’ve got going for us. The majority of Americans aren’t tired of winning, they’re tired of looking at his fat fuckiing face! It’s hard to beat an incumbent in a good economy. Every incumbent since FDR has won if they avoided a recession leading up to an election year and consumer confidence is sky high. … The voters that Democrats need to win, moderates who have Trump fatigue, will vote against a good economy, I think, just to get back to normalcy, but they won’t trade it away for left-wing extremism….”All the Democrats have to do to win is to come off less crazy than Trump — and, of course, they’re blowing it! Coming across as unserious people who are going to take away all your money so migrants from Honduras can go to college for free and get a major in ‘America sucks.’ It’s the fatigue, stupid! Let’s make it hard for Trump to play on voters’ fears and let the fatigue win the election for us. We’ll get to the revolution, but remember, put on your oxygen mask before assisting your child.”

It is amazing how progressives—I see this on Facebook almost every day–so easily slide into using appearances as their justification for hating Trump and other conservatives. This is text-book bigotry, of course, as well as inexcusable ad hominem rhetoric. Bill also betrays, as he often does, his lazy thinking. Trump-haters like Maher couldn’t stand the sight of Trump since he began campaigning. He doesn’t have the perspective to figure out what those who are not so biased think. I find it very difficult to imagine that a lot of voters are going to reason, if one could call it that, “Yup, seems like things are pretty good, but I’m tired of looking at Trump, so let’s roll the dice with one of the Democrats.”

I wonder what Maher regards as “normalcy”? I define normalcy as an opposing party accepting the results of an election, not trying to overthrow a President for a full term, and not suing to block ever policy initiative. He’s just evoking another one of the Big Lies,” that President Trump has violated “democratic norms.” I haven’t gotten around to this one yet…wait! I did! Here’s what I wrote in February; let’s add it to the Ethics Alarms Directory of the Big Lies of the Resistance as #5: “Trump has violated democratic norms”:

The theme of “How Democracies Die” is that President Trump, unique among Presidents, is defying crucial “norms.” The authors of the book, Professors Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, were the most credentialed of the “resistance” attack dogs sicced on Donald Trump to carry a core message of the movement: unlike any other President, this one was willing to discard tradition, established practice, and “democratic norms.” The New York Times wrote about it; so did the Atlantic and others. The theme began emerging when the President fired James Comey. Yes, yes, the critics said, a President can fire an FBI chief, but Presidents don’t because of the importance of keeping law enforcement apolitical. Well OK, Bill Clinton fired one, but that was special. All right all right, every President from about 1945 to 1972 SHOULD have fired J. Edgar Hoover since he abused his power outrageously–that’s five Presidents—but Trump doing it proves he’s a dangerous authoritarian! This talking point comes from the quieter Siamese Twin of Fake News, Fake History. Every President defies previous norms, or makes up new ones, and the stronger the Presidents involved are, the more norms they shatter. Andrew Jackson threatened to lead an army into a state and hang a Senator, John C. Calhoun. No President had ever done THAT before. He openly defied the Supreme Court. he set out to kill a powerful government institution, the Bank of the United States, and did. This is only a sample of Jackson’s norm-denying conduct, but he was a transformational President, and he didn’t leave the democracy in tatters.

John Tyler defied the consensus regarding what the Constitution meant about Presidential succession when a President died. Everyone told him that as Vice President, he was just a place-holder until a special election could be held. Tyler said, in essence, “I’m President now, so bite me. The next election will be in four years.” Abe Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus and locked up a newspaper editor for publishing critical editorials. Andrew Johnson openly defied a law passed by Congress as unconstitutional.

Much of the caterwauling about Trump’s “authoritarian” defiance of norms issues from his idiotic tweeting and use of the social media platform to attack individuals and the news media. There are no “norms” regarding social media. Other Presidents didn’t use Twitter this way because, of course, there was no Twitter. I once made a list of the past Presidents who would have eagerly resorted to Twitter to fight the press and critics, or reach the public directly. A conservative list would be John Adams, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, A. Johnson, Teddy, Wilson, Coolidge (a limit in characters wouldn’t bother Cal at all), FDR, Truman, LBJ, Nixon and maybe Clinton.

Meanwhile, Woodrow Wilson shattered a norm when he addressed Congress directly with his State of the Union message rather than just submitting it in writing. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, like Teddy,  paid no attention to “norms.” Both Roosevelts used over a thousand executive orders—FDR used about a thousand a term. (Obama and Trump, who have been criticized for over-using the device,  signed 276and 119 respectively. ) He defied the two-term tradition. He defied the norm of not locking up American citizens because of their heritage. He defied the norm of not trying to change the size of the Supreme Court. He defied the rather crucial norm of not secretly plotting behind Congress’s back to send aid to combatants in a foreign war. He defied a norm by running for a term that he knew he wouldn’t survive, and irresponsibly failing to brief the  Vice President who would inherit the office mid-war, President Truman, then defied a norm by personally attacking a newspaper columnist. President Eisenhower, we now know, twice threatened to use the atomic bomb.  Jack Kennedy ignored a norm by appointing his own brother as Attorney General, and also broke one of decorum, allowing citizens to see him, indeed touch him, while he was in a bathing suit.  LBJ showed his abdominal scar to the world. Both Nixon and Clinton, trying to stave off impeachment, broke with multiple norms in their claims of executive privilege. Gerald Ford became the first President to pardon a predecessor. Jimmy Carter, in my personal least favorite norm defiance, met with ordinary citizens on TV and asked them how they would run the country. ( Carter violated a crucial Presidential norm by being a weenie.) Obama broke a valuable norms by criticizing the US and prior administrations in speeches abroad  …The point is that Presidents break norms, and norms are made to be broken…unless they are broken by President Donald J. Trump. Then doing what all strong leaders do is proof of dangerous authoritarian motives.

I’ll add this: almost all of the people who use the “norm” argument don’t know what they are talking about. I do. Levitsky and Ziblatt know what they are talking about, but they  are making the familiar case that somehow the norms that Trump has breached are more important than the ones other Presidents have violated.

Back to Maher: .All the Democrats have to do to win is to come off less crazy than Trump…and they can’t even do that” has been a catch-phrase in the conservative media for years now. The problem Bill seems to have missed is that his “resistance” soul mates have been behaving insanely for more than three years. They can’t, and won’t change now. It was designed as a joke, but people “who are going to take away all your money so migrants from Honduras can go to college for free and get a major in ‘America sucks” is a completely accurate description of what progressives now stand for, and it is the message of the party that Bill Maher has been pimping for all along.

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