If there’s a bigger charlatan currently working the American political reality show than Bill Maher, I can’t think of him. These days, you’d probably get called a “racist” or a “misogynist,” even for using the term “politically correct,” but for the “politically correct,” support for Hillary Clinton, like dropping a coin in John Tetzel’s coffer, means instant forgiveness of your sins. The fact that Bill Maher got his start in the 1990s hosting a show called “Politically Incorrect,” where a frequent guest was the antisemite and white supremacist troll Ann Coulter, has, therefore, been flushed down the memory hole.
“As soon as coin (vote for Hillary Clinton) in coffer rings, soul from purgatory springs.”
After losing his show Politically Incorrect in the wake of 9/11 — he remarked that the nineteen hijackers weren’t cowards but brave men — Maher rebranded himself from edgy centrist to Bush hating liberal. Even though Democrats like Hillary Clinton voted to support the invasion of Iraq, at some point in 2003 or 2004 just about everybody outside the Republican Party seemed to hate George W. Bush. It was a damned good attitude to have. George W. Bush is a war criminal who belongs behind bars. Nevertheless Maher, who despises working-class Americans, and who out and out hates Muslims, was never very liberal. So when Christopher Hitches, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and the neoconservative “new atheist” movement took advantage of just how sick we were becoming of evangelical Christians — remember Terri Schiavo? — Maher jumped on their bandwagon, releasing a tedious, and theologically illiterate film called “Religulous.” In spite of how most genuine liberals eventually got sick of his thinly veiled racism and full-throated and vicious Islamophobia, his career has been unstoppable. His new show “Real Time With Bill Maher”not only continues to run on HBO, but is still popular on social media. Phil Donahue, by contrast, who lost his show during the run up to the invasion of Iraq, has been banished from the airwaves.
Now, like so many charlatans before him, Bill Maher has rebranded himself yet again. While I doubt that he’ll change his opinions on Islam any time soon, he has found a new demon, Donald Trump. Don’t get me wrong, Donald Trump is a thoroughly evil man who divides Americans against one another, and is probably a better target for Maher’s hostility than a whole religion, but he’s not the devil. If he wins the election this Tuesday, it will mean a meaner, more vulgar political landscape. Immigrants, working-class people and black people will suffer as a result, but it’s not going to be the end of the world. Hillary Clinton, in turn, while perhaps less of an obvious white supremacist than her opponent, is not Jesus Christ. Yet that is exactly what Maher is arguing, that we are on the threshold of a fascist new order, and that Hillary Clinton, far from being just another corrupt, ruling-class politician, is our savior. This makes it necessary, Maher insists, that we forget about the recent history of the Republican Party. Donald Trump has changed everything, even the past. Maher, like Saint Paul on the road to Damascus, has suddenly seen the light.