Bill Maher Returns Tonight with Guest John Edwards

Bill Maher’s show returns on HBO tonight. Maher was interviewed by Salon where he criticized both the surge and the response by the Democrats:

The politics of the surge is something I wanted to ask you about.

Yes, that did anger me terribly. Whenever I get that anger, that feeling in my gut, I do wish I was on the air, I do wish I had a platform to vent. And it made me very angry that this man, this president of ours, knows better than the whole goddamned world what to do. The ego of that.

The ego of saying I’m going to send in 21,000 troops — or however many, we don’t even know.

The people in Iraq don’t want this. The people in America don’t want this. The Iraq Study Group doesn’t recommend it. The Democrats are against it. Most of the people in his own party are against it, even though many of them wouldn’t say so out loud. But George Bush, he knows better. That is a kind of arrogance that is very hard to swallow at this point, especially when it’s costing this many lives. Even the pope — remember he said something bad about the Muslims a few months ago? The infallible pope came out and said, “Geez, my bad. That came out wrong. I didn’t mean that.” Yeah, the pope can say he’s sorry, but this recovering alcoholic from Midland, Texas, he can’t even say he’s wrong.

How do you size up the way the Democrats have handled the maneuvering around how to block the surge?

It looks gutless from the outside. I’m not a parliamentarian, so I don’t know the ins and outs of how that kind of business is conducted in Washington. I’m sure there are difficulties I don’t know about. But just as a citizen who watches the news every night, when he hears seven more U.S. troops were killed today… “Goddamn!” — it looks like all that hopefulness we felt in the fall, with the election and the Iraq Study Group, was for naught. And I’m on the page with — I guess it’s Edwards who’s most vocal about saying — use the power that you have in the Constitution.

Which is, cut the money.

And the reason why the Democrats won’t cut the money is that they’re always afraid how something will look. In my view, the fatal flaw of the Democrats is not having confidence in their own ability to make a case, to say, “We’re not against the troops when we’re cutting the money. Of course we’re not going to abandon them on the battlefield with no money and no weapons.” It’s not that hard a case to make, to decouple the idea of cutting funding from the idea of abandoning the troops.

Maher will have John Edwards on, and he has a far better opinion of Maher than of Hillary Clinton:

John Edwards, he’s been on the show a number of times, and he’s the real deal. Anyone who does our show, I think it means they’re not afraid to be challenged and to have to think on their feet and to be nudged out of their comfort zone. There are an awful lot of politicians who only go on places where they know they’re going to get the softball treatment. But if you do our show, if you do Chris Matthews’ show, to me, it says something about the confidence you have to make your case. And again, that’s what the Democrats need, I think more than anything: the confidence to make the case, to say, “If I disagree with your policy, it doesn’t mean I oppose the troops.” If you have an exterminator come over, and he starts hitting the vermin with a hammer, individually, and you say, “I don’t think this is the way we should go about this” — you’re not for the rats.

[Laughs] Right. Do you think we’ll see Hillary Clinton on your show this season.

I think if they’ve resisted me this long, I’m not going to hold my breath.

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