Bill Maher lashes out at ‘Teabaggers’ identification with ‘Founding Fathers’

Saturday, January 15, 2011 12:04 EDT
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‘They were not the common man of their day’

Comedian Bill Maher took issue with the Tea party’s identification with America’s “Founding Fathers’ at the end of the season premiere of his cable show Friday night.

“I think it’s pretty clear that the Founding Fathers would have hated your guts, and what’s more, you would have hated them,” he said, seemingly speaking directly to the followers of the right-wing astroturf group.

He continued, “They were everything you despise. They studied science, read Plato, hung out in Paris, and thought the Bible was mostly bullshit.”

But Maher made some revisions of his own. In bashing FoxNews pundit Glenn Beck’s fixation for dressing like Thomas Paine, the comedian described the 18th-century revolutionary as an atheist when he was in fact a self-described deist.

Maher also mixed it up with the Founders whom he said aren’t like the “Teabaggers.”

“One is a group of exclusively white men who live in a bygone century, have bad teeth and think of blacks as three-fifths a person, and the other are the Founding Fathers,” he said.

To Maher, another key difference between the Tea party and the Founders is one of class which carries with it sophistication.

“The Founders disagreed amongst themselves about [slavery] and most issues, but the one thing they never argued about was that political power must stay in the hands of the smartest people and out of the dumbest loudmouth slowing down the checkout line at Home Depot,” he said.

Maher’s attack comes after the top financier of so-called Tea party movement, American oil tycoon David Koch, recently admitted that he believed his followers are like him.

“There are some extremists there, but the rank and file are just normal people like us,” Koch of Koch Industries told ThinkProgress in a recent interview.

Maher went on to criticize former Republican vice president nominee Sarah Palin for her attack last year on lawyers and President Barack Obama. He mentioned a handful of Founders who were lawyers.

“They were not the common man of their day,” the comedian quipped.

He continued, “Ben Franklin studied scientific phenomenon like lightning and the Aurora Borealis, and were he alive today he could probably explain to Bill O’Reilly why the tides go in and out.”

O’Reilly, a conservative pundit for FoxNews, in an argument with an atheist activist recently claimed that the cause of the oceanic tides remains a mystery to humans.

“I’ll tell you why [religion is] not a scam,” O’Reilly said. “In my opinion — alright? Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that. You can’t explain why the tide goes in.”

Maher concluded, “And Thomas Jefferson was an astronomer and physicist that founded the University of Virginia, played the violin and spoke six languages or as Palin would say, ‘All of them.’”

This video is from HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, broadcast Jan 14, 2011, via Mediaite.

With reporting by Stephen C. Webster.

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  • Anonymous

    I could say the same to you about cattle paddocks if you truly believe that “morals” develop in a vacuum and that the Judeo Christian worldview, moral system and values had no influence on our system of laws and morals and constitution. That view flies in the face of the facts and history. I said that Western Civilization was formed and informed by the Judeo Christian ethic, morals and worldview. Other civilizations/societies have different moral systems and ethics and worldviews. All societies, throughout history have had a moral system and a religion, some which destroyed them. Not all morals that develop out of “social interaction” are good for liberty, life and the pursuit of happiness.
    Muslims have a system of laws called Sharia and a worldview that is inimical to ours and was developed out of hatred. Unless you believe in what they do you are an infidel and subject to forced conversion and slavery or immediate death.
    There is no tolerance of other views and religions in Islam. Our country was colonized by Christians of many sects; they wanted above all to escape the state religions and state religious dictates of England and France and Spain et al. Our nation was founded on the worldview, laws and values of Christianity, as was all of Western Europe, that which had escaped an/or recovered from the Muslim wars to convert the world to Islam. Islam is still out to crush us and the whole world, if you have been paying attention to what the Muslim clerics have been saying.
    You remind me of what Churchill said of a particularly obtuse political rival. I paraphrase “You sometimes trip over the truth by accident, but pick yourself up and continue on as though nothing happened.”

  • Anonymous

    “These men were exceptional, they had to be because history necessitated it so….” History necessitated???? Is history a god? How anthropomorphic. Did history necessitate Karl Marx? He greatly affected history. How about Jesus, Moses, Abraham? How about Stalin, Lenin, Mao? John Locke, Calvin, Luther?

  • Anonymous

    “I could say the same to you about cattle paddocks if you truly believe that ‘morals’ develop in a vacuum…”

    No, you couldn’t, because if that were the whole, sole truth, then your own religious beliefs, morals and quirks, and those of every other religion on Earth, would also have to had to develop in that very same vacuum. What vacuum are you even talking about?

    “Not all morals that develop out of “social interaction” are good for liberty, life and the pursuit of happiness.”

    True, but not all morals born of religion are good for liberty, life and the pursuit of happiness, either. Which only proves my point that religion wasn’t directly responsible for all of society’s morals. Those views may have contributed to the final morality, but it didn’t create or invent morality and cannot claim total authorship.