'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.