Bill Maher continues to insist that his politics haven’t changed — but the landscape is shifting beneath his feet so fast that the prolific GOP-bashing host of HBO’s “Real Time” suggested on Joe Rogan’s podcast this week that even he may have a tipping point to cross over to the Republican Party.
Maher, the staunch liberal who ushered politics into late night with “Politically Incorrect” and now “Real Time” on HBO, has had taken many sojourns into centrist and center-right thinking of late. He and Rogan likened their mutual centrism to a rare form of “common sense” on the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast that debuted Tuesday.
Maher suggested that runaway government spending — and the grift that comes along with it — just might be the thing that changes his stripes. Rogan and Maher began by riffing on the enormous spending packages the federal government has floated of late, including the Democrats’ doomed “Build Back Better” package and the Trump-era COVID-19 stimulus packages, and how much of that money winds up in the hands of fraudsters and grifters.
“People would say to me, ‘Oh, you’re complaining [like a Republican] about the government spending money,” Maher said. “OK, but is there any number at which I am not tipped over to the Republican side? That I can’t complain about money that’s just being stolen?”
Like everyone, Maher apparently has a price. (Watch the video clip below).
Maher went on to make the connection to California’s now-defunct Pacific Coast railroad line, which absorbed hundreds of millions of federal and state dollars only to break down and fade to oblivion.
“As a good liberal, I totally accept the notion that ‘You cannot transfer money without a leaky bucket,’” Maher continued. “I get it. It can’t be perfect. But is there no number for which I cannot remonstrate against this?”
“California tried to build a railroad,” Maher said. “Makes sense, cars, good for the environment, blah blah blah. When they finally pulled the plug, it was $200 million a mile. Now France, not unknown to have unions and workers’ rights, did it for like, one-seventh [of the cost].”
Maher also acknowledged that had Build Back Better passed, it, too, would have been ripe for the picking.
“When I hear about ‘Build Back Better,’ certainly the country needs to be rebuilt,” Maher said. “The infrastructure is a mess. But I’m always thinking like, when you give me a number [in this case, $1.5 trillion], it seems like you pulled it out of your ass. And it came in right at that round number, huh? … what if we only spend $1.2 trillion? What would we be saving? Because so much money is going to consultants — all the pigs at the trough.”
Maher said that kind of thinking is not a Republican idea, it’s more like …
“Common sense?” Rogan replied.
“Common sense!” exclaimed Maher. “Yes!”