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S17.E16: Fran Lebowitz, Jonathan Metzl, Jamie Kirchic, George Packer, and Neera Tanden

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Airs May 17, 2019

Guests:

 Fran Lebowitz, Jonathan Metzl, Jamie Kirchick, George Packer and Neera Tanden

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OH GOOD, FRAN! I love her, she does not give a flying fuck about what anybody thinks. True New Yorker. 

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Oh Fran, you disappoint me! Trump himself has said/done a lot worse and his minions think it's wonderful; she should have owned her remarks. After all, Bill was saying all through the show that Dems should act more like The Others (can't really call them Republicans anymore) and fight nasty.

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Bill was really eager to bring things back to his favorite topics--college students being too indulged and people being mean to old people like him. Fran never got to get around to why she hated Bernie.

First, since Biden and Bernie are the frontrunners and Trump is president obviously people are *not* against having old guys as president so I don't know why he's acting like some oppressed minority on that one (well, I do know why).

The thing is, though, it's not just that it's a stressful job and we've already had two senior presidents who were clearly in cognitive decline (Reagan with Alzheimer's and Trump). It's also that we need somebody of whatever age that's connected to the experience of the world now. Somebody who doesn't approach college debt by remembering how they "worked their way" through college with a job at a car wash or something. Somebody who know how people use the internet etc. Somebody who can imagine global warming affecting people thirty years from now. Somebody who thinks trans people using the right bathroom is normal.

I had to laugh when Bill was talking about how "in his day" they never questioned their parents like these college students. I know there's a difference in the way they would have acted as children, but weren't the baby boomers the people who were protesting all over the place and taking over college campuses? Wasn't that their thing? But he thinks it's only now that college students have started making demands? Generation gap anyone? He even referenced Woodstock in the same show!

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This was probably the most substantial contribution Fran Lebowitz has ever made on this show, because she is utterly useless as a panelist. I didn't really catch what she said about Trump that was so offensive TBH, and of course Bill had to rag on his favorite grievance, college students. But I liked the spirited debate over ageism. I think both had valid arguments, but I wish one of them would have spoken to the fact that two old white guys running against each other is going to depress voter turnout. 

It was a good panel too. I really want to see some hard numbers on these so-called Obama-Trump voters. Bill brought up some factoid about them being the key but I find it hard to believe there are really that many of them. I think it's more likely voters tell pollsters they voted for Obama and Trump just to make themselves sound reasonable. And I still disagree with Bill that candidates should go on Fox News. Neera Tanden raised my objection about giving them legitimacy and therefore ad money, although she was kind of talking out of both sides of her mouth.

I thought the New Rule about Catholics was a bit of a tangent. Interestingly, on Overtime they raised the more relevant point about Evangelical support of Trump and again Neera just edged up to the issue, referring to the "deal they made." Yeah. They made a deal with the devil in exchange for power. The hypocrisy is astounding.

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35 minutes ago, Broderbits said:

Oh Fran, you disappoint me!

At the start of OT though it seemed like it wasn't her choice and that the EP told her to walk back from it. Obviously any one watching the interview could plainly see she wasn't serious. Though she isn't nearly as funny as she thinks she is. 

27 minutes ago, sistermagpie said:

Somebody who doesn't approach college debt by remembering how they "worked their way" through college with a job at a car wash or something. Somebody who know how people use the internet etc. Somebody who can imagine global warming affecting people thirty years from now. Somebody who thinks trans people using the right bathroom is normal.

Those are all legit reasons. All she said was he's too old and I think that was short sighted because she already poisoning the well of one of them gets nominated because then people won't vote because "they're both too old" or some bullshit. 

Her reason for not liking Biden is perfectly valid and she should have left it at that or she should have emphasized even more how whomever is the nominee is getting her vote. 

Edited by ganesh
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16 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

This was probably the most substantial contribution Fran Lebowitz has ever made on this show, because she is utterly useless as a panelist.

Yeah I don't get why Bill called her 'wise'. She didn't really bring any special insight into these issues, and she's kind of insufferable. 

16 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

I didn't really catch what she said about Trump that was so offensive TBH,

She said Trump should be dragged over to Saudi Arabia and get the same treatment as the journalist. 

18 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

And I still disagree with Bill that candidates should go on Fox News. Neera Tanden raised my objection about giving them legitimacy and therefore ad money, although she was kind of talking out of both sides of her mouth.

Bill was a little disingenuous because Warren actually said the stuff about hate for profit and ended with something like, 'Fox News journalists are at all my press conferences/appearances. I invite them to be there, and I will take all their questions.'

Debates as a whole are patently ridiculous because whatever network hosts them uses them for a ratings grab and the questions are typically one note and dumb. Having the debate on Fox News isn't the best idea because they'll be ridiculed incessantly afterwards. Whenever Bill brings up people who watch Fox News, I wish someone would say, "well, those people should watch PBS News instead."

The guy who thought the Iran deal was bad is out of his damn mind. I'm not an Iran supporter but the failure these people have who are against the deal to grasp the larger context of the issues surrounding Iran is shortsighted at best and patently ignorant at worst. The safeguards community hailed the deal as a new standard for the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. But, ok, you don't like it because they do bad things. Guess what? This was one less bad thing they were doing. 

26 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

They made a deal with the devil in exchange for power.

They made a deal for the scotus seat and then got one bonus. Ralph Reed flatly stated it on the show. 

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43 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

I thought the New Rule about Catholics was a bit of a tangent. Interestingly, on Overtime they raised the more relevant point about Evangelical support of Trump and again Neera just edged up to the issue, referring to the "deal they made." Yeah. They made a deal with the devil in exchange for power. The hypocrisy is astounding.

And they love the devil! People act like there's something they're compromising on and they're not. They don't actually care if an old rich white guy cheats on his wife and doesn't read the Bible. He basically is a member of the same church in all the important ways. it's not jut about women, but that's part of it.

34 minutes ago, ganesh said:

Those are all legit reasons. All she said was he's too old and I think that was short sighted because she already poisoning the well of one of them gets nominated because then people won't vote because "they're both too old" or some bullshit. 

There's always the problem that any criticism that comes up in the primary could come up in the general. But since both frontrunners are old guys Bill didn't need it to become the focus. This sort of thing seems like it's more working in favor of these guys--other candidates aren't dismissed because they're old, but because they're not electable like these two are. Even though they've both failed to get elected before.

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I don't think the too old issue will come up in the general if it's Biden/Trump because they're both old. Pulling them down strictly on that issue alone now isn't helping. As Bill brought up, and the woman was saying, this time around the candidates are showing some self-awareness that tearing into one another isn't the best strategy. 

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2 hours ago, sistermagpie said:

I had to laugh when Bill was talking about how "in his day" they never questioned their parents like these college students. I know there's a difference in the way they would have acted as children, but weren't the baby boomers the people who were protesting all over the place and taking over college campuses?

In my day (I'm very close to Bill's age), children were routinely hit by their parents, and if they acted out in school (which I did not do), they were hit by the principal and then hit again at home.  If I ever raised my voice to my mother, I was beaten by her, and then my father came home and hit me some more.  Today they would have been in jail and I would have been a ward of the state.

College students did protest, primarily against the Vietnam War, and they were excoriated by their parents, the revered Silent and Greatest Generations.  The National Guard shot some of them at Kent State, and the Chicago police beat some of them up at the Democratic National Convention.  Unlike today, colleges did not roll over and agree to everything the students wanted.

2 hours ago, iMonrey said:

And I still disagree with Bill that candidates should go on Fox News.

So now Bill's taking credit for the topic.  The DNC announced they weren't going on Faux, IIRC, before Bill started on his little soapbox.  OTOH, if as he says, in two weeks the Democratic candidates are all calling the tariffs a tax, I'll let him take credit.

I don't think I've ever seen Bill speed away from the opening guest as fast as he ran to get away from Fran Leibowitz.

You don't have to be Catholic to be a self-righteous prig (but it helps). 

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I like Neera Tanden but she is another of Bill's "go to" guests who has no sense of the timing of the show.  She kept muscling her way into every conversation, often cutting off another guest.  The producers should really brief he panelists on basic show etiquette before the cameras go on.

Edited by cali1981
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1 minute ago, meowmommy said:

College students did protest, primarily against the Vietnam War, and they were excoriated by their parents, the revered Silent and Greatest Generations.  The National Guard shot some of them at Kent State, and the Chicago police beat some of them up at the Democratic National Convention.  Unlike today, colleges did not roll over and agree to everything the students wanted.

Absolutely, but Bill was saying something like it wouldn't occur to them to do it, not that the college wouldn't have rolled over. I get his point when he was talking about childhood and the kind of authority adults had over kids that they don't have now (I was raised before the modern parenting stuff too). That made sense. But he was talking about college students' protests showing that they were entitled and linking that to never thinking about challenging adults as if college students of the time behaved like they had as children, accepting discipline from adults. The reactions to student protests maybe have definitely changed, but there were still protests. He started off in reality and then just jumped into a fantasy where kids in the 60s were much more docile and well-behaved when the decade's known for the opposite. I'm sure those kids were described as entitled brats too. (Also he'd probably agree more with the students of the past.)

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Bill goes to the old college-students-shutting-down-free-speech well again but somehow doesn't mention that his guest Jonathan Metzl's appearance at a bookstore in Washington was interrupted by an alt-right group.

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And I still disagree with Bill that candidates should go on Fox News.

It's not quite the same situation, but HOWARD STERN says Hillary Clinton might have won if she had come on his show.  "I have the audience that Hillary Clinton has avoided:  the young white working-class male. I think she could have picked up votes if she came on my show and honestly talked about herself and her goals and how she got where she is.  All people ever see is a screeching woman waving her arms who apparently doesn't know how to use a microphone." 

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I agree with Elizabeth Warren and others who refuse to go on Fox News for these debates/town halls. The network will control the narrative and make sure that their hosts/propagandists like Hannity and Ingraham get the last word in on the Democrats.

My mother turns 76 next week and she just had her drivers license renewed, so that's a bad analogy on Fran Lebowitz's part. Nevertheless, she is correct that both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are too old to be running for president. That job will take a lot out of whoever the Commander in Chief is. The before and after photos of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are proof of that, and they were both considered young when they entered. Biden and Sanders already look like the after photos.  Time to put some new blood in the White House. 

And Mister Free Speech Bill can go fuck his ass with a prickly cactus for continually scolding his audience over disagreeing with him. One of these days, I want someone in his audience to tell him off when he attacks them like that.

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Someone tried to. He marched into the audience and physically threw them out Lee 5 years ago or so. 

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.....HOWARD STERN says Hillary Clinton might have won if she had come on his show.  "I have the audience that Hillary Clinton has avoided:  the young white working-class male. I think she could have picked up votes if she came on my show and honestly talked about herself and her goals and how she got where she is.  All people ever see is a screeching woman waving her arms who apparently doesn't know how to use a microphone." 

If what Howard Stern and his audience perceived about HRC's zillions of public appearances was that all they saw was a "screeching woman waving her arms" then no amount of outreach and appearances on Stern's show or Faux News is going to win that audience over.   You can't fix stupid. 

Bill is mistaken (at best) to think Democratic candidates have anything to gain by   appearing on a network that has control of the editor's room when that network's sole purpose is to support a right wing at all costs.

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By telling him to fuck off for telling them to fuck off because they disagreed with him? I don't think that would have been it.

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4 hours ago, ganesh said:

Someone tried to. He marched into the audience and physically threw them out Lee 5 years ago or so. 

Really? I remember in 2007 when someone got thrown out of the audience because they started shouting that 9/11 was an inside job (that was it, right?), but are you talking about a separate incident? 

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I have no idea what I am  remembering. 

Edited by ganesh
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I don't think I've ever seen him walk into the audience. A heckler was ejected by security a few seasons back but not physically by Bill himself, and it wasn't in response to anything he was saying in the moment.

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4 hours ago, iMonrey said:

I don't think I've ever seen him walk into the audience. A heckler was ejected by security a few seasons back but not physically by Bill himself, and it wasn't in response to anything he was saying in the moment.

He got pissed off at one point that security wasn't fast enough to get a heckler out so he hopped off of the stage and vaulted over the railing, waded into the crowd and physically forced the guy up the aisle where security met him and took over.  Then he came back on stage and ranted for a minute about that's how you handle that sort of thing, before going back to the panel.  I don't remember what the heckling was about, but it was definitely a weird turn of events.

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Yes. It was that because one of the guests said, 'Does this happen a lot?' because she was a little freaked out. 

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On Full Frontal, they did a piece about why Democratic candidates shouldn't go on Fox News, complete with actual footage of a Democratic candidate going on Fox News. It's a good counterpoint to Bill. 

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It was a 911 truther, and Bill rightly threw him out.

Go on Fox News! Go behind enemy lines.  What have you got to lose?

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See the piece to which I was referring. I'd like to get other opinions. 

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6 hours ago, ganesh said:

See the piece to which I was referring. I'd like to get other opinions. 

I'd been on the fence about whether Dem candidates should participate in Faux sponsored town-halls but was leaning toward "run away, run away!"  Bill's opening premise that Republicans/conservatives are "brave" because they come on his show did nothing to counter that inclination, and Sam provided compelling evidence of the difference in the supposed bravery of Bill's Repub guests and what Faux does.  Bill slathers his Repub guests with gooey praise for their bravery in coming on a show where he says nothing to counter their talking points, no matter how demonstrably false the statements may be.  Faux blatantly edits  Buttigieg's response to a question about removing Jefferson's and Jackson's names from sites named in their honor to make it sound like Buttigieg said the exact opposite of what he really said.  It's not "brave" to appear on a show where you will get a free platform to spout your beliefs unchallenged, just because part of  the audience may mildly groan.  And it's not cowardly to say "thanks but no thanks" to an organization that you know will go out of it's way to shamelessly misrepresent you in order to stoke its own agenda. 

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As far as I know, Bernie was not misrepresented when he did his Faux News appearance.  Yet. But all that suggests is that you can misrepresent some of the people some of the time and you can misrepresent some of the people all of the time, but you might not necessarily misrepresent all of the people all of the time.  I don't find that to be compelling support for Bill's position.  

Bill's argument seemed to be all about manning up (although at least I don't think he used that exact term) and having the courage to face the enemy on their turf.  I don't think it's courageous to appear on a network in which one of the hosts refers to you as Pocahontas, (or flamboyant if you're openly gay) or in which a news segment "accidentally" shows your photo in place of the mug shot of an accused murderer.  The moderators aren't going to do any of that to the candidate's face (speaking of bravery and lack thereof), so there's no need for any particular courage in appearing at their town hall.  But any positive impression any remotely progressive candidate may make on any of Faux's audience has the potential to be immediately remedied with creatively edited tapes splashed all over Fox and Trump Friends the next morning, and then featured on every Faux "news"cast. Faux will spin candidate appearances in other venues as well, but there's no benefit to helping them make a profit in the process. 

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On ‎5‎/‎25‎/‎2019 at 3:23 AM, Maherjunkie said:

Go on Fox News! Go behind enemy lines.  What have you got to lose?

Your credibility, for starters. Not to mention giving Fox News stuff that they can edit to make you and the Democrats look bad in the eyes of their viewers, which is what idiot Bill doesn't seem to get.

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Since Fox can/has edited footage from CNN, MSNBC, CPAC etc, I don’t think avoiding being on that network will prevent it from happening again. To me that’s not a compelling reason to boycott Fox News.  It’s the only news channel for millions of voters and going on Fox for a live event like  a town hall is one of the only times a democratic candidate can reach them mostly unfiltered.  It also feeds into the Republican narrative that the dems don’t care about Fox viewers and/or are too scared to step outside their “fake news” bubble.  A whole lot of people on the right feel the same way about MSNBC that people on the left feel about Fox 

This kind of hurts to say, since I respect Elizabeth Warren way more than Bill Maher, but she’s wrong and he’s right on this issue. 

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I would say slandering Pete in the way that they did completely underscores Warren's point, who as we've noted, takes questions from Fox News in her press conferences, so it's not like she's totally shutting them out. 

And really, they're not saying it because they're professionals and can't, but fuck Fox News viewers and fuck the so-called 'brave' people who come on Bill's show to spew their vile bullshit unchallenged because "a bitch got books to sell." It's no surprise when we talk about how good the panel was when there's actual journalists on. 

I would crawl to everyone's house who didn't vote because "both sides are just as bad" and do their laundry if it meant they'd vote in 2020 before I went on Fox News. Trump is getting his 40% in 2020. Focus on getting those 60% and send him packing.

No one gives 2 fucks whether or not Pete would take Jefferson's name off what-the-fuck-ever or not. 2020 isn't hinging on Mayor Pete. It's lazy journalism if one would attribute that word even to their treasonous network and it's just a ratings grab. Nothing more. This completely underscores everything that's wrong with our elections.  

Is anyone who watched Pete on the TH actually going to register in a primary and vote for him? 

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I have no idea whether anyone who watched Mayor Pete on Fox will vote for him in the primaries or general, should he become the candidate. But you don’t know the results without conducting the experiment. 

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If the experiment is based on faulty science, then the results are inherently invalidated. 

I don't really get Bill's point - he calls these voters stupid (which they are), but then tells people they need to go on Fox to reach them. 

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This kind of hurts to say, since I respect Elizabeth Warren way more than Bill Maher, but she’s wrong and he’s right on this issue. 

I don't think there's a right or a wrong in this issue. Both sides have valid arguments. My issue with Bill is that he doesn't acknowledge the opposing argument. It's not about being "brave" enough to go on the enemy turf, it's about giving validation and credibility to a right-wing propaganda machine that poses as a legitimate news source. Maybe you don't want to normalize that machine. Maybe you don't want to give it a chance to go back to advertisers who've abandoned it with the opportunity to say "See, we've got Democratic candidates doing our shows." There's only one way to fight a machine like Fox News and that's with advertising dollars.

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