Of course, Maher is a little too smug to realize that he looks as foolish as he does. Emboldened by his audience's loud encouragement that can only be likened to the zeal of a blind religious following, he never loses that trademark "I'm the smartest guy on the planet" look of self-satisfaction.
Maher’s problems occur when his comments are appraised by someone unencumbered by a zealot's devotion to the idea that Maher is as smart as he thinks he is. Because when viewed through a more logical lens, it becomes clear that he is fabulously wrong in nearly everything he says.
This article on the website Reading the Score points out much of this, including:
It really is a marvel to witness. Every time D’Souza was allowed to speak he completely refuted Maher’s points. D’Souza didn’t seem even slightly threatened by Maher’s trite points.
Maher makes several embarrassing comments when he was trying to refute D’Souza’s points, such as “the whole thing was a republican plan” referring to the health care bill. This is a comment that would get him laughed out of the room with even a moderate audience. And when D’Souza makes points that any rational audience would see as fair, Maher can just dismiss it by insulting D’Souza, and his audience will back him up.
Throughout the interview, Maher makes it clear that ideology drives his thought process, not facts. Among many other falsehoods Maher cites as evidence for his beliefs, the most glaring is perhaps seen when he defends Barack Obama's stimulus efforts that have yielded what is, in the most positive way of describing it, and extremely flaccid economic recovery.
Maher suggests that resorting to taxpayer-funded stimulus to combat economic recessions is just natural- as if Obama didn't have any other choice but to seek tax increases and massive spending on social programs. This is, of course, the great Keynesian lie that the left hopes can be uttered often enough to make it truth. However, it is unequivocally false, and to believe it requires an insane disregard for historical evidence.
Ronald Reagan inherited Jimmy Carter's horrible economy and “chronic deficits,” and yet he reacted with the Economic Recovery Tax Act, signed into law his first year in office, which was “the largest tax cut in American history.” And the tax cut was indiscriminate- 25% across the board. The result is either something unknown to Maher, or something he just ignores. Tax revenues increased under Reagan from an annual $599 billion to $1 trillion. After the bulk of the tax cuts were implemented in 1983, there were significant spikes in GDP. By 1984, Reagan was able to explain to the American people how his tax cuts had put Americans on the right track, and America agreed. Inversely, Obama’s speech at the DNC did not mention the words stimulus, ObamaCare, or the Affordable Care Act- not even once. While stumping for his second term, Reagan was able to convey that “the best “stimulus” relies on the tried-and-true American way: Letting free individuals stimulate the economy through their earnings and activity.” Why then, is Obama finding it so difficult to reference how his platform of tax hikes and taxpayer-funded stimulus is the right path for America?
Because there is no proof in the pudding, and because that is not the “tried-and-true” American way- it is the way of Euro-socialism that we are currently watching collapse under the weight of the concept of an entitlement state.
Given time, and given D’Souza’s intimate acquaintance with Ronald Reagan’s presidency, I imagine he could have enlightened Maher of these facts. But instead, Maher quickly changed the subject and resorted to childish attacks. He brings up a scenario from years ago that has apparently been festering, when D’Souza shared time on a panel with Maher. D’Souza made comment on September 17th, 2001, that the terrorists involved in the 9/11 attacks were not cowards. Maher agreed, and added that we, Americans, are the cowards for lobbing missiles from thousands of miles away. Maher rightfully received backlash from our military and patriotic Americans everywhere and was fired from ABC, but he was a little miffed that D’Souza didn’t shoulder some of the responsibility for the comment. D’Souza simply reminds him that he said that the terrorists were not cowards, but he never said that the American military were cowards. Maher cannot grasp that distinction, and in his confusion, he says that D’Souza escaped the media’s ire at the time because he was a nobody, and Bill Maher was somebody.
This display of elitism is a wonderful conclusion to the interview. Here, a comedian who fancies himself a great political thinker is captured deriding a Dartmouth alumnus, a proven intellectual, a bestselling author, and the mind responsible for this year’s underdog political smash, 2016: Obama’s America. And maybe that’s what Maher’s really miffed about. D’Souza’s film has already crushed Maher’s own political documentary, Religulous, and is already one of the most successful political documentaries of all time, poised to surpass even Al Gore’s popular documentary, An Inconvenient Truth.
But if that is Maher’s beef, he’s got a long list of grudges. For example, Kirk Cameron (who I’m sure Maher would suggest is of lower cultural esteem) made a low-budget, widely panned Christian film called Fireproof- it also trounced Religulous at the box office. Next time Maher wants to flex his intellectual chops and impugn a fellow filmmaker for his more successful film, perhaps he might do better to invite him on the show.