Bill Maher on the Libertarian Party

time.gifTime just ran a short interview of Bill Maher. Here’s a teaser:

In 2002 his comments implying that terrorists are brave helped prompt the cancellation of his ABC talk show, Politically Incorrect. Now Bill Maher, 50, delivers his piquant comedy on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher and Amazon Fishbowl with Bill Maher, which premiered last week and streams on Amazon.com The satirist talked with TIME’s Rebecca Winters Keegan about his potential as a political candidate, the network news and what his parents taught him about God.

You describe yourself as a Libertarian. Is that even a political designation anymore? I don’t know. There’s no one in the Libertarian Party who breaks through, even to Ralph Nader status. I’ve always thought of it as allowing people to do anything they wanted to do as long as it doesn’t hurt somebody else. Sometimes people say to me, “You’re not a real Libertarian because Libertarians believe there should be no gun control.” I’m not a radical Libertarian, O.K.? Every party has something of a big tent.

Read the entire article here.

posted by Stephen Gordon
  • Timothy West

    heh. He dont know us too well, do he?

    At least it’s heading in that direction ( slowly, painfully, and with much grinding of the wheels )

  • http://thatsridonkulous.blogspot.com/ Rob D.

    “Sometimes people say to me, “You’re not a real Libertarian because Libertarians believe there should be no gun control.” I’m not a radical Libertarian, O.K.? Every party has something of a big tent.”

    But nobody reads the platform right? Nobody reads the fine print. That Maher quote is a shining example of why it matters.
    http://www.reformthelp.org/

    What will it take to get our new communications director on Maher’s show? He needs an update and we need the press. :oD

  • Don Wills

    Timothy W. is being very optimistic about the LP heading in the direction of a big tent because that’s certainly not the situation now. I hope Tim is right.

  • undercover_anarchist

    Bill Mahr is not much of a libertarian, that’s for sure.

    HOWEVER, he is certainly far more of a libertarian than:
    Drew Carey
    Neal Boortz
    Matt Drudge
    Michelle Malkin

    Who the right-wing “Advocates For Self-Government” laud as libertarians…

    Or people like Bill O’Riley, Ann Coulter, and Sean Hannity, whom I’ve heard referred to as “libertarians.”

  • Devious David

    UA, you are totally right and I allude to this on occasion. Boortz and O’Reilly constantly insist they are libertarian! Boortz is a member of the party, so he can say it and actually be correct. Isn’t THAT wonderful? We should pander to him! And Bill Weld, and whoever else johnny-come-lately fairweathertarian comes along. Let’s lay down everything we beleive in for those guys.

    I think the advocates famous libertarians thing is dangerous. You left out Nugent, I think he’s in there too.

  • Sam Anderson

    I love Maher for being one of the few mainstream figures that still believes in true political discourse (I love when he gives HIS OWN AUDIENCE shit for not giving a conservative speaker, whom we all know Maher himself disagrees with, a chance to say their piece without pointless boos and heckles). But he really isn’t too libertarian. It goes further than the gun control thing too…it seems to me that he believes that we’re capable of finding people that we can entrust our current form of government to, and we just haven’t done that. Libertarians, “big tent” or not, know that we have built up way too much bureaucracy, created a myriad of agencies we don’t need, and entrusted too much power to people other than ourselves. Maher is certainly liberty-oriented, but he just doesn’t see the “how to get there” in the same way that libertarians do.

  • David Tomlin

    I’ve heard that Drew Carey identifies himself as a libertarian, but I don’t know anything about his stands on specific issues. What’s the problem with him?

  • Timothy West

    It’s pretty easy to tell the difference UA. But everyone has a different yardstick. For some, it’s the pledge. Don’t pledge, and you are not among the chosen, even if you want government to be 90% less in size. For others, it’s anyone interested in making government smaller.

    I lean towards the latter.

    and whats all this shit about some supposed “right wing” infiltration of the LP? I’ll give myself up as a “left wing” infiltrator. I hate the corporate influence and corruption caused by out of control government. Right wingers tend to support corporte control no mtter what.

    This party needs both “right wing” AND “left wing” infiltration. Thats the only way to assemble enough libertarians to meet in the middle of both wings to actually stsrt building that tent. Coalition building means expanding the very nature of libertarianism itself, and as long as that expansion does not include calling for bigger government or more forced control over the people, it’s good.

  • Brian S

    Maher jettisoned principle in deciding he supports gun control. But I thought principles were why the LP never won electoral races…

    At least according to some.

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    Ah, and here come the purists to defend the microscopic size of the party from growing by allowing the ideologically impure to support us.

    Do you really think there’s an anarchist majority out there, just waiting to learn of the LP’s existence so they’ll rush out to the polls, each and every one of them 100% loyal to the party platform?

    There isn’t. Even the 0.5% – 3% our candidates get on average aren’t wholly in agreement with the platform and the perfect anarchist ideal of non-initiation of force and Libertopia. If we’re ever to put any Libertarian principle in action, we need more people- not fewer- claiming to be LP members and supporters.

    There are too many people in this party who regard the good enough as the enemy of the perfect.

  • Karen Jensen

    A couple of years ago O’Reilly had Maher on his show and stated that ‘since you’re a libertarian, I assume you’re against the Patriot Act’ … to which Maher surprised O’Reilly [and me] by stating that, to the contrary, he strongly supported the Patriot Act. Maher also said he favored 90% taxation for “the rich”. O’Reilly [who frequently has stated he himself ‘tolerates’ 50% taxation] offered to send Maher the paperwork so he [Maher] could send in 90% of his earnings to the IRS — I doubt Maher ever sent in any additional money.

    Maher is far more a ‘modern liberal’ than a libertarian.

  • http://makemarijuanalegal.com Cris Ericson

    PHOTO OF ? A LIBERTARIAN ?
    OUT DOING LORETTA NALL IN
    A CLASSIC CAMPAIGN POSE ?
    LORETTA HAD BETTER ACT FAST
    TO COPY THIS POSE AND GET
    HER BALLOT SIGNATURES ! ! !
    YOU VOTE, IS THIS PHOTO A PHOTO OF A REPUBLICAN,
    A DEMOCRAT, OR A LIBERTARIAN?
    IS THIS A PHOTO OF LORETTA NALL?
    do you hurt anywhere when you look at this photo?
    has the person in this photo met God recently?
    is this a photo of what goes on in U.S. Congressional offices these days that they don’t want the F.B.I. to see?
    http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/?articleID=4731

  • http://www.LPWI.org Rolf Lindgren

    the big question; “Does Maher believe in LESS gun control?”

  • http://HammerofTruth. Sarah Wires

    Thank you, Stephen Gordon for having this link to the interview with Mr. Maher. Is anyone a “pure” anything? Whether Mr. Maher is a true Libertarian is beside the point; the man gets that things are not right with the goings-on of our government here and on foreign soil, and brings them to the attention of the public – he turns the woes of the everyday truth into laughter. (Bless his heart)

    Whether he knows it or not, he is a reporter of sorts. A Freedom Fighter for sure, as well as a great comedian and talk show host, whether he is a Libertarian or not. Because of his comedian/interviewer status he is getting the word out, and maybe that is the most important thing, not what party he does or doesn’t subscribe to. In any event, it seems it was a good interview. Thanks again for the link.

    Sarah Wires

  • KenH

    “This party needs both “right wing” AND “left wing” infiltration. Thats the only way to assemble enough libertarians to meet in the middle of both wings to actually start building that tent. Coalition building means expanding the very nature of libertarianism itself, and as long as that expansion does not include calling for bigger government or more forced control over the people, it’s good.”

    Amen to that, Timothy.

  • http://360.yahoo.com/pong_god Robert Mayer

    Oooh, supporting the Second Amendment is soooo RADICAL, Bill!

  • http://360.yahoo.com/pong_god Robert Mayer

    OK, you folks who refer to The Advocates as “right-wing”, I’m calling you out! From everything I’ve seen of them, they are solidly libertarian in all respects. If all you’ve got on them is that they’ve listed some questionably libertarian celebrities on their site, that’s pretty weak. Please show me where they fall short of the libertarian standard.

  • Graham

    New Rule: It’s better to be Big Tent than No Tent.

  • David Tomlin

    The photo cannot be of Loretta Nall. She has stated clearly that she does not wear that type of garment.

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    I propose that the LP:
    a) throw out the pledge, the platform and the statement of principles
    b) shorten the LP mission statement to: Elect Libertarians
    c) change the World’s Smallest Political Quiz so that all answers equal zero and zero will be at the center of the chart which will be the libertarian area – everyone will be a libertarian
    d) campaign on four issues/slogans:

    1) “Goo Goo means good government”
    2) “Making government just right”
    3) “Extra freedom for all”
    4) “Common sense solutions for every problem”

    These simple measures would assure that the LP would then win all elections. Who can debate against good government? LP candidates can just become angry and ask opponents: What is it you don’t get about good government, freedom and common sense?

    Libertarian issues have stood in the way of success for too long and it is time to reject the perfect and adopt the good enough for government.

    We’re all Libertarians now! Win! Win! Win!

  • undercover_anarchist

    My evidence that the Advocates are right-wing is that they would wish for libertarianism to be associated with someone like Michelle Malkin. That’s all the evidence that I need.

  • Kyle

    I’m sympathetic to the claims that we need a better tent. Really, I am. But Maher is too far afield to be embraced or even entertained by libertarians, large L or small.

    He favors entitlement programs, massive taxation, and repressive gun laws. In fact, he’s diametrically opposed to libertarians on nearly every issue with the exception of the War on Drugs.

    Sure, we need mainstream play…but this ain’t the guy.

  • undercover_anarchist

    He’s as much or more of “the guy” than Michelle Malkin.

  • Michael Hampton

    Michelle Malkin is a guy? That sure explains a lot.

  • Kyle

    Michelle Malkin is a piss-poor low standard to judge someone’s libertarian credibility with.

    Boortz, while a bit of a Bush apologist, is much closer to the mark. Clint Eastwood is also significantly closer to the mark.

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    But seriously folks, if a libertarian is anyone who is interested in making government smaller, it begs the question: smaller than what?

    When I first voted Libertarian in 1980, I thought government was too big. Would I be too radical in thinking
    now that I would like to see government the size it was in 1980. I wouldn’t mind seeing the federal government be the size it was in 1787. Of course, that would make me an insane purist anarchist in the eyes of many who post here.

    Obviously, I wouldn’t enthusiastically support a candidate that wanted to reduce the rate of increase in the size of government, but by the definition above, that person would become a libertarian at the time the next budget was passed.

    I’m afraid there is no silver bullet solution. The LP will be a small tent party until voters realize that small government is in their interest.

  • Julian

    Bill Maher is nothing but another “I’ll only support sections of the Bill of Rights that are convenient to my belief system” socialist. He is a better fit for the Socialist or Marxist parties.

    He is a libertarian? I don’t think so after watching him in action and becoming familiar with some of his beliefs, i.e., more government control when it suits his belief system.

    He is vehemently anti-Second Amendment. He is in the same category with the ACLU, selective freedoms.

    On this Memorial Day, God bless those that gave their lives in service to this country so we can even have the luxury of expressing our opinions in a public forum such as this.

  • Paul Pace

    Boortz has his faults but does more for the Libertarian cause then a lot of people. I would not be a Libertarian if not for him. His only main problems are that he gives Republicans too much credit for “at least they aren’t democrats”, and he doesn’t seem very strong on privacy rights.

  • Leroy

    Bill Maher is solidly libertarian when it comes to drugs. He favors legalization and a complete end to the War on Drugs. As a bonus, he freely admits to being a marijuana consumer, and in my opinion, he’s funny as hell. Much funnier than Penn.

  • http://imnotparanoiditstrue.blogspot.com/ Ryan B.

    I fall under the big tent because I see the imediatte need for change. If we keep waiting for perfection we will never find it. So the question comes would you rather keep complaining that things are getting worse or would you rather help the proces of change. The LP can keep turning away people like me that is disenfranchised with the other parties and is looking for a home. I personally support a lot of issues on the platform but I am a realist I don’t see someone flipping a switch & it all happening we need to make sure we get change started.
    Have you ever tried pushing something to heavy for you to move? what do you do you call others to help get it moving. So even if maher is for gun control at least he is a friend to call on to help start the movement. We all agree we need smaller government but right now government is a really big rock and we need a lot of friends to get moving. jullian is right in 27 but if we don’t act now their lives and our freedoms will both be lost

  • http://www.gabejohnson.org Gabe J.

    I have contacted Bill Maher repeatedly about libertarian politics, and he has never responded. He can go f–k himself with his self-important arse.

  • Andy

    I’ve met Drew Carey in person. I don’t know all of his stances on issues but from what I could tell he seemed pretty libertarian to me.

  • http://www.psychopolitik.com b-psycho

    Gabe: don’t you mean IN his self-important arse?

  • Bob

    Advocates are right wing? Haha dont make me laugh! Just because they acknowledge there are arguments to both sides of the abortion issue? Just because it’s founder is a devout christian?

    The LP had better be more accepting of those who do not necesarilly beileve in every single little purist plank form all sides of politics or it will soon whither and die.

    Harry Browne said someting about get on the libertarian train and get off where you choose just help the cause of liberty along it’s way.

    Neil Boortz may not be a pure blood libertarian but he sure as hell does more to help the libertarian train on it’s way than most in the media. Again one can only refer to themselves as libertarian if they conform to some little litmus test on every single issue that the so called “real libertarians” decree before you are allowed to join thier exclusive little clique?

  • jnice

    I used to enjoy Bill Maher’s show on ABC, but I noticed a gradual change in his opinions from libertarian to liberal. I don’t know if this is a result of his hanging around liberal celebrities all the time in Los Angeles, or ???

    Apparently Bill can’t acknowledge people like John Stossel and Penn Jillette, both who have done more for endorsing libertarian ideas than he has recently.

  • David Tomlin

    Neal Boortz is someone I would prefer to be on the other side, since he can have no credibility with anyone who checks up on his ‘facts’.

    For example see

    http://www.freedom2008.com/bootboortz/archives/002579.html