MediaSnob, Obamarama

Bill Maher On, All Over and Through Obama

Bill Maher has been all over the cable news talking about the president’s over-exposure, criticizing what he sees as inaction on Barack Obama’s part to enact change. He even goes so far as to say Obama needs to be more like Bush (only with demonstrably better ideas). He also makes the argument, one that I agree with, that now is the time to push through reforms while the opposition is weak and confused. But is the Obama Administration moving slow or are we impatient with extremely high expectations?

More story and video after the jump.

After all, the first year of the Bush Administration was mostly about blowing the surplus and going on vacations to Crawford until Sept. 11th happened. Bush didn’t become the Bush Maher is talking about UNTIL the towers fell. Up to that point the joke inside the Beltway was how he was going to be a “one-termer” like Poppy. And Bill Clinton spent most of his first term with bad approval ratings and failed initiatives. By comparison, Obama’s first year, which is fraught with way more problems and pratfalls, is a tad more complex.

What do you think about Maher’s criticisms?

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30 thoughts on “Bill Maher On, All Over and Through Obama

  1. Lisa J says:

    Even though I think he is funny and lots of times he has good guests and he and they make good points, but I think he is a little off on this. As you pointed out he has done A LOT in his 150 odd days in office. 5 months is not that long so how much do you expect go get done in that time frame? It seems like the bar is so high for this man and the bar keeps getting raised and raised. I think Obama is proving that old truism that "we" have to 100 times better than white folks just to be considered equal. I think if all other factors were the same but he was white he would be cut a bit more slack. And though the right wing would still be going off it wouldn’t be to this level of absurb craziness that we keep getting spewed by Rush, et. al.

  2. polticallyincorrect says:

    I agree, especially with that bill thats going through today, he put war funding in it so the Repubs can get onboard, and they ended up not going for it anyway. So now the anti war dems are pissed and don’t want to vote for it b/c its war funding without a withdrawl. So he pissed of his base to reach out to folk who will never be on his side.

  3. NewCenturyWoman says:

    I think Bill Maher has gone way over the top on this. On a previous episode, he let two Republican guests get away without responding to his question on whether or not Colin Powell or Rush Limbaugh should lead the Republican Party. When he posed the questions to them, they refused to answer, and Bill did not pressure them. I think Maher has some nerve to take on the President in the way the he has. Pres. Obama has not even been in office six months yet. Surely, he cannot be expected to solve all of the world’s or this country’s problems in that short period of time. In fact, the President has been very agressive in trying to tackle the most pressing problems affecting this country–his approach, however, is more mild-mannered and does not come across as aggressive or arrogant as most people might want. Also, Bill’s insistence on always calling the president "Obama" rather than Pres. Obama is also a turn off for me (he never refers to him as Pres. Obama). Bill Maher can go somewhere and lay an egg for all I care.

  4. MDGFAN says:

    As much as it hurts me to say, I have to agree with Maher on this one. Obama has inherited a mess and I don’t envy him at all. That having been said, I wish he would worry less about being re-elected and quit tiptoeing around and just go "balls to the wall" with changes and reforms. If that means he is a one term president, then so be it. I voted for "Change". I feel like I am getting the same ole’ same ole’…..

  5. cdf says:

    The only thing I could take from Maher is the fact that Obama needs an "I don’t give a ****" card to keep in his deck. That’s one element of BushCo I’d take from the previous 8 years. If a plan is good for the masses and the critics STILL don’t like it, **** ’em and and sign the bill anyway…or take notes from JE Hoover and his "COINTELPRO" schtick and start blackmailin’ them slow-azz GOP’ers/"blue-dog" Dems (wtf?!) to get these plans passed. All that hot air in the senate chamber is foolish. Either come up with a plan or GTFOH!

  6. swiv says:

    his criticisms are valid. he’s right, bush did what he thought was best. obama is soft and downy-like compared to bush. he’s smarter. but then again, who isnt?and if anyone doesn’t think their president shouldn’t be criticized, they’re small minded and participating in group think. it’s our duty as americans to take our elected officials to task. obama isn’t above criticism and he doesn’t need your protection.

  7. @MDGFAN "balls to the wall" – YES! Loves it! I’m afraid that he’s not taking a stand in areas where he needs to and is too worried about being seen as "reaching across the isle" rather than *forcing* the change that needs to happen. After all, that *is* what he promised the world.

  8. OneChele says:

    Soft and downy-like? Are you watching the same President I am? Could he do more, who knows? He seems pretty busy to me. He just got the office in January! Did anyone get the story that bailout banks have started paying money BACK? Do we think that happened magically? Did Netanyahu just mention the word harmony? Barry reaching out to the Middle East had no bearing with that?Another thing, how are can you knock the President for his press coverage? He is not asking the media to report on every burger his eats or sweater Michelle wears. The NBC show has been done with the last six presidents. Obama should have said no, I’m overexposed? I personally love it because I’m able to balance being a concerned citizen/registered voter with being a swooning fan all at the same time. Listen, no one WANTED to see, hear or acknowledge Bush, don’t hate on Barack for being interesting and photogenic along with having the ability to string coherent sentences together. I don’t mind the criticism but it seems like eveyone has figured out that if you say anything "edgy" about the President your ratings go up. Valid or not, you can say it and be You-tubed by midnight.

  9. swiv says:

    yes, he is soft. we get it. the people like him. he’s spending too much time trying to be liked unlike bush. that’s about the only good thing bush had going for him, but it was a good trait he had. doing crap like releasing the torture memos to reaching across the ailse. i don’t care about his "cabinet of rivals" or his "governmental transparency." no one has access to information he has, so what does it matter if we see the ins and outs of his decision making? for what? so we can think we actually have a say in this government? so that people can feel good about themselves? the time for speech soundbytes is over. he’s in office. the problem is that the "swooning" fans don’t seem to think objectively and thus anyone critical of obama is going over the top. he’s the president. he knew it was going to be like this beforehand. and he can probably handle it.BTW, being busy and being productive are two different things.

  10. Lisa J says:

    @ swiv "the problem is that the "swooning" fans don’t seem to think objectively and thus anyone critical of obama is going over the top. he’s the president. he knew it was going to be like this beforehand. and he can probably handle it."Who said that? There is a difference between laying out substantive specific criticism of the President, ie. don’t like his stance on releasing the torture memo, don’t want a ramp up of Afghanistan, not a fan of the bank bailout,versus to say saying "he needs to be balls to the wall and shove stuff down people’s throats like Bush. I have no problem with criticizing the President, but to say that someone who arguably has done as much if not more in his short time in office than any one else in the last 20 years, is not pushing to get enough stuff done or bringing down the hammer, is just an unfair criticism. First off, this is the federal government, it is not Burger King, you can not get it made to order how you want it, and it isn’t Jiffy Lube, it won’t be done in 15 minutes or less. Government, is SLOW, by definition and often for good reason, to give legislators and the executive branch time to deliberate and think about what they are doing. Also, even if the President is going to make changes by regulations you have to take time to write them and get yourself organized. To pass laws and that takes a long, long time and though it is great that the dems have a majority, you never know, despite what appears to be the R’s current destruction from within, you never know, they could take back the House or the Senate or both, in which case, at least making a little bit of an effort to include them know might be a good idea. Maybe he has gone to far, I’m not sure. But I’m not going to say his approach is all wrong based on less than 6 months, especially since it will take a minute to see the result of his actions. I’m not crazy about everything he does, see what I highlighted above, but I’m not going to be so dismissive either. I’m going to wait and see what happens after at least a decent amount of time has passed and raise my voice when I do disagree. And like someone said, how is he going to control how much the media covers him and his wife.

  11. Spinster says:

    I didn’t watch because I’m at work. The man has only been in office for about 5 months. He’s cleaning up at least 30 years worth of garbage and mess. He’s not perfect but geez….. give him a friggin’ break.

  12. Deana says:

    I could have done without his teleprompter/ "who’s your daddy" remark. It was a snarky cheap shot that not only plays into republican hands (as did Bill’s ‘celebrity’ joke), but was highly inappropriate about our President and First Lady. I don’t mind constructive and relevant criticism, but those comments had absolutely none. And Inside The White House specials have been going on for the last 45 plus years. It’s not like that was something new and requested especially by Pres. Obama. Bill could at least be accurate with his insinuations.

  13. sarah says:

    We haven’t had a real president since JFK, so why does everybody pin their hopes and dreams on the so-called president?I like Obama. I think he’s a decent man. You can see how much he loves Michelle and his girls. But, (let me put this in caps)…HE AIN’T RUNNING IT! And if for some strange reason he woke up one morning and decided to actually be "president" and make some decisions without defering the the real power brokers in Washington..well, unfortunately, we know how those stories end. REAL CHANGE grows from the ground up…what pisses me off is that people think that voting for Obama is enough to change things….You all see what is happening in Iran…that’s how you change things. There was a great article in the The Nation a couple of months back that talked about how Obama needed a protest movement. You better believe the coporations, lobbyists, banks and special interest groups are putting pressure on him every single day to go their way. The people have to apply their own pressure by participating in the civic process on the local level, protesting injustice (peacefully) and participating in civil disobedience when necessary. Without this we can’t expect much from Obama, but the status quo.

  14. shug says:

    I think Maher is not talking so much about how fast he is moving but what he is doing right now. For example, I think Maher said at one point that there in consensus about there needing to be a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions to reduce global warming and actually effect some turning back of damage. Obama’s plan calls for 4 percent. That’s not something that’s too early to call. That’s an issue we need to press Obama on to make the change we voted for!

  15. dukedraven says:

    Maher, leave Obama alone! Maher is a contrarian, a grumpy old curmudgeon who only finds a target to shoot at. He and the others need to get a grip and stop demanding quick fixes.

  16. Shelly says:

    Honestly, Maher is a windbag who I really don’t respect at all but his position is one I’ve heard a lot lately. Frankly, I will tell him and all the other whiners who think that their issues must be addressed first — take a number! While this administration may be able to multitask, they are not miracle workers.I’m not about to turn my back on this President after only few months. I’ve been waiting for the liberal establishment to do so…anybody could see that coming and Democrats (predictably) have no unity. But, I will continue to support him as long as he’s working hard and on initiatives that I think are in the best interests of the country as a whole. So, my expectation is not that he’ll be the President of only the far left, or the President representing the interests of black people first and foremost. My expectation is that he is working on behalf of the entire nation. I think he’s doing his best at this point.

  17. SleepNeat says:

    Ok, I like dude. He can be pretty funny at times but lately his writers have been off. He knew what he said would attract the MSN. Having done that he brings more attention to his show at the expense of the Prez. Me, personally i think the President is doing what he can in his own style. Hell the guy has only been in office 5-6 months! Think of what the alternative could have been(Palin, McCain). Your ass would hurt! Anything in our Govt. that needs to be fixed takes time so as not to have it undone when the next party is in power( if that happens). It is far more easier to monday morning quarterback when your real skin is not in the game. Patience grasshoppers 🙂

  18. Cher Nikki says:

    To some degree I agree with Mahr. The Obamas do get a lot of press coverage and I think some of the coverage is even staged when things are getting pretty crazy. For instance, when Obama was trying to select his cabinet and members of the administration but many were coming up with tax problems it is interesting that right around that time Mrs. Obama made a "random" trip to an elementary school in D.C. This seemed to draw a lot of attention away from the Presidents problems onto the First Lady. I also think that a lot of it is the medias awe with the Obama family. For the first time in history their is a fairly young, African American couple with their two young daughters living in the White House. People want to know everything they can about them. They want to be in their lives and they want to know their everyday activities. He takes his wife on dates and the whole world wants to watch. I don’t think it is a bad thing that he does that because it seems to demonstrate that he wants to keep his marriage as lively as he possibly can in this situation. If media want to run around with him while they go to a play that is there problem. I am sure on most occasions President Obama calls in his meals orders but if I was surrounded by an entourage of people every single moment of my life I wouldn’t mind taking trips outside the compound every once in a while to feel close to normal as one can in his position. In terms of policy I think that it is too early for me to make major judgments. He did inherit a fragile economy and a deteriorating financial system. It is not something that can be fixed over night. FDR is looked at as one of the best presidents in history for his creation of social welfare programs following the Depression but he was in office for 12 years. I think it will take some time before we will really see the results of the policy. People also need to keep in mind that when the branches of government were created it was following the fight against the British monarchy. The executive branch was designed to be almost an antithesis to the British monarchy. They created checks and balances for the branches in order to prevent tyrannical control by a few or by one. The executive branch was created for the presidency but the branch with the most power is really the legislative branch followed by the executive and then the judicial branch. So really if you want to hold people accountable for policy or even the lack there of we should be turning a lot of our attention to our Congressmen and Congresswomen first instead of solely attacking the President.

  19. Robert M says:

    Maher suffers from white privledge. Nonetheless the issue is excercising power. The Democrats as a whole are to timid and President Obama thinks like a constitutional scholar and lawyer. To bad Thurgood Marshall and his grandparents and mother is dead because someone needs to light a fire under his ass. Michelle is not the one to do it.

  20. starrie says:

    bill maher amuses me most of the time…that being said, obama has been in the office barely 5 months….let the man work…he came into a big mess and it may take some time…i do agree with maher in that i would love it if obama would just get wild and crazy and start saying stuff like "the lord said i should fix healthcare" and then just do it…that’s how dubya was able to get away with his nonsense…TWICE….

  21. Yes, people; because when you want good, lasting change after eight years of Right Wing f*ckery, what you want to do is ramrod every bill you can dash off down the throat of Congress as fast as you can. That sounds like a great plan!Seriously, this sounds less like "He’s not agressive enough" and more like "Why is he not addressing [insert personal cause here]?". Calm down, y’all.

  22. Lisa J says:

    @Cher Nikki co-sign. That was an excellent summnation of how government works and why you can’t or shouldn’t ram stuff down the Congresses throats if you are the President. Bush set some very, very bad precedents for future Presidents and hopefully by Obama taking a more measured, traditional, constitutionally appropriate route to getting things done will help to counteract that. Bush gave us change, it was crappy change but he didn change things, I just hope Obama can change things for the better, even if he doesn’t give us the progressive utopia many of us would ideally want, at least he will change things from what was. Also, we had better hope that future Presidents don’t follow Bush’s precedent too much because under someone who is really smart, but devious we could be in serious trouble and that person might make the Bush years look like a Cabbage Patch kid picnic. Shoot many old school leftists said they missed Nixon and thought he was a saint compared to GWB.

  23. MATTIE says:

    First let me say I am ashamed of any, so called AFRICAN AMERICAN person on this COMMENT form, that take’s a stand with BILL MAHER! same old game, the MASTER BARK’S and our people go running to him! BILL MAHER is a WHITE MAN ATTACKING the PRESIDENT! now some of you may want to over look this, but, not I, the president has to make sure ISRAEL is not wiped off the face of the earth by IRAN, and did anyone know that BILL MAHER is Jewish! this man need’s to be some where praying for ISRAEL’S survival! these are his people, that the PRESIDENT is trying to keep alive! and some of you say "oh, he’s not moving fast enough" well, let’s see, his wife is being attacked on a daily basis, and yet he manage’s to keep a straight face, his own people come on TV and attack him! BLACK MEN in general, TAVIS SMILEY! and the list go’s on, I read every comment, and very few supported the PRESIDENT, the rest of you took a stand with BILL MAHER! when are our people going to learn, if our people are doing something positive, you support them, and if they are doing something negative we PRAY for them! when are we going to learn that we cannot afford to fall into the WHITE MAN’S trap! and yes BILL MAHER refuse’s to say "the PRESIDENT".

  24. Lady M says:

    Just because a few people agreed with Maher doesn’t mean they’re a sell-out. That’s just their opinion. I think that sometimes Maher is funny and brutally honest, and sometimes he’s not. This is one of those times. People are being too hard on Obama. Everybody has their sights set on him to fix the world and make everything better. Yes, he did run an exceptional campaign that restored hope in all of us, but he is only one man. Can a brotha get a break? Damn. And yeah, his "honeymoon’s" over, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be more understanding with the problems he’s dealing with. It took almost a decade under a dim-witted leader to damn near bring this country an inch away from utter and complete destruction, and half the time, we didn’t even know it. It’s going to take four times as long to fix it. Obama does things completely differently from Bush. Whereas Bush was more barbaric and aggressive, Obama is more meticulous and measured in his movements. He was a law school professor, so that makes sense. That’s what we need in a leader, and honestly, Maher and all the other critics need to sit down. It’s been less than six months. Not nearly enough time to conclusively know if Obama needs to just be like, "the constitution be damned, screw congress, fu** checks and balances, I’ll do my own damn thing, my own way."

  25. Lady M says:

    @Mattie. But you do make some very good points. It seems much more likely that I’ll see a "black conservative" or independent on CNN spewing hatred today than I would’ve three years ago. Some blacks disagree just for the sake of it.

  26. maanu says:

    I love watching Bill and can understand where he’s coming from. But he expects the first black president to legalize weed yesterday, which is not a good look.As a black man, Obama understands the penalties of making "any sudden moves."Obama got the votes he did because people see that he’s genuine. So he’s not lying when he says he cares about issues. But give the man some time and stop being so petulant.Back to Mr. Maher, we know he likes the chocolate, but so did Strom Thurmond.His occasional advocacy is no substitute for walking that Green Mile in our shoes.I’ll still watch his show with some popcorn and a grain of salt.

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