On Friday’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO, panelists debated the relevance of the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal and the competence of Attorney General Eric Holder.
Maher assumed much of his audience was unaware of the details about the scandal, so he gave them a refresher before unloading his own opinion.
“[House oversight committee Chairman] Darrell Issa says this is a giant scandal,” Maher said. “I’ve heard on Fox News this week it’s worse than Watergate because 200 Mexicans have died. First of all, let me just say Republicans don’t care about dead Mexicans, A. And B — I think those 200 dead Mexicans would be dead even if we hadn’t sold them guns. They would have gotten the guns somewhere else. So is it really a scandal?”
Later, Reason magazine’s Nick Gillespie, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Maher debated that question, with Gillespie questioning Maddow’s and Maher’s reasoning behind their dismissal of the Fast and Furious congressional probe as a partisan event.
Transcript as follows:
GILLESPIE: You will always take the side of the Democrat over a Republican.
MADDOW: No I won’t. You don’t even know me.
GILLESPIE: What’s an example — I’ve seen your show … So, what’s a Republican that you pick over a Democrat in an issue?
MAHER: That’s not a fair question. If there were Republicans — you could ask me the same question, I could answer that question twenty years ago but Republicans have changed. I haven’t changed. You would probably say the same thing. It is they who have changed, not us. Twenty years ago there were Republicans who absolutely were reasonable. They are an extinct species now.
GILLESPIE: But the important thing is that you’re not a partisan. This is my point.
MAHER: Yes. Both things can be true, absolutely.
GILLESPIE: You’re not partisan. But you will always be against the Republicans.
MAHER: Only if they continue to act like the party of the mental patients.
MADDOW: What are you mad about?
GILLESPIE: I’m not mad. All I am saying is I refuse to be put into a false choice of ‘you’re either with the Democrats or the Republicans.’ And that’s the way this conversation — this conversation has been framed as ‘aren’t the Republicans just doing this as a show trial, etc.?’ It’s like, whoa, ‘Well Eric Holder is bad, the Republicans are bad, the drug war is bad.’
MAHER: The drug war is bad and the Republicans are mental patients. I don’t know if Eric Holder is bad.