The Bill Maher who thinks Canada has gone too far left will apparently still be voting for Joe Biden in the USA today

Apr 20th, 2024 | By | Category: In Brief
Michael Seward, Garden of Earthly Delights. 2024.

RANDALL WHITE, FERNWOOD PARK, TORONTO . SATURDAY, APRIL 20, 2024. Bill Maher’s latest misunderstanding of the Canadian real world (see eg “Canadians react as Bill Maher takes a swipe at Canada” on blogTO) reminded me that Mr Maher once admired Rob Ford’s ability to be both a frequent recreational drug user and Mayor of Toronto.

In this first respect current Ontario Premier Doug Ford is apparently different from his younger brother. (Probably?) And if Bill Maher were to somehow take a sudden liking to Doug Ford, he might have to confront the conservatism he sometimes seems to admire more directly.

(1) Summarizing Bill Maher’s new conservative Blame Canada tirade on April 12, 2024

Mr. Maher himself is apparently self-consciously moving in a somewhat more conservative direction lately.

See eg this hasty summary of the blogTO summary of his April 12, 2024 Blame Canada tirade (as reported by Irish Mae Silvestre) :

In a recent episode of the HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher, the American comedian criticized Canada and its problems, calling it ‘a cautionary tale’ for his country … In an eight-minute segment, Maher described Canada as ‘what American voters think happens when there’s no one putting a check on extreme wokeness.’”

Ms Silvestre and blogTO carry on, as Mr. Maher more or less directly addresses we the Canadian people : “‘I’m not saying any of this because I enjoy it — I don’t because I’ve always enjoyed you,’ said Maher. ‘But I need to cite you as a cautionary tale to help my country and the moral of that tale is yes, you can move too far left’ … He added, ‘And this is why people vote for Trump. They say in politics, liberals are the gas pedal, and conservatives have the brakes, and I’m generally with the gas pedal, but not if we’re driving off a cliff.’”

(2) The 42% of Canadians who polls say now want Conservatives in Ottawa??

Conservative Party of Canada leader Pierre Poilievre — the face that launched a thousand quips.

In fact growing numbers of Canadians would seem to agree with Bill Maher here. And his account of a Canada that has moved too far left is one of the best explanations I’ve seen lately for the unusually high 42% of Canadians who (according to the 338Canada polling aggregator) would arguably vote for the Conservative Party of Canada in any federal election held right now.

My own sense is that the current conservative mystique in the United States and Canada (and many other parts of the global village today) is a misinformed passion.

Neither Donald Trump in the USA nor Pierre Poilievre in Canada is likely to provide the kind of government that can successfully deal with the disenchantment which is pressing Bill Maher and others in what they see as more right-wing directions.

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses caucus during a meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick.”

More to the ultimate point, I also don’t feel that the extreme-woke Canada which Bill Maher sees as a cautionary tale for the USA today is the Canada in which I actually live myself. (Even though I currently reside in an urban neighbourhood with a Liberal MP in Ottawa and another Liberal MPP or MLA at Queen’s Park.)

Mr. Maher’s April 12, 2024 tirade against Canada eg more than once brandished images of the Oakville, Ontario school teacher who (I would personally agree ridiculously) insisted on “wearing large prosthetic breasts in the classroom.”

I can only report that I have never seen anything of this sort on the street in Canada where I live, work, and play myself. And I note that on March 2, 2023 (more than a year ago now) CTV News posted an article headlined : “Teacher at centre of dress code controversy no longer working at Oakville school.”

(3) Backing away from the progressive role of government in the 21st century??

Marilyn Monroe, circa 1960. Photo by Eve Arnold.. Tks to Hollywood Golden Age of Cinema on X. “Those Were The Days.”

If anything seriously troubles me about Bill Maher’s recent rightward movement in the (I do agree) increasingly worrisome politics of the USA today — on Canada and other subjects — it is something like this :

I grieve at the extent to which the man who once proudly gave $1 million to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign now seems to have at least almost joined those who aggressively oppose any larger role for government, in navigating the no doubt perilous waters that do seem to lie ahead of we the people of the global village over the next few decades.

I used to think of Mr. Maher as in something of a similar space on the 21st century right-left spectrum as the William Davies who “teaches at Goldsmiths” in Canada’s old imperial metropolis.

Mr. Davies recently discussed The Price is Wrong: Why Capitalism Won’t Save the Planet by Brett Christophers in the London Review of Books :

When it’s capitalism that’s the problem, and not markets, the only alternative is post-capitalism. But the central fact of the climate crisis is that there is very little time, and the scale of the political challenge increases with each passing day.”

I don’t think of Bill Maher this way now. Maybe anyone who has impressively enough made as much money as he has doing what he does in the USA can never be quite like anyone who teaches at Goldsmiths in the UK, and many other such excellent institutions around the world.

(4) But Bill Maher would still “Vote for ‘Biden’s Head in a Jar of Blue Liquid’ Over Trump”

I remain at least somewhat impressed when Mr. Maher says “the moral of that tale is yes, you can move too far left … And this is why people vote for Trump.”

From an August 27, 2019 article in The Times of Israel : “Internet sizzles over Melania Trump making googly eyes at Trudeau … President’s wife latest prominent personality to get lost in wilderness of dashing Canadian prime minister’s peepers.”

It does seem to me that some sense of the political mainstream somehow moving “too far left” (in a way that bizarrely and vastly exaggerates such things as the wearing of large prosthetic breasts in the classroom) also has a lot to do with the 42% of Canadians who pollsters claim would vote Conservative if an election were called today.

My own view is of course that all this does present some problems for Liberals and New Democrats (and Greens and even much of the Bloc).

It similarly seems that Justin Trudeau is once again going to be the standard bearer for the progressive cause in Canada in the next federal election, like it or not. (A bit like Biden on November 5, 2024.) And to me as to many others Pierre Poilievre as Prime Minister of Canada would be (almost?) as bad as Donald Trump as President of the United States (again).

In world history, however, the fate of Pierre Poilievre does not remotely compare with the all too real prospect that Donald Trump might manage to win in the electoral college yet again — with the resulting spectacle of America committing suicide as Nikki Haley has prophesied.

And I am finally left with a few grains of continuing respect for the continuing wisdom of one of Canada’s favourite American political comedians, by the Newsweek report that as of this past March 27, 2024 “Bill Maher Would Vote for ‘Biden’s Head in a Jar of Blue Liquid’ Over Trump.”

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