In mid-January, in an interview with The Daily Beast, political satirist Bill Maher branded Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) “scarier than Donald Trump,” explaining that whereas Cruz is “high intelligence in the service of evil,” the bombastic real estate heir/reality TV star “also says some things that a liberal can love.”
Not anymore. You see, that was January, before Trump required considerable public pressure to distance himself from former KKK leader David Duke, his shady campaign manager allegedly assaulted a female journalist (for a pro-Trump propaganda site, no less), and his rallies turned into disturbing White Lives Matter summits, where aggrieved, racist whites get so worked up by Trump’s xenophobic blame it on them rhetoric—and his encouragement of violence as a means to silence those opposed to him—that they regularly abuse black protesters exercising their First Amendment rights. Oh, and he took it upon himself to defend the size of his penis during a nationally televised presidential debate.
“Republicans are coming around to the idea that their only savior of Donald Trump is Ted Cruz,” said Maher on Friday night’s edition of Real Time. “It’s like that horror movie where the guy runs up to the policeman thinking he’s saved, and the policeman is one of the zombies. Hey, life is about shitty choices, and if I have to decide between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, count me in for Ted Cruz.” “Donald Trump this week literally said the words, ‘All I know is what’s on the Internet,’” added a bewildered Maher. “This guy’s going to change America’s symbol from the bald eagle to a turtle fucking a shoe!”
During his “New Rules” segment closing out the HBO program, Maher blamed the rise of Trump, a Vietnam draft-dodger who was born with the most shimmering of silver spoons in his mouth, on American parents’ coddling of children.
“New Rule: Stop trying to pin the rise of Trump on easy targets like racism, and put the blame where it belongs: the self-esteem movement,” Maher proclaimed.
“What Donald Trump really reminds me of is a spoiled five-year-old throwing a tantrum,” he continued. “Trump is the grown-up version of every pain-in-the-ass kid who ever sat behind you on a plane, kicking the back of your seat.”
Maher sought to rationalize Trump’s perplexing rise by pointing to various studies showing that U.S. children score “low in math and science, but off the charts in self-esteem.”It’s an argument that was made during Davis Guggenheim’s discredited 2010 documentary Waiting for ‘Superman,’ which cited a 2006 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study stating that the U.S. ranked 25th in math and 21st in science among 30 developed countries, as well as a 2003 PISA study concluding that U.S. kids ranked No. 1 in confidence. Of course, these studies are now over a decade old, but yes, American students are by and large overconfident and not performing nearly as well as they should in math and science. In fact, according to the 2012 PISA study, the U.S. ranked 35th out of 64 countries in math and 27th in science. Ouch. And point taken.According to Maher, America ranks “number one in confidence in math skills, even though they suck at it. Yes, we’re number one in thinking we’re number one. And when the numbers don’t validate that confidence, we know who the culprit is: the numbers. So we change them.” The host then cited the outrageous grade inflation at Yale, where in 2012, 62 percent of all grades at Yale College were an A or A-minus, compared with 10 percent in 1963 and 40 percent in 1974.This, Maher says, breeds yuge hubris: “Have you noticed that according to Donald Trump, nobody ever does anything better than Donald Trump? He’s the white Kanye West!” (Ed. Note: This comparison is wildly unfair to West, a self-made black man who grew up on the South Side of Chicago.)So, if America truly wants to be “great again,” Maher thinks it can start by getting tougher on its kids. No more Post-its on lunch bags reminding your child to have a good day—the food inside does the trick.“Every time a parent takes the kid’s side over the teacher’s, you’re creating the Donald Trumps of tomorrow,” Maher said, before adding, “Trump is the logical result of 40 years of worshipping at the altar of self-esteem—where every kid gets a trophy wife.”