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From HBO.com

Comedian melts conservative snowflakes

Bill Maher held to higher standards of decency than president

Jeffrey Denny

Get out the fainting couches and smelling salts: Our official state media — Fox and its right-wing ilk — are overwhelmed by the vapors and fantods over another “liberal” comedian’s outrageous comments.

The conservative media may have recovered somewhat from the Michelle Wolf and Samantha Bee vicious assaults on their refined and fragile sensibilities. Now the Trump bootlickers are aghast, agog, gravely offended and suffering from painfully infected twisted knickers over Bill Maher’s recent blurt:

“I feel like the bottom has to fall out at some point. And by the way, I’m hoping for it. Because I think one way you get rid of Trump is a crashing economy. So please, bring on the recession. Sorry if that hurts people, but it’s either root for a recession or you lose your democracy.”

Gosh and good gravy! How dareth a political comedian say sucheth god-awful un-American things?!

Fox & Friends, clutching their pearls while visibly straining to contain their gleeful high dudgeon and delicious sanctimony, as always offered a thoughtfully trenchant analysis of Maher’s comments. Highlights include:

· “One of the things Maher does well is to say what a lot of liberals are thinking but won’t say.”

· “Not everyone wants the best for our country.”

· “Those folks on the left coast and the right coast don’t see the world necessarily always the way a lot of you do in middle America.”

· “Welcome to the elites.”

Setting aside that Fox personalities are also wealthy coastal elites with better jobs and healthcare than middle America, they treated Maher’s comments much differently than when conservative comedian Roseanne Barr disturbingly compared former President Barack Obama aide Valerie Jarrett to an ape.

Fox star and Trump adviser Sean Handpuppet — sorry, Hannity — aka “multimedia superstar” according to Hannity.com — aka $36 million man of the people — offered the requisite criticism of Barr’s comments. But he pivoted quickly to the title of his segment: the “Liberal Double Standard”.

“Only conservatives are held accountable for their words, their reactions, while those on the left are never held accountable,” Hannity said. “So many despicable comments, thoughts and actions from those on the left appear to go completely unnoticed. In fact, many get a free pass no matter what they say or what they do.”

In fact, CNN and other liberal coastal elite mainstream media immediately and roundly covered and many criticized Maher’s “rooting for recession” quip.

But notice that Hannity, Fox & Friends and their ilk didn’t declare that Roseanne, in her ugly racist yawping, was speaking for all conservatives — what they think but won’t say. Or that she is representing all Trump voters, or that they don’t want the best for our country.

In short, Maher represents liberals, but Barr does not represent conservatives. As a stupid liberal snowflake, I don’t get it.

Back to Maher: Sorry all snowflakes, whatever your politics, he’s a full-service comic provocateur.

Maher says outrageous things about ourselves cleverly, because that’s what the best comedians have always done. They hold up the proverbial mirror and make us call bullshit on ourselves and have a healthy laugh.

More than many comedians, Maher is outraged by Trump’s outrageous behavior. As the majority of Americans are. Maher is also a free-speech fundamentalist and goes after all righteous, sanctimonious phonies whatever their political proclivities.

In fact, liberals often slam Maher for being politically incorrect. In his show the next day after his “rooting for recession” episode, Maher scolded liberals for “making every offense a firing offense.”

“Snowflakes on the left and the right published full lists of everyone they’ve ever been offended by who should also be fired immediately,” he said. “I was the only one who made many lists on both sides.”

Most of all, comedians find people in power irresistible targets, as they should, especially in a democracy.

The powerful — unless they’re weak insecure narcissists — accept the mockery, however critical.

Self-deprecating humor is a staple of speech writing for CEOs and other national and global leaders. Great presidents recognize that being parodied goes with the job. John F. Kennedy grudgingly admitted he liked comedian Vaugh Meader’s mocking impersonation of him and his family, even Jackie. Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama got the joke and often played along. Even Nixon did a cameo on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” to (awkwardly) say, “Sock it to me.”

Medieval kings gave jesters complete freedom to mock them — even harshly — as no other subjects were permitted unless they wished to find their heads in a basket.

To lead — as Republicans voters now do, controlling every branch of government in Washington and most states — means letting slights and offenses, especially from jesters, roll off like water from a rubber duck’s back. And not rise to every provocation. To lead is to let it go.

So I find the “outrage” about Bill Maher’s “outrageous” comments outrageous. Or maybe pathetic.

Especially when the outrage is from those who support, defend or accept President Trump.

This is a man who acts in public like no respectable gentleman — let alone the President of the United States — ever would. He attacks his fellow Americans who challenge or disagree with him, almost daily, like it’s a bodily function. His mean tweeting doesn’t make him sound like a strong and confident leader. He sounds weak, whiny and insecure.

Trump’s recent G-7 meeting attack on America’s constant friend and ally, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, on Trudeau’s own soil, as “very dishonest and weak,” caps The New York Times current tally of 472 people, places and things Trump has insulted on Twitter.

The NYT tally doesn’t even count Trump’s offhand insults at meetings (“shithole countries”). Or inspiring his rally crowds to chant about locking up his political opponent. Or his failure to do the respectable thing and apologize to American war hero Senator John McCain for a White House staffer’s comment that his stance on immigration doesn’t matter because “he’s dying anyway.” Or, or, or, or … the list of offenses is too long to cite here.

And where was the conservative outrage over Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro’s blurt that there’s “a special place in hell” for Justin Trudeau, prime minister of America’s closest and most loyal ally?

But somehow conservatives are more shocked, shocked by Bill Maher than by their president and team’s near-daily affronts to honesty, honor, respect, decency, grace— you know, the old American values that conservatives used to stand for.

Sad.

Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer

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