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Daniel Kurtzman

Bill Maher To Tea Party: 'The Founding Fathers Would Have Hated Your Guts'

By January 18, 2011

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Bill Maher To Tea Party: Founding Fathers Would Have Hated Your Guts Comedian Bill Maher took on the Tea Party's identification with the Founding Fathers, closing out the season premiere of his HBO show with a biting rant that has quickly gone viral.
"I want you teabaggers out there to understand one thing: while you idolize the Founding Fathers and dress up like them, and smell like them, I think it's pretty clear that the Founding Fathers would have hated your guts," Maher said.

"And what's more, you would've hated them. They were everything you despise. They studied science, read Plato, hung out in Paris and thought the Bible was mostly bulls**t."
Watch the video or read the full transcript of Maher's memorable rant below.

"New Rule: Now that they've finished reading the Constitution out loud, the 'teabaggers' must call out that group of elitist liberals whose values are so antithetical to theirs. I'm talking, of course, about the founding fathers. Who, the 'teabaggers' believe, are just like them. But aren't. One is a group of exclusively white men who live in a bygone century, have bad teeth and think of blacks as three-fifths of a person. And the other are the founding fathers.

"Now, I want you 'teabaggers' out there to understand one thing: while you idolize the founding fathers and dress up like them and smell like them, I think it's pretty clear that the founding fathers would have hated your guts.

"And, what's more, you would have hated them. They were everything you despise. They studied science, read Plato, hung out in Paris and thought the Bible was mostly bulls**t. And, yet, here is a popular painting in wing-nut America. [slide of painting showing Jesus, a child and the founding fathers] Yes, that's Jesus with the founding fathers behind him presenting the Constitution to America. Either that or it's a settlement offer for that boy after he sued the Rectory.

"Super-religious guy Glenn Beck [slide of Glenn Beck in 'founding fathers' outfit] likes to play dress up as Thomas Paine. Thomas Paine, an atheist who said churches were human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind.

"John Adams. Adams said this would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it. Which is not to say the founders didn't have a moral code. Of course they did. They just didn't get it from the Bible. Well, except for the part about it's cool to own slaves. It's in there, folks. I didn't make it up.

"The founders disagreed amongst themselves about that and most issues. But, the one thing they never argued about was that political power must stay in the hands of the smartest people and out of the hands of the dumbest loudmouths slowing down the checkout line at Home Depot. And yet Sarah Palin once said of Obama, 'We need a commander in chief, not a professor of law standing at a lectern!' How gay is that?! I hate to break it to you, but: Thomas Jefferson, lawyer; Alexander Hamilton, Constitutional lawyer; James Madison, lawyer; John Adams, Constitutional lawyer. They were not the common man of their day.

"Ben Franklin studied scientific phenomena like lightning and the Aurora Borealis. And were he alive today, he could probably explain to Bill O'Reilly why the tides go in and out. James Madison was fluent in Greek and Latin and could translate Virgil and Cicero. John Boehner can't translate Fareed Zakariah. And Thomas Jefferson was an astronomer and a physicist who founded the University of Virginia, played the violin and spoke six languages. Or as Palin would say, 'all of them.'"

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January 19, 2011 at 9:34 am
(1) Bill R says:

Bill Maher is a self serving PUTZ. He refuses to acknowledge the simple righteous goals of the Tea Party because it serves his political agenda. I reject his supposition that the Founding Fathers would hate the Tea Party as much as I reject the idea that the two aren’t politically aligned. Just because some Tea Partiers are simple and religious folks doesn’t mean that others aren’t educated, thoughtful and determined. Perhaps it’s best that you self serving lefties keep think of the Tea Party as not worthy of your engagement, that way you’ll never be prepared for what’s to come.


January 19, 2011 at 11:32 am
(2) umadbro says:

love all how the tea partiers blatantly reject facts as “political agenda”, learn to argue intelligently please.

To all the tea partiers: U mad bro? u mad?

January 19, 2011 at 12:35 pm
(3) FloridaPete says:

So true.. The founders were Scientists, atheists, philosophers, thinkers… Everything the drooling teabaggers are not…

January 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm
(4) Ann says:

We love you, Bill Maher. Thanks to you, we know that there are intelligent Americans.

January 19, 2011 at 2:29 pm
(5) JT says:

I find it ironic that the two heroes of the conservative right, the founding fathers and Jesus Christ, one was a group of liberal radicals and the other, by all definitions, was a socialist.

January 19, 2011 at 5:51 pm
(6) Sean C. says:

Both sides say some pretty stupid things. Bill Maher is the left’s equivalent to all the bags of hot air on the right. And there is nothing humorous about his so called “comedy”. All this shows is that just like his opposing counterparts, he is hateful and not particularly well read.

January 21, 2011 at 12:11 am
(7) elizabeth ross says:

bill maher
i got the overall perfect name for the man who thinks he knows it all and feels like he is above everyone else – the HOLLOW MAN bill maher.

January 21, 2011 at 12:34 am
(8) judy marsh says:

I agree that bill is a hollow empty man who isnt even funny on his ridiculous show. the sad thing is that he has all those dumb younger people who follow him. Bill is arrogant, sacreligious, lacks true values, says whatever comes to his opinionated mind without regard for the next person. He is far from right about our founding fathers, They were decent, law abiding intelligent men with high ideals. This country doesnt need people like you to bring it down anymore than Obama has brought us down.

January 21, 2011 at 7:39 am
(9) Progressive Republican says:

But Judy, your response came off as arrogant, and opinionated. I can’t speak to the other stuff since I don’t know you. OBTW he is right about the founding fathers: he never said that they weren’t decent, intelligent men with high ideals. They were,however, clearly lawbreakers. Pay attention and learn America’s history because if you don’t, you’ll vote for “conservatives”.

January 21, 2011 at 8:51 am
(10) Skip K. says:

Bill Maher is a great humorist and does a fine job of telling it like it is. Teabaggers and Sarah Palin are ignorant and stupid and don’t even know what they believe—except for what Fox News tells them to believe. They are a disgrace and an embarrassment to the Country much as Bush & Co. were for eight years. Those who don’t like what Bill Maher says are those who don’t believe any truth they here and make up their own fantasies as they wander through life lose, dazed and confused. I anticipate the humor and idiocracy that the Republicans will provide as we approach President Obama’s reelection in 2012 for another four years of sanity and intellegence in the White House.

January 21, 2011 at 11:47 am
(11) P. Colgan says:

Thankfully, we have someone like Bill Maher to throw a few facts back to those idiots who would waste any time at all in listening to Glenn Beck, Rush “Slimebaugh”,and those poor uninformed sorts that look up to an elected “quitter’ like Sarah Palin….as if she’ll ever be anything more than an embarrassment to us as a country.
Our Founding Fathers would definitely have anything but disdain for the present day Teaparty lot! With their wanting to “take back the country”, to what?, the next civil war?
Some of us like having an intelligent President for a change, and appreciate the fact that we were in serious trouble by the last administration’s horrible misuse of power, wars, and bankrupting us all, in the process!!
Oh, lets’s not forget the lack of any environmental concern by G.W.Bush either. Just imagine if HE would been in office any longer…..

January 22, 2011 at 7:15 pm
(12) J Russell says:

Bill Maher, you are such a breath of fresh air. You tell it like it is.

January 22, 2011 at 9:31 pm
(13) Carol Toal says:

Bill Maher,
I love your show and the mostly intelligent guests you have on. You ARE very well read and keep up with what is going on. I have one bit of advice though for you. When you have an idiot for a guest, like the Replican who sat to the left of Rachel Maddow, (don’t remember his name) who interrupts every guest and talks over them and shows no manners at all. When that is happening one can not understand or even hear what another’s comment is! I thought the other man was brilliant and had the good manners to let others speak. Loved and learned much from Rachel and Elizabeth Warren. Best wishes always

January 23, 2011 at 1:02 pm
(14) matt says:

FloridaPete…Our founding fathers were largely theists, not atheists, just fyi.

January 26, 2011 at 4:57 pm
(15) Joe says:

Judy, read about US history in 18th century, and you will certainly find that Founding Fathers would have way more in common with Obama, than TP folks.

Intelligence and property!

January 28, 2011 at 9:07 pm
(16) Terry Munson says:

Matt – You are confused. A “theist” is a wobbly minded critter who can’t figure out how stuff happens so he concludes there must be a god causing all the stuff he can’t understand. The founding fathers were “deists”, meaning they couldn’t comprehend what created the universe so they called it “God.” They all agreed, however, they He was much too busy to concern Himself with our mundane lives, so He doesn’t. The Tea Party folk are “me-ists”. They don’t understand what’s going on but they know they don’t like it and since it’s all about them it has to change. They confuse problem identification with problem solution, so they give nothing a second thought. Which is o.k. by me, because, as Bill Maher so eloquently explains, they don’t appear to be capable of two consecutive thoughts.

August 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm
(17) Jack Willis says:

The Tea Party is made up citizens, some are religious, racist, idealists, and some are intelligent lawyers, scientists and freedom loving peace activists. Bill M does his best to marginalize a broad spectrum of people who are unhappy with this unlawful government.
The Constitution represents limits on an out of control government. A republic is a nation based on laws to protect the individual, a democracy not rooted in law is simply Mob Rule. Leaders can do horrible, unlawful violence and theft for the good of the Mob.

December 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm
(18) Eric says:

I’ve got several comments that could be right or wrong but I’ve never posted on one of these things so I’ll see what you all think. First, you guys on the ultra-conservative side need to lighten up a little and learn to laugh at yourselves. I’m a conservative that goes to a small christian university in Texas and I think Bill is pretty funny. I don’t agree with a lot of what he says but people don’t have to be right to be funny. As far as Bill’s comments on the Tea Party members and Founding Fathers, I think that many of the Tea Party members do have a false idea of what the Founding Fathers were like, as do most people in the U.S. The Founding Fathers were mostly deist (not atheist). They were also very liberal for their time because they were starting something that had never been done before. So those who say that the Founding Fathers were conservative Christians would be mistaken (also, from what I’ve read about their real lives, many were alcoholics and several commited adultery on a regular basis with slaves and other women, but we generally leave that part out in middle school social studies). Those of you who say that the Founding Fathers of our country would have more in common with Obama and democrats are also mistaken. The majoroty of the FF’s thought the idea of a strong central government was horrible. The Articles of Confederation gave almost no power to the central government because the original leaders of the U.S. didn’t want to be controled by a large bodied system. Rather, they wanted the states to primarily govern themselves and work together when necessary to govern the nation as a whole. It wasn’t until they realized that they had to give some power to the national government for the country to thrive that they wrote the Constitution.

December 8, 2011 at 2:05 pm
(19) Eric says:

Thomas Paine said that government was a “necessary evil” that had to be put in place only due to the moral failures of humanity. They FF’s saw the function of government as a means to limit the evil in man and wanted it to be society, not government (and certainly not the federal government) that would promote the nation’s well being (which is why I think they would be turning over in their graves about Obamacare). I think that the FF’s would be very happy to see that the nation they created had gone on to thrive (for the most part) and become the greatest nation in the world. However, I think they would be dissapointed that the government they started had turned into basically a two party system with such strict divisions between the two. I don’t think they would like all the political “games” that are played by both parties in today’s politics. As far as their opinions on the powerful political parties of today, I think they would would warn us that a powerful party is the same as a powerful king; which is why they disliked the idea of political parties in the first place.

January 13, 2012 at 6:43 pm
(20) marval says:

Agree, Bill. They would definitely have hated them psuedo-baggers, but they would’ve sure loved the real McCoy, Ron Paul.
Ron Paul’s got Balls!

January 15, 2012 at 12:35 am
(21) John says:

I would agree with many of his points particularly the thomas paine one. Adam’s religion is fairly controversial. I don’t believe liberals/democrats would feel very close to him either though. However this is what adams actually said:

Twenty times, in the course of my late reading, have I been on the point of breaking out, ‘this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!!’ But in this exclamation, I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in public company—I mean hell.

March 12, 2013 at 8:59 pm
(22) Ethel says:

Bill Maher is brilliant. No one can do political satire like him. Jon Stewart is second, and Cobert a close third.

Many people can think of some of the stuff they come up with, but they are the pros for “delivery”.

March 31, 2013 at 2:02 pm
(23) michael says:

Since Obama said the constitution is deeply flawed, I suppose that only leaves the tea party to identify with them. After all the founding fathers did say the constitution would only work so long as there were intelligent men with morals. Bill and Obama and all you liberals have made it clear with your anti religious propaganda and Nazi gun controle that you have NO MORALS and I’ll leave you left wing idiots to figure out your lack of intelligence.

Oh and Good Teeth are only important if you buy into the commercials yiou see on television!

August 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm
(24) TrailRvs says:

While there were two Deists (Jefferson & Franklin), there were zero atheists who signed the Declaration. Which makes sense, since it four times refers to our rights coming from God, and not human government.
Almost all were either clergy or were active members of their churches. The members of religious organizations among the signers was significantly higher than the averages for the citizens of the colonies as a whole.
Maher must be confusing these men with the founders of the Soviet Union, who were in fact all atheists like himself. We see where that, and every other government with atheist foundations, has led to tyranny because rights are said to be granted by the State instead of by a power higher than mankind.

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