Noting his warm reception in cities in conservative states, Bill Maher on Friday's Real Time observed (at 1:43 of the video below) "it's about city and country, right? It's really not about the state itself." It was an acknowledgement too rarely mades that the differences among states- which pundits like to divide neatly into "red," "blue," and sometimes "purple"- is exceeded by the differences within states.
That was overshadowed, legitimately, by Maher's explanation to Donna Brazile, former interim chairperson of the Democratic National Committee, that not all parties have evolved equally.
This shouldn't have been necessary. He was chatting with the former head of the Democratic Party in front of a studio, and televison, audience which tilts strongly liberal and Democratic.
It was necessary, however, because when Maher asked Brazile (at 2:08) "so why is the Democratic approval like the lowest in a generation? It's very low. why do you thing that-," Brazile claimed
It's very low. Both political parties are under water simply because I think the American people are tired of Washington, D.C., they're tired of failed policies. They really would like to see both parties get some things done. Our numbers are far better than the Republicans'. The Republican numbers are as popular as root canal.
Give the outspoken atheist hosting Real Time credit for not suggesting all institutions are declining in support and crowing that religion is the most prominent example. Over the past half century, as the Pew Research Center has found, the percentage of Americans who tell pollsters that religion is important in their lives, that they attend church regularly, that they identify as a Christian, or identify with a specific denomination has declined markedly.
But he didn't go there, instead interjecting "wait- you sort of lump both parties there under the rubric of failed policies. I would think that you'd want to-." Remarkably, the former leader of the Democratic Party commented "Washington is not working. When Washington is not working, the American people disapprove. "
Now almost- justifiably- incredulous at what he was hearing from an individual who presumably would advocate for her Party, Maher asked
What policies have failed? Not Obamacare. It's not a failure. I think that people are pissed off at the Democrats because a lot of that, I think, disapproval is coming from Democrats themselves who are saying"we don't stand up for our stuff."
As a hopefully chastened Brazile muttered "correct," Maher added
I heard Trump say over and over and over these last months that Obamacare is a mess, it's a disaster, it's a disgrace and I don't hear democrats full-throatedly say "that's just plainly not true."
One of those Democrats too timid or strategically unsophisticated to say "that's just plainly not true" is Donna Brazile. She would never criticize the Affordable Care Act or anything Barack Obama ever has said or done. However, her defense of the Democratic Party generally has been weak and ineffective, obviously no less so as she has promoted her book "Hacks "The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House."
When she consider the many factors- as Hillary Clinton has boldly done- which helped put Trump in the White House, Brazile ought to look in the mirror. And while identifying "hacks," she should recognize that might include someone taking a high ranking position whose role she she does not want to fulfill.