Saturday, April 28, 2018

On John Podhoretz On Real Time With Bill Maher


John Podhoretz as a guest on Real Time. 

I don’t hardly ever watch Bill Maher.

But last night I did because John Podhoretz was on the panel with Ian Bremmer and Ana Marie Cox. Other guests were Ronan Farrow, one on one with Maher, and later Ross Douthat in a merger of one on one and panel inclusion too.

Any number of things struck me about the show, but to keep this short and sweet, what struck me like a slap across the face was Podhoretz’s virtual silence on whether Clinton H should have been criminally charged. 

I quite often read him on Twitter where he’s uncompromising in describing Clinton as a gonnif and an utter hypocritical moral low life. He’s been outspoken on how Comey flinched in not recommending charges against her. And on his Commentary podcasts, he’s dominatingly voluble, so much so that “podcasts” could in his instance be eponymous.

But as Maher, Bremmer and Cox virtually as one strong voice railed from their liberal perspective against the overemphasis on the emails and the private server and the taint of criminality attached to Clinton, Podhoretz was, for all his tweeting and other outspokenness, quite quiet on the issue, maybe offering some sotto voce dissent. When against that soft spoken dissent he was asked, almost rhetorically, I paraphrase, “Did you want to see her locked up,” he was tongue tied, mumbling something about, I paraphrase, “Not really but maybe....” and then he just trailed quietly off.

So what struck me was the contrast between all that former vociferous outspokenness and last night’s diffidence in the midst of some forceful liberal consensus on the issue. I’m not sure what to make of it save for my impression that he flinched.

I did once see Amy Holmes as a guest on with Maher and she was forceful and persuasive with a command of the facts in pushing back against his pronouncements and theses even as they were joined in by his other liberal guests.

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