COMMENTARY | Bill Maher, the HBO ranter, was on Jay Leno recently, shilling for the new season of his show, “Real Time” and hurtling his bon mots at just about everybody in public life, especially Rick Perry. But he had something interesting to say about Sarah Palin.
Maher, noting that Palin has called him a coward for some of the vile things he has said about her, suggested she was in fact the coward for not appearing on his show. Maher, exhibiting his customary cluelessness, suggested this was because she was afraid of tough questions. He dredged up the Katie Couric fiasco, as people who hate Palin generally do, forgetting the more recent instances when she took on all media comers, such as an the Iowa State Fair.
Maher comes from a different culture than does Palin, something he might actually be aware of, as he has often expressed contempt for sort of the milieu where she grew up. However, there is one aspect of red state America that Maher may not be aware of. In red state America, there are consequences for being a jerk.
Generally people where Palin comes from prefer to avoid the company of jerks like Maher. One reason is that they are unpleasant to be around. The other reason is that the temptation to deal with a jerk violently is sometimes too great to resist.
If Palin were to appear on “Real Time” the first thing a self respecting lady such as herself would likely do would be to slap Maher across the face. Traditionally that is what a lady does when she is insulted by a bottom feeder like Maher. The appearance would certainly go downhill from there, with assault charges and counter charges resulting. If Palin has presidential aspirations, slapping Maher upside the head on national television may just be yet another obstacle. Best, then, to avoid a situation where that might happen.
Besides, Palin has the example of what happened to Christine O’Donnell for being on a show hosted by Maher. No one wants that kind of drama.
Maher should actually be glad that Palin will not be in the same room as him. He strikes one as the sort of person who would find being hit by a girl on national TV a humiliation that would be impossible to be borne. True, he would milk the incident for all that it was worth in subsequent episodes. But the incident would gnaw at him, even more than a Palin presidency would. Not all the bong hits in the world would wipe that away.