On last night’s season finale of Real Time With Bill Maher, the show’s host ended the episode with a brilliant comparison of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. The comparison came about after an effort by conservatives to either hijack Kennedy as a modern-day conservative and even Tea Partier as well as the right’s assertion that Reagan is their Kennedy. Maher’s final “New Rules” segment of the season was a comedic barrage aimed at showing a true comparison between Kennedy and Reagan, and it brought the house down.
The stand-up veteran began, “And finally, New Rule. on this solemn anniversary, Republicans must be given some credit today for not saying out loud what they’re really thinking — that he wasn’t all that great. Now I disagree, but in the interest of reaching across the aisle, let me admit, I get that. I do.” He continued, ” You just don’t get a lump in your throat for John F. Kennedy. You get a lump in your throat for Ronald Reagan. He’s the Republicans’ Kennedy, the one they have unconditional love for.”
Maher first stated an absolute fact, that some people are given to be conservatives, others are given to be liberals by nature or as he put it, “Just as some people are dog people, and others are cat people, some have a chip in their brain to be Democrats, and others to be Republicans.” He then went on to compare the traits of each president, admitting at the outset that neither side would agree on who was a better president but asking rhetorically, “Can we on this day at least agree that Kennedy was cooler?” Then he set about making his case.
On style points:
“…our liberal icon was a smart sexy war hero who said he wanted to go to the Moon. Yours was an old fuddy-duddy who tried to rock denim. Our guy was Don Draper. Yours was Rooster Cogburn.”
On Reagan’s so-called “Hollywood Glamour”:
“He wasn’t a star, and in 1980 he was 30 years past his prime, which was never much. It would be like in 2016, if the Republicans nominated Judd Nelson.”
On which pop culture icon they most closely represent:
“Kennedy was James Bond. Reagan was Matlock.”
Watch the full “New Rules” segment below.