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The Chomsky Debate (Continued) By: HBO
HBO | Wednesday, November 10, 2004

HUGHLEY: I think the reason that the left has lost its way to persuade people is that we try to be too goddamn reasonable.

SCHROEDER: I do, too. [applause]


HUGHLEY: As opposed to sticking for what we believe in.


MAHER: Right.


HUGHLEY: If Kerry had appealed to his base­ who was as radically liberal


MAHER: Right.


SCHROEDER: They would have been fired up. Absolutely.


HUGHLEY: --as the other base, they would have done what they had to do. You can’t walk in the middle.


MAHER: Right. People who are


HUGHLEY: You’re either dogmatically liberal or dogmatically conservative. That’s the only way to ever act.


SCHROEDER: You know what? I’ve got to agree. And I’ve got to say, where I think they made the biggest mistake was having those little focus groups.




SCHROEDER: And they decided they were going to be above the fray, early on.




SCHROEDER: Well, you know what? An election is a fray. And if there’s anybody who knows an election is a fray, it’s Karl Rove.


MAHER: Right.


SCHROEDER: And he went out there and he fought the fray. And we were like, “Oh, we’re going to be above it.” And then suddenly we realized we were losing and losing big time.


MAHER: And Karl Rove’s genius is taking private issues like abortion, or that your sister-in-law is a lesbian, or how you feel about Jesus, and making them something you can vote on.


HUGHLEY: Exactly.


MAHER: That is why Karl Rove is a genius. [applause]


SCHROEDER: He is an evil genius.


MAHER: Might be an evil genius. But I think it’s


SULLIVAN: Go ahead, fight the election ­fight the election on the basis of Noam Chomsky that America is evil and see how well you do.


MAHER: I don’t agree that America is evil.


SULLIVAN: But that’s what the base


MAHER: Excuse me for having someone on the show with a different point of

view. [applause]


SULLIVAN: No, you have every right to do that. And he is making millions around the world preaching anti-American


MAHER: He’s making millions?!


SULLIVAN: Millions.




SULLIVAN: His speaking fees? He draws crowds of thousands across the world, denigrating the United States for huge speaking fees.


MAHER: Okay.


SULLIVAN: He does as well as Michael Moore in bashing the United States.


HUGHLEY: Well, let me ask you something.


SULLIVAN: Look, if I’m supposed to condemn them, I will, the Jerry Falwells and the extremists on the right, why can’t you condemn people like Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore, who are propagating propaganda against this country and against principles that we should all uphold?


MAHER: There’s a difference between disagreeing and condemning. I do disagree with the professor on many things. You’re right. But, you know, you said before


SULLIVAN: You treated him like folk hero! You didn’t ask him a single tough question.


MAHER: I asked him to express his views. He didn’t agree with me on most of the questions I asked, by the way.


SULLIVAN: But the comparison between your treatment


MAHER: If you had listened, he was disagreeing with me.


SULLIVAN: And he was even more farther to the left than you are. I mean, that’s the only source of disagreement.


HUGHLEY: Why, ­why, why


SULLIVAN: You think America is flawed, and you’re right. Of course, America is flawed.


HUGHLEY: In what way? In what way is America flawed?


SULLIVAN: [overlapping] There are many things.


SCHROEDER: You’re saying we can’t talk about it.


SULLIVAN: The way we conducted this campaign in Iraq was a disaster.


SCHROEDER: Okay, alright.


SULLIVAN: And we should recognize that and try and solve it.


HUGHLEY: But we can’t recognize


SULLIVAN: The way we have treated the question of race in this country is a shame, and we should address it and solve it. But America is not evil, and these people believe it is. And they have to be [voices overlap]


HUGHLEY: When everybody always says we should do something about it. When the f--k are we going to?!! [applause] [cheers] When are we going to? When do we say we are going to address these issues for real, as opposed to some bullshit?!


MAHER: And yes, when we have an election in the middle of a war


HUGHLEY: It should be about the war


MAHER: --and an existential fight about terrorism, and we’re fighting about boys kissing, I’m sorry, there is a big problem in this country. [applause]

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