Maher v. Bachus

05/24/2005 01:26 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Like President Clinton, Bill Maher is lucky in his enemies. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R. Ala.) has accused him of treason for pointing out in a colorful way (I loved the low-lying fruitpicking metaphor) that the armed forces are not meeting their recruiting goals. The frothing-at-the-mouth behavior of people like Rep. Bob Barr only made Clinton seem statemanlike in contrast. Similiarly, the fulminations of Spencer Bachus nudge Maher in the direction of Will Rogers.

As a product of a very good public school education (and I do not write those words ironically), I was taught "treason" consisted of things like passing government secrets to the enemy. Now, in the hothouse political world we have sadly come to inhabit, apparently it can mean repeating what has been on the front page of every American newspaper over the past week. Recruiting has not been going well. There has been some unfortunate behavior on the part of the recruiters themselves. Everyone knows this. We all support the troops. If anyone is betraying them, it's Donald Rumsfeld, not Bill Maher. But that's another subject.

Instead of currying favor with Karl Rove, Spencer Bachus would do well to spend his time studying the means of getting us out of what everyone now agrees is a rather large and intractable problem. A congressman attacking a comedian only makes Congress, which recently devoted an entire day to investigating the problems of steroid use in baseball, look even more out of touch.