January 10, 2001

Guests on this program were:
  Eddie Izzard
Donovan Leitch
Cyndi Mosteller
Orlando Jones

Panel Discussion

Bill: Thank you very much. And let us meet our panel. She is the Vice Chair -- oh, that hurts -- of South Carolina's Republican Party. Cyndi Mosteller.
[ Cheers and applause ]

Thank you very much.
He's a talented actor, musician and the documentary filmmaker behind "The Last Party" and "The Last Party 2000," Donovan Leitch.

[ Applause ]

Hi ya, buddy.

Donovan: All right.

Bill: Good to see you.

[ Applause ]

He is a fine actor, comedian, soda salesman, and one of the very funny stars of the movie "Double Take." Orlando Jones.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Orlando: Good to see you again.

Bill: How are you?

Orlando: How you doing?

Bill: And one of our finest comedy imports.
His newest star turn is in "Shadow of the Vampire" and the upcoming films "The Cat's Meow" and "All the Queen's Men." Mr. Eddie Izzard.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Eddie, how are you? Eddie, you're so dressed down tonight.
No --

Eddie: I realized I didn't have to clap for anyone. I count large enough to clap for anyone.

Bill: I thought you might put on a little makeup for me.

Eddie: Okay.

Bill: You don't want to be glam?

Eddie: No, I didn't want to.

Orlando: I am feeling slighted myself.

Eddie: Well, now, it's the third millennium so I can wear it if I want to and don't wear it if I don't. And that's my right.

Bill: I say the same thing.

[ Applause ]


Eddie: But every time I do wear it, you make a crack at it.

Bill: Yeah, exactly.
That's why I'm disappointed.
Anyway --

[ Laughter ]

Yesterday, the press made a big thing about the fact that Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have the exact same approval rating, 65%, which just shows how dumb the press is.

[ Laughter ]

Because, you know, it's only like a trillion times harder to have that approval rating after you've been in office eight years.
Sure, Bush is great.
He hasn't done anything yet and we expect that pattern to continue.

[ Laughter ]

No, I kid.
Let's give him a chance.

[ Applause ]

But what bugged me is Bush got a 71% approval rating on ethics and integrity, and I've been saying --

Cyndi: Why does that bug you?

Bill: Because the Bush family gets a free pass on integrity just because they look like they have integrity.
And I'm not saying they're evil people.
They're not, but they have no more integrity than any other politician who's bought and paid for and says anything to win.
They have no more integrity.

Cyndi: Wait a minute.
George Bush --

Bill: And that's what bothers me.

Cyndi: When Bill Clinton came in office, he said the era of big government is over.
When Bill Clinton leaves office, the era of big lies are over.
And George Bush --

Bill: No.

[ Applause ]

[ Scattered boos ]

That's my point.
Is that Bush is just as big a liar as Bill Clinton.

Cyndi: He is scandal-free.

[ Applause ]

Scandal-free six years of the governorship of the state of Texas, Bill.

Orlando: In Texas, though.

Bill: Wow.

Cyndi: What do you mean? What about Bill Clinton in Arkansas? This is a man who went to his daughter's PTA meetings to make out with women in the back of a car.

[ Cheers ]

Orlando: Is that wrong?
[ Applause ]

Eddie: But that's got nothing to do with politics.

Bill: Yeah.

[ Laughter ]

Orlando: That's just seems like good taste.

Cyndi: You know what, character really does have a lot to do with politics.

Bill: But your problem --

Eddie: But that's morals.
Isn't that morals? And that's not ethics.
That's not integrity.
That's morals.
And morals shouldn't be judged by the government.

Bill: Politicians have neither.
The problem is --
the problem is that your team doesn't understand the difference between an important lie and an unimportant lie.

[ Laughter ]

A lie that affects us and a lie that affects no one.
That's what you don't get.

Eddie: It's like in murder.
Murder one, Murder two, Murder three.
You should have Lie 1, Lie 2 and Lie 16.

Bill: You're right.

Cyndi: No, because --

Bill: That's my point.

Cyndi: The Linda Chavez story, what she did yesterday was very honorable and it shows that we do have a standard that we're willing to hold ourselves to that no man or woman is above the law.
Linda Chavez did a good thing for the wrong reason in taking that woman into her home but --

Bill: And Bush lied when he said, "I didn't push her out." Of course he pushed her out.

Cyndi: I don't know that.

Orlando: He showed integrity, and that's what we're talking about here.

Cyndi: No, do you know that? I don't know that.
I think she --

Bill: But he doesn't.

Cyndi: --
Based on the standars of law, that she needed to withdraw.
And I am not --

Orlando: Shouldn't we be asking ourselves, "Does he have any intelligence?" I mean, does he?

Donovan: I think the whole thing about did he think Linda Chavez --
the Zoie Baird situation before where it kind of seems sort of hypocritical to me that she sort of criticizes this woman and then she gets --

Cyndi: I think it was not totally consistent, but the Zoie Baird was slightly different.

Bill: I defended Linda Chavez last night.
And I attacked the liberals for attacking her, even though I thought it was a little self-serving to bring out all those people.
Looked like they emptied the kitchen at Sizzler.

[ Laughter ]

But I'll give credit where credit is due, but I won't say that George Bush and his family have more integrity than any other politician.
They don't.

Cyndi: Well, who's asking you to say that? All we're saying is he's got ten-fold the integrity of Bill Clinton.

Bill: He doesn't.
He doesn't.

Eddie: His morals might be judged, but then he might have different moral standards than everybody else.
But it's not his ethics on that, it's the morals.
He was pushed into a corner and said, "Did you have sex with this woman?" And that's when you get into the integrity.
But if you say, "Have you ever lied --

Cyndi: He wasn't pushed into a corner.
The judge asked him.

Bill: Bill Clinton lied about an unimportant thing in an important place.
Your guys, Bush and his father, lied about lots of important things, like Clarence Thomas, like taxes, like global warming.
Things that really affect us, they lie about.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Hello, guys?

Orlando: I'm with you.

Bill: This is your chance here to get in on this.

Donovan: No.
I think --
I was down in Texas for the Gary Graham execution, and for George Bush to say that 140 people, he completely unequivocally believed got a fair trial, which is absolutely not true.
So for talking about integrity and morals and stuff like that, these are people's lives and --

Cyndi: You don't know that.

[ Applause ]

You don't know that.

Donovan: I spoke to the head of the ACLU.

Cyndi: If there's any evidence that a man has a questionability about a man's guilt going to the death chamber, certainly any red-blooded decent American would want to stand up for the right to protect an innocent life, whether they're facing electrocution or --

Donovan: Half those public defenders fall asleep in court.

Orlando: We're all off the subject again.
It happens occasionally.
I'm with you.
I'm sorry.

[ Laughter ]

Cyndi: You know, we're both from South Carolina.
We got a thing going on.

Orlando: This is very true.
But we still have to --
I mean, we keep talking about --

Bill: You're from South Carolina?

Orlando: I am.

Bill: And you're from South Carolina?

Cyndi: Yeah, don't you like him?

Bill: Right.

Orlando: Well, exactly, because I am the black Baptist of --

Bill: I'm sure you two guys met at Bob Jones university.

[ Laughter ]

Orlando: But we keep discussing integrity and the fact that you can actually sit there and say with a serious face that you think Bush has more integrity, or ten times more integrity, than Bill Clinton is where you lose me.

Cyndi: Listen, I think Joe Lieberman has ten times more integrity than Bill Clinton.
It doesn't take much to have ten times more integrity than Bill Clinton.

Bill: Let him finish.

Orlando: No, the point is, how can you make that statement? I mean, if you are going to tell me Bush has never lied, we know he's lied.
If you're going to tell me that you've --

Cyndi: Oh, I've lied.
I mean, haven't we all lied?

Orlando: So what is the basis by which you make your argument?

Bill: It's what you lie about in politics.
It's a dirty business.
And they're liars.
The Bushes are liars just like every other politician and they do whatever they can to win, whatever they have to, whatever they have to say.

Orlando: Because they should have conceded that election if there was any real integrity.

Cyndi: Oh, no, no.

Orlando: You know why? This is a mess.

[ Applause ]

Bill: I have to concede for the sponsors.
We'll be right back.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Bill: It is official.
American Airlines is taking over TWA and 20% of U.S. Air.
They made the announcement today at a press conference that was scheduled for 10:00 A.M.
It got off the ground about 3:30.

[ Laughter ]

[ Applause ]

I don't know if you're aware, but tonight, MTV started their 18 hours of --
no programming at all.
They just ran out of ideas.
No, I'm kidding.

[ Laughter ]

They wanted to make a point about hate crimes, so they have a black screen with just a scroll of victims of hate crimes that goes over and over again.
18 hours.
I've said many times I don't think there should be such a thing as hate crime.
I know it gets the liberals upset, but you know what, a crime is a crime.

Orlando: A crime is a crime.

Cyndi: That's exactly right.

Bill: You think so?

Cyndi: I agree with you, yes.

Bill: I mean, a hate crime is a thought crime.

Orlando: I mean, I'm not sure I care why you hit me with the bat.

[ Laughter ]

It's not really important to me why you did it.
What I care about is that my brains is on the pavement.
I'm weird like that.

Eddie: Yeah, but if there's some guidance in how sentences should be meeted out, what level of crime --
I mean, if someone is stealing for money, then they probably haven't got a lot of money.
You could probably say that.
Very few rich guys go out and hit people.
But if you're doing it just for hate, 'cause you hate someone that color, you hate them because of their sexuality, then maybe there should be guidelines on that.
It's just --
because there's going to be judges that get in there and say, "Well, you attacked --
" like in the South --

Orlando: But doesn't that presume --
I mean, being a Southerner, doesn't that presume that the judicial system is somehow not that way now? They give out different sentences based on color and sex and race right now.

Eddie: Right.
And that's why I'm saying they should change.

Orlando: My point being that so --
if it's legislated, it's all of a sudden going to be different? They're gonna go, "Oh, my God! Now that we've got it written in the books, let's really get it right!"

Eddie: But they have to.
Because in the legislation, they are guided by the rules.
They're saying, "Well, you've got to treat this differently." The guy who hit someone over the head for $10, okay, that's in one area and you give out six months or whatever, a year.
And someone who hits him on the head --

Orlando: But more importantly, aren't you on some level legislating morality? Aren't you on some level saying, "I know what's going on in that guy's head.
I know why he did it now.
I understand his guilty mind."

Eddie: Well, you prove that in the court process, surely.

Orlando: The question is, can we really prove anything in the court process? Hasn't the court process taught us one thing and that is we don't really know what's going on?

Cyndi: What you need to know is the outcome.
The crime should be assessed based on what it's done to the victim, not so much the intent of the person.

Bill: And the court process, I think, proves more than anything that the truth is not really what matters.
It's who has the better lawyer and who can fool a jury, just the way campaign ads fooled the electorate into thinking George Bush has integrity.

[ Laughter ]

[ Applause ]

But it's true.
But it's true.
I mean, money --
money to buy people who know how to convince those people can do anything.

Cyndi: What about Al Gore's commercial linking George Bush to the James Byrd murder?

Bill: I didn't vote for Al Gore, so you know what, you're not going to get me on that one.

Cyndi: Did you vote for Al Gore?

Bill: All I said is Bush has no more integrity than the other bastards, okay? So stop shoving this down our throats like the Bush family is the royal family and they're untouchable.
They're not.
They're the same.
They're just as bad.
That's all I was saying.

Donovan: Well, I think what's interesting, it's good that MTV, this network, is devoting 18 hours to --
whether it's crime or hate crime or whatever, the fact that they're doing a blackout and all these kids that would normally be watching Eminem and Britney Spears are going, "Gee, I wonder all these names are scrolling." And then they start thinking about it and maybe go to school the next day and start talking about it.

Bill: I doubt it.
I bet you they turn the channel to VH1 and then --

[ Laughter ]

[ Applause ]

Until the Eminem, "We Hate All Fags" video comes back on.

Eddie: The point is, does anyone have information here, which I doubt can instantly bring up, that says whether the discrepancy between victims of hate crimes and the punishments meeted out and victims of burglaries and muggings and stuff like that?

Bill: Well, yeah, in some states where they have --
some states have hate crime laws like that.
Lots of states do.

Cyndi: I think 33 states have hate crime legislation.

Bill: Yeah.

Eddie: But the ones that don't.
I mean, if you could say and you could prove right here that this guy got hit over the head and it wasn't bad and he was robbed for whatever money and this guy was --

Cyndi: Robbed for his orientation.

Eddie: Yeah, his orientation, and the punishments were different, I don't know what the figures are.

Bill: But it's not going to deter anyone.
Do you think a hate crime is going to be stopped because a guy goes, "Oh, man, you know what, we shouldn't really string this guy up because they're going to get us on the hate thing."

Orlando: "And that's ten more years that I have to deal with."

Bill: Yeah, right.
"'Cause, you know, I'm the kind of guy who thinks that way."
[ Laughter ]

"Being a neo-Nazi to begin with.
I'm going to calculate that in."

Orlando: Well, and the other scary thing about to me is that ultimately, you're asking 12 presumably sane people to put themselves in the mind of a person who's committed a hate crime and try to understand why he did it in order to give that person a sentence which --
which doesn't seem possible.

Bill: It's almost giving the guy too much credit, the hater.
Who cares what's in his head? Just get rid of his head.

Orlando: Send him to jail!

Bill: Yeah, get rid of the head.

Orlando: The fact that he did it is enough for me.

Eddie: I could actually take your points on this.
You know, but my thing is, how would you stop hatred?

Bill: You can't.
What do you mean, how would you stop hatred? We're people.
We're humans.
We will never stop.

Eddie: It's like in Europe.
Being a European, we used to murder each other every day.
It was a mess.

[ Laughter ]

Bill: Europe has way more hate than we do.

Eddie: Exactly.
But we don't actually murder each other with tanks so much.
And so somehow, our hate has gone down a tad.

Orlando: Because tanks are expensive.

Eddie: What?

Orlando: Because tanks are expensive.

Eddie: No, it isn't.
We love getting into tanks.
I went up to World War II, 2,500 years of murder.
And we're brilliant there.
We've given it up now.

Donovan: Also, Britain, the police don't have guns --

Bill: Yeah, tell that to the people in Kosovo.
You know.
There was quite a hate crime.
There was a state-sponsored hate crime that went on.

Eddie: Well, I know, but that was the last bits of the jigsaw, trying to put Europe together.
Now Serbia sort of clicked in.

Orlando: Oh, good.
Well, now that we got that all done.

Cyndi: Actually, I think the people getting more in touch with God, actually.

Bill: Do we have to bring him into this all the time? God?

Cyndi: Yes.
I think people getting more in touch with God results in a greater love for their fellow human beings.
I do think that, Bill Maher.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Bill: All right, I gotta get in touch with a commercial.
We'll be right back.

[ Applause ]

I know, I know.
If you were guest on the show, you know exactly what you'd say.
Well, here's your chance.
"Politically Incorrect" is auctioning off a seat on our panel on eBay.
One of these others, not mine.
And it's sponsored by our friends at travelocity.

Announcer: Bidding for a guest spot on "Politically Incorrect" starts January 12th at abctvauctions.com.
Presented by eBay.
Or for information, logon to abc.com.
All proceeds benefit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

Bill: Tonight was the premiere of the new reality show on Fox, "Temptation Island." And there's already controversial about the show.
Fox had to kick off one of the couples because they found out that they had a child.
And the Fox spokesman said, "Look, breaking up a couple is fine, but not if they have a child because, you know, those little bastards are our bread and butter."
[ Laughter ]

[ Applause ]

Cyndi, you were mentioning God.
I wondered if you heard about this court case that's been going on in Indiana.
This woman was answering --
was answering and I guess exiting phone calls at her business with the phrase, "Have a blessed day," which I have heard a lot of people say and I usually hang up.

[ Laughter ]

And they fired her and she's suing because they said that's religion and it can't take place on company time.

Orlando: Well, first of all, it's not necessarily religious.
She says, "Have a blessed day." I mean, who knows what she's talking about when she says that? Second of all --
I'm serious.
I don't know.
I'm just taking off what you're saying.
I have no idea.

Eddie: As a nonreligious person --

Orlando: The lady is religious?

Cyndi: She is religious.

Orlando: Well, then we got that out of the way.

Bill: She perfectly admits it.

Eddie: As a nonreligious person, I don't find that a big problem in my ear.
If someone said that, I'd just think they mean, you know, "Have a good one."

Cyndi: If a Jewish person said to me, "Shalom," I would consider it a very nice --

[ Cheers ]

Bill: Well, first of all, "Shalom" is like saying --
for a Hawaiian person.
It's not a religious meaning at all.
Shalom just means "Good-bye, hello or peace." "Have a blessed day" means something very different.
That has --
we all know --
you could say what you want, but we all know she means "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus."
[ Laughter ]

Orlando: Okay, fine.
But here's the thing.
Here's the thing, Bill.
Let's say she does mean that.
We confirmed that she does.
What are the two people --
I don't understand what the boss and what the girl --
I don't understand what the problem is.

Bill: Because she's saying it as a businessperson on a phone at the business company to other people.

Orlando: If those are the problems in your business --
I mean, that's not a problem.
So what? Who is listening to her anyway? She goes, "Have a blessed --
[ Imitates dial tone ]

[ Laughter ]

Eddie: I think the big thing is she --
it's from a computer.
Is she shifting computers? I think that's the big thing.
"Have a blessed day," another sale.

Cyndi: I think she should be able, in her freedom, to talk to coworkers like that in off-hours, but I do think, even though I applaud her Christianity, I think she's probably a delightful person.
I'd love to work with her.
But --

[ Light laughter ]

I do.
I think she's probably a wonderful person.

Orlando: But she's suing the company.
Like, is that something to sue over?

Bill: Well, they fired her.

Cyndi: Wait a minute.
Wait a minute.
They gave her a letter of reprimand, and I think that company probably regrets that now.
But I understand they're going to settle it.
That's my impression of it.
But I do think an employer has the right to set parameters of how their employee communicates to the clients because that employee represents --

Bill: You can make employees say things like, "Welcome to Blockbuster."

Cyndi: That's right.

Eddie: Why didn't she say that?

Bill: Because she doesn't work there.

[ Laughter ]

What she says, which I find objectionable in all these kind of arguments, is that I'm not taking anything away from anybody by saying that, but I disagree.
I mean, I like pornography.

Cyndi: Please.

Bill: But if --

Cyndi: Along with the 86% of convicted rapists.

Bill: But if I hang up a picture on my cubicle, and I have a cubicle here --

[ Laughter ]

I could say I'm not taking anything away from anybody, but we all know I would be sued for sexual harassment.

Cyndi: And rightly so.

Eddie: But you'd have to hand the pornography to someone and say, "Have a blessed day."

Bill: No.
Absolutely not.

[ Laughter ]

[ Applause ]

Eddie: It would be blessed.

Bill: All right.
I have to take a break.
Have a blessed day.

[ Applause ]

Announcer: Join us tomorrow when our guests will be the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, comedy legend Martin Short, actress Cynthia Garrett and managing editor of "National Review," Jay Nordlinger.

Bill: Okay.
I have one question.
Doesn't the Bible say something about, "Don't make a big show of your faith"? Isn't there something in there about that? That if you're really faithful, you don't, like, wear it on your sleeve?

Cyndi: You know what? The Bible also says, "Let your light shine before men." And I think that's --

Bill: What?

Cyndi: "Let your light shine before men."

Eddie: And women?

Cyndi: And women.

[ Laughter ]

No gender bias.
Exactly right.

Bill: And cross-dressers.
Eddie --

Orlando: You gotta stop taking the Bible out of context.

Cyndi: It does.

Bill: All right.
Tomorrow, Sarah Ferguson --
wow, that's Fergie.
Martin Short, Cynthia Garrett and Jay Nordlinger.

[ Cheers and applause ]

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