"I am for overturning this ban," HBO host Bill Maher said about New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's soda ban. "I think this is what makes liberals look bad. This is what makes liberals look like elitist bullies who think they know everything and can tell people what to do."
"Of course childhood obesity, in general obesity is a problem, but this is a very lazy way to handle it, to ban sodas over 16 ounces. Does anyone disagree with that?" Maher asked on his HBO show "Real Time" this Friday.
Maher than handed it over to his guests on the panel that included economist Jared Bernstein, former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Virginia), MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and chef Tom Colicchio.
"I agree that it is big brotherly, too much in that direction," Bernstein said before delving into how the cost of obesity affects others in society. "It does raise the costs of healthcare through the society."
"But everybody does something," Maher contended. "This is what I objected to. Yes, if you're a cigarette smoker, if you drink a lot of booze, those things are legal. People do coke, that's not legal, they do it. They ride motorcycles. They have too much stress! You never get laid. There's a lot of reasons why you could get sick."
"But we tax them and we should tax this," Bernstein shot back.
"We make the worst consequences of those behaviors inconvenienced," Rachel Maddow said. "You can't buy loose cigarettes anymore, you can't buy a single cigarette anymore, you have to have enough money to buy a whole pack. Okay, that's annoying, but you know what that does? That keeps people from starting smoking because they can only afford one cigarette."
"It's the same thing, you know, with not having cigarette smoking in bars. I was so offended by that, when they first did it. [I'm] not a smoker, but I thought it was outrageous that they would require that. Now, I'm so happy they did that. In part, because I spent a lot of time working in restaurants and bars and I'm not dying from emphysema, but also because I go out more now," Maddow added.
Maher then took the conversation back to how this ban makes liberals look elitist.
"There is something wrong about the 7th richest person in the world, lying in bed at night saying, 'You know what people shouldn't do? Drink too much Sprite. And I'm going to make that a law.' You know, it reminds me of Newt Gingrich. 'You know what would be great? If kids cleaned up the toilets themselves at schools? You know, it would be fun to fuck your secretary on the Moon,'" Maher joked.
"Again, it is what makes liberals look bad. They never met a regulation they didn't like. Of course, we should do something about this problem, but what if I want to have that one Big Gulp once a week? I should be able to," he added.
"You shouldn't have to clear what you eat with the municipal government," Maher also said.