Bill Maher, a comedian who donated $1 million to President Obama’s superPAC, attacked the only Republican member of the Congressional Black Caucus while describing the GOP as “the party of the apes.”
Maher summarized that last 20 years of American politics as “the Rise of the Party of the Apes,” — a riff on the movie title, the Rise of the Planet of the Apes. “[I]t’s the Republicans who are crazy,” Maher added in his blog post, directing readers to Washington Post op-ed by Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein that dubs the Republican Party “the problem” with American politics.
The liberal comedian — like Mann and Ornstein — targets Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., as his proof that “the apes” have taken over the GOP. “Seriously, take him to the padded cell and give him 20 CCs of the high test,” Maher writes in response to West’s recent description of the Progressive Caucus as “communist,” a comment Mann and Ornstein also decried. Maher then attempted to turn West’s place in the Republican Party into a sign of Republican detachment from black Americans. “Not one of the Republican candidates for president said anything. Because in today’s Republican Party, that’s not even edgy anymore. They probably saw him later on and were like, “Word, Allen. Word.” Because that’s how they think black people talk.”
Maher’s indirect description of West as an “ape” — a term historically used to denigrate black people as subhuman — would undoubtedly provoke cries of racism if a conservative figure, such as Rush Limbaugh, made such a remark about a Democratic member of the CBC.
In May, The Washington Examiner reported that the House Democratic Caucus hosted a training seminar on how to incorporate racial messaging into their debates with Republicans this year. In that seminar, the instructor accused Republicans of using “coded racism” to combat Democratic policies. (Notably, the training materials distributed at that seminar included the very Mann and Ornstein op-ed that Maher quoted today.) And last week, the executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus (which has one Republican member — West) declared that “cool” is a racially-charged term when applied to Obama.
Given his history with the Democratic Party, though, it seems unlikely that Maher will be rebuked for characterizing West as an ape. His misogynistic descriptions of Sarah Palin failed to provoke any of the outrage among liberals who were angered by Rush Limbaugh’s misogynistic insult of Sandra Fluke.