Why would SC Dems want to link themselves to Bill Maher?

I was a bit surprised that I received an email announcing that Bill Maher will appear in Columbia from… Amanda Loveday, executive director of the S.C. Democratic Party.

Then I saw why:

Bill MaherThe South Carolina Democratic Party will be hosting a fundraiser and pre-show reception in conjunction with show and invite you to join in the company of fellow Democrats, food, drinks and premier seating.  Click here to buy tickets to the show and take part in the pre-show reception.  Tickets are limited and they will be offered on a first come, first serve basis.

What was missing from the release was anything that might answer the burning question: Why on Earth would Democrats in South Carolina want to link themselves to Bill Maher?

It really kind of floors me. The guy is sort of a modern apostle of incivility. His whole shtick is about being obnoxious.

I’m not alone in thinking this. When I mentioned in a post awhile back that I was sorta kinda almost agreeing with Maher about something, and how rare that was, we had an extended discussion, and only one person didn’t find the guy (at best) off-putting. That was Phillip, which sort of surprised me, Phillip being such a thoughtful guy who deals respectfully with those with whom he disagrees. Unlike Bill Maher.

More typical were the comments from Kathryn Fenner:

Bill Maher has that tone of dripping sarcasm and snide condescension, and he did a lot to hinder the cause of vaccinations with his ridiculous campaign. What a jerk!…

Bill Maher divides people and turns off a lot of people who otherwise might agree with him. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert do a far better job of saying what needs to be said and possibly winning converts to their point of view.

Maher would be far more effective if he’d get over himself: stop trying to establish his superiority and disdain for those beneath him and just stick to his point….

His “humor” is of the tripping somebody or otherwise humiliating somebody kind that most of us out grew in junior high, if we ever found it funny…

So, I ask again: Why would Democrats in this state want to link themselves so directly to someone this unlikable?

The simple answer might be: Dick Harpootlian. But still…

24 thoughts on “Why would SC Dems want to link themselves to Bill Maher?

  1. Doug Ross


    “. Click here to buy tickets to the show and take part in the pre-show reception. ”

    That’s why.

    Maher’s a pot smoking atheist who pays for models to hang around him. Seems like a good fit.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    But see, that’s precisely why they should NOT associate themselves with him. It’s terrible marketing. It’s saying, we’re happy to be a minority party in SC. In fact, we’d like to be even smaller, since plenty of Democrats would also find this guy off-putting…

  3. Silence

    I always wondered how Maher got a TV show. I guess he happened to be in the right place at the right time, that is when Comedy Central needed to fill airtime in the early 90’s.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      You know, I used to not like Dennis Miller — his wise-guy shtick on SNL was off-putting to me. But he grew on me later. I’ll admit — maybe because I was on his radio show a couple of times, and enjoyed talking with him.

      But I really think his rough edges are a bit smoother than Maher’s. To find someone on the right as offensive, you probably have to look more in the Rush Limbaugh category.

      The thing is, I’ve only seen Maher a few times on the tube, and EVERY TIME he’s been offensive, no matter what he was talking about. It’s in his facial expression; his tone of voice. He’s the kind of guy you can even agree with, and still not like the way he says it…

  4. Karen McLeod

    I was about to suggest that it was for the same reason Republicans associate with Rush Limbaugh.
    Both parties could benefit by publicly denying any association with people who are so insulting.

    1. Barry

      I don’t see that many Republicans wanting to associate with Rush Limbaugh. I see a lot that aren’t willing to take him on publically. This may ne a news flash to some- but Rush Limbaugh is a fading mouthpiece on most places except for talk radio.

      He’s often cited as someone that pulls strings- and he still does in some circles, but it’s a faded powerbase these days.

  5. Barry

    As someone that voted for Sen. Sheheen – and would like to vote for him again should he run for Governor, having Bill Maher in town will not make me more inclined to support Vincent. In fact, it will make me less likely to do so.

    Bill Maher use to pretend to be an Libertarian. But I don’t think, back then, he understood the term.

    I see no value in inviting someone that doesn’t just disagree with folks on the other side, but tries to humiliate them, abuse them, and essentially hate on them.

  6. Barry

    I see the price to see him is $250.

    It’s good to see the SC Democratic party reaching out to the common man and making this so affordable – in their own loving and caring way.

  7. Phillip

    I think that what offends most of you about Maher is less political than cultural…he’s a wise-ass New Yorker/New Jerseyite and I wouldn’t dispute Kathryn’s description of his “dripping sarcasm.” I just happen to think that a lot of stuff in this country deserves some dripping sarcasm, and when he delivers it, it makes me laugh, I can’t help it. My wife and I saw him live in Charlotte back in the dark mid-Bush years and loved it, so I was disappointed when I realized we couldn’t see him live here. Granted, that style plays less well in the South, so I agree with Brad that I’m not sure I see the advantage in the SC Dems playing up his appearance here.

    Comparisons with Rush Limbaugh are seriously misplaced, though, not to mention unfair. Remember the remark that got Maher fired from ABC on “Politically Incorrect”? He was basically agreeing with conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza that it was inaccurate to call the 9/11 terrorists “cowards.” But never mind the content of the statement…who was that on his show? When was the last time Rush invited a liberal onto his shows?

    Maher is a comedian first and foremost. He doesn’t view himself as somebody who is in the public sphere necessarily trying to change people’s minds, in fact he has said “When it comes to politics, people like myself – Jon Stewart, Colbert, whoever is out there giving an opinion – I don’t think we really change people’s minds. We entertain the people who already agree with us.” And truth is, for all of Stewart’s greater likeability and Colbert’s subversive genius, I think they too are pretty much preaching to (or entertaining) the choir. Stewart has his persona and can only go so far to stay successful. Maher is able to say some things that Stewart cannot, and some of those are things that need to be said.

    It would be the same thing for Dennis Miller I guess, if you think like he does, then probably you find him funny (though I think there’s a reason why there are more liberal comedians than conservative ones…humor is always more successful directed AT power rather than at truly vulnerable targets, and throughout history that has been much of the actual role of comedy.

    In the end, the reason I like Maher is because 98% of what comes out his mouth makes me think, wow that’s exactly how I think, except he comes up with funnier punch lines. I just tend to think these things rather than say them, that’s the Southerner in me.

    1. Barry

      I don’t find him funny. I don’t find Dennis Miller funny either. But those are personal choices that folks will agree or disagree with for a variety of reasons.

      Bill Maher is a hater as much as anyone he talks about – but one that tries to disguise his hate with sarcasm and “comedy”

      “To those people who say, ‘My father is alive because of animal experimentation,’ I say ‘Yeah, well, good for you. This dog died so your father could live.’ Sorry, but I am just not behind that kind of trade off.”

      Maher referring to our military – ““We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That’s cowardly” (he later apologized)

      “But I’ve often said that if I had — I have two dogs — if I had two retarded children, I’d be a hero. And yet the dogs, which are pretty much the same thing. What? They’re sweet. They’re loving. They’re kind, but they don’t mentally advance at all. … Dogs are like retarded children.” (he later apologized for comparing mentally challenged children (He doesn’t use that term) to dogs).

    2. LMckee

      Very well said, he was great last night and sometimes off putting but that too is part of his shtick he is mainly funny. What I do respect about Bill Maher is, like Stewart and Colbert he is educated on world events and reads different media sources. It is always good to be well informed even if your personal opinions are different from those you disagree with sometimes.

      At least he doesn’t pretend, Joe You Lie Wilson played the state like a fiddle pretending that mother of all offensive stunts was not planned. Then sat back as the donations flooded in. Now THAT was shameful.

  8. Barry

    To add- it’s one thing to be an athiest or anti religious and disagree with the other side- but it’s another thing to call and consider religious people schizophrenics – as he has often done (and he’s used much worse language that that but I won’t quote him hear on this forum)

    Rush Limbuagh uses hateful language and he’s rightfully called on all throughout the media world (except for Fox) including NBC, ABC, and CBS nightly network news outlets.

    Bill Maher uses hateful langugage and it’s replayed on comedy central for 2 months and invited by the SC Democratic Party for a fundraiser.

  9. Kathryn Fenner

    Bill Maher is like all the other people who are “just joking” — on the square. this includes all the people who make racist, sexist, looks-ist offensive remarks and run for cover as “comedians.” Ugh

  10. Phillip

    Kathryn, regardless of one’s feelings about him (and I certainly understand why some people can’t stand him) the one thing you can’t say about Bill Maher is that he has ever “run for cover.”

    1. Barry

      He apologizes like everyone else does- then later says essentially the same thing.

      I usually laugh at him as opposed to finding him funny because of I recall the days where he stated how Liberterian he was about everything. It’s obvious he didn’t know what the word really meant because Libertarian he isn’t except for illegal drug use issues.

    2. Kathryn Fenner

      True. Doubling down on offensiveness is hardly a virtue, though. Gives those of us who don’t run for cover a bad name.

  11. bud

    Rush Limbuagh uses hateful language and he’s rightfully called on all throughout the media world (except for Fox) including NBC, ABC, and CBS nightly network news outlets.

    But that hasn’t always been the case. Limbaugh was hired as a commentator for Monday night football. But he couldn’t help himself and eventually served up his racist bile and got his sorry fat ass fired. Except for a few of his aging dittoheads Limbaugh’s 15 minutes are finally over. Maher will probably suffer the same ignominious fate.

  12. Kathryn Fenner

    I thought Rush Limbaugh was “joking” when he caught flak for one or more offensive things, or was that Howard Stern?


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