Bill Maher: RNC’s ‘He Tried’ ad has subtle racist message

By David Ferguson
Saturday, August 18, 2012 10:55 EDT
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Maher on You Tried
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Friday night, on the season premiere of Bill Maher’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” host Bill Maher and his panel of guests argued over whether a new ad by the RNC entitled “He Tried, You Tried,” is subtly pushing a racist message to viewers.

The ad, which Maher rolled at the beginning of the discussion, marks a slightly different approach than the Romney campaign and its aligned PACs and super PACs have attempted so far. The tone is slightly downbeat as a narrator intones, “President Obama came to the White House with big plans,” then listed a set of reasons to be disappointed in President Barack Obama. “He tried. You tried,” says the voice-over, “It’s okay to make a change.”

“I find that to be a subtle racist message,” said Maher.

National Review writer Reihan Salam was the first on the panel to challenge the assertion, “What on earth are you talking about?” he demanded.

Maher replied, “I never heard this in an ad: ‘You tried. He tried. Black people are lovely, but this president-ing thing really isn’t for them.’”

Other panelists, including comedian Chelsea Handler, had a different take on the ad’s message, “To me, it sounds like a douche commercial,” she said, “It’s not even a black thing. It’s just, like, ‘You’re so sad. You’re so slow. You’re so stupid.’”

Maher suggested that the ad “lets people off the hook for saying, ‘You know what? I tried the black thing. It just didn’t work out.’”

Whether the ad is actually “dog-whistle” racism, or whether it’s softly suggesting to voters that the best way to get rid of that not-so-fresh feeling in their electoral parts is to go with the Romney/Ryan “Big Douche” ticket, you can watch the clip, embedded via Mediaite, below:

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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