Why Conservatives Love Bill Cosby

By Bill Maher

Lots of people were laughing at Rudy Giuliani’s recent comment that he wished an “African American president stood up and said — I hate to mention it because of what happened afterwards — the kinds of stuff that Bill Cosby used to say….” Because who better to teach black America lessons than a disgraced serial rapist?

But here’s something most people don’t know about me: I speak wingnut. I do. I’m conversant in the language spoken by the base of the Republican Party. And for years, Bill Cosby has been a hero to those people. Not because they loved The Cosby Show, but because Bill Cosby told black people to pull up their pants. He’d also say that if he was walking down a dark street and heard footsteps behind him, he’d feel better if he looked back and it was a white person behind him.

Republicans have these Cosby lines at the ready at any point in a conversation about race. Because Bill Cosby said the things Republicans wish they could say to blacks. They want to tell black people to pull up their pants. They want to tell black people that too many of them are criminals. They want to tell black America that their music is filth. But they feel like they can’t because they’ll be labeled a racist. But they’re not racist. Because Bill Cosby said the same thing. 

Giuliani is no different, nor more complicated than your average chain email. What he’s doing is saying that, disgraced as he may be, Bill Cosby lectured blacks in the right way, and now he’d like President Obama to lecture blacks in that way, too. Because we all agree that what black people need is a stern lecture from Dad. And as white people, we can’t do it. You don’t listen to us. We’re “crackers.” So someone who isn’t Bill Cosby is going to have to assume the former responsibilities of Bill Cosby and tell black people to stay in school and stop having babies out of wedlock. If only President Obama would do it, but he’s disappointing us yet again. 

Republicans really do have to shake this pervasive, paternalistic attitude they have toward the black community, which imagines they’re children and white people are the Dad, and if they’d just turn down the music and listen, they might learn something. On the flip side, if there’s a black person out there who is looking to make a quick buck, write a book called, “Black and Right: Why Black America Needs To Pull Up Its Pants.” Republicans will forget they ever heard the name Ben Carson.