Bill Maher is not mincing words. On his HBO show Real Time, he compared Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s (D) support for raising student test scores to racial profiling.
In the liberal comedian’s world, McAuliffe’s views are not popular among his party’s base.
“I can’t believe that Terry McAuliffe hasn’t officially told all his core Democrats ‘This is how I feel,'” Maher said. “Because it’s blatantly racist. And I don’t think he means it.”
Gov. McAuliffe held a press conference Wednesday morning announcing his plan to give $2 billion in tax credits to businesses willing to boost college readiness by training students to work in high-demand industries. The program, known as Virginia Jobs First, would give over $400 million to companies that develop training programs and make efforts to recruit Virginia high school graduates who were interested in technical education.
These efforts would help cut high school drop-out rates, McAuliffe said in a news release.
“There’s no better way to grow our economy and create good jobs than to invest in Virginia’s education system,” McAuliffe said. “I promise you it will work because I know it will create long-term economic prosperity for our state.”
But a strong majority of Republican lawmakers oppose McAuliffe’s proposal, arguing that it’s a bad idea that would put students and teachers at risk.
It is not the first time McAuliffe has come under fire over his education plan. He irked parents earlier this year when he announced that Virginia would no longer be penalized for having achievement levels lower than the state average.
Maher took up McAuliffe’s cause in a special panel segment that aired Thursday night, explaining why he thinks this tax credit is a racial demagoguery.
“They are saying, you know what? Parents are racist for thinking that I should raise my kids better than I raised them,” Maher said. “Why don’t you guys, you make your kids take a test each year, they go down, you go to public school and you do your best to learn. Shouldn’t you get our help to get them better education, help them keep up?”
Maher concluded that allowing the state to say “parents vote” would be the “most reprehensible” policy in Virginia.
“Shouldn’t they have a right to vote?” Maher continued. “Terry McAuliffe knows better than anyone, he just didn’t realize. And Terry McAuliffe thinks he’s smarter than the rest of us. But not anymore. Not ever again. Parents are racist now.”
To help foment opposition, Maher said Virginia Republicans are running ads accusing McAuliffe of eliminating the School Equity Act. The ad, however, is misleading. McAuliffe’s office said the state is implementing a new formula that essentially upgrades school districts, which already received the best funding, according to the Washington Post.
The characterizations are likely to continue throughout the gubernatorial election on November 6.
Of all 48 states that allow for primaries, only two, Vermont and California, elect their governors directly, according to PolicyMic. Virginia has been electing governors through special elections or governor’s questions since 1952. The odd years of 1948 and 1952, due to the House and Senate being controlled by different parties, sparked this desire for direct elections.
Viewers watching Real Time Thursday night also saw host Maher take aim at conservatives for opposing abortion. Maher described North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s (R) campaign ad attacking Terry McAuliffe for allowing women to access abortions.
“If I had been in the governor’s chair and I had seen that advertisement, I would have called a press conference in front of abortion clinics,” Maher said. “I would have shown an open-window on them to everyone, and whoever is a member of the press would have had to identify themselves as whether they are pro-life or pro-choice, or pro-choice only.”