In acknowledging that calling Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” was technically an ethnic slur, Bill Maher scolded Democrats for being too obsessed with social justice issues in a disconnection from voters’ bread-and-butter economic concerns.
In an interview on HBO’s Real Time with the Massachusetts Senator last week, in referencing Donald Trump voters, Maher joked that “they don’t like you, Pocahontas.” Maher is nonetheless a big fan of Warren, and both are vocal and strident adversaries of the president.
The HBO host likely was alluding to the fact that President Trump revived the Pocahontas insult during a recent speech to the National Rifle Association in which he warned the group about the gun control advocate’s alleged presidential aspirations, a remark to which many on social media took exception.
Maher’s quip got what many would describe in the vernacular as the “stink eye” from Warren, who is promoting a book called The Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class and is widely expected to run for president in 2020 for the Democrats.
In an oft-repeated contention by liberals, the context of Maher’s exchange with Warren was that blue-collar workers and others operate against their own interests by voting Republican, in this case for Donald Trump, who was actually a Democrat and independent before seeking the presidency on the GOP ticket.
When asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper about the tense Pocahontas moment with Elizabeth Warren (see clip embedded below), Bill Maher insisted that while Trump’s comment may have been an ethnic slur as Tapper deemed it, Democrats have a major problem when they allow themselves to be sidetracked by identity politics issues that fail to resonate with voters on election day.
“Technically yes. Should we get that upset about it? Of course not. This is, again, one of the problems that Democrats have. Is that they obsess about things like Halloween costumes and the name of the Washington Redskins, and there’s millions of people in this country who are saying how about a little bit more of ‘I’m going to get your job back.’ That’s why they listened to a con man about that. But the point I was pressing Elizabeth Warren on there was about the fact that — there was a survey came out this week that showed Obama voters, the last two before this election, who switched to Trump by 2-1. They think that Democrats in Congress favor the wealthy more than Trump does…”
Maher continued that he didn’t understand why voters justifiably angry with the status quo would turn to Trump rather than to lawmakers who advocate a Warren-like agenda and claimed that the electorate was either too ignorant or inattentive to realize what’s going on.
“My question is how come their solution to that anger is to go for the guy who is obviously turning everything back over to the one percent instead of you, Elizabeth Warren, who would actually help those people? Whose fault is that? It is part of the Democrats’ fault and it’s part people’s fault.”
Warren critics originally mocked her with the derisive “Fauxcahontas” (rather than Pocahontas) nickname, which is a play on words from the election about five years ago.
In running against then-Senator Scott Brown in 2012, Elizabeth Warren maintained that she was 1/32 Cherokee, but no formal corroboration of this claim’s validity has ever emerged. There are allegations that Warren nonetheless used her “minority” status to obtain important law teaching positions at several Ivy League universities under affirmative action. Last year, a prominent Native American writer referred to Warren as a “Pretendian.” In 2012, Cherokee genealogist Twila Barnes asserted that no authentication existed for Warren’s purported Native American heritage.
In June of 2016, then-candidate Trump said at a Tampa rally that he would apologize to Pocahontas for the reference “because Pocahontas is insulted by the statement,” MSNBC reported at the time. The future president also told ex-Fox News Channel anchor Bill O’Reilly that “I do regret calling [Warren] Pocahontas because I think it’s a tremendous insult to Pocahontas. So, Pocahontas, I would like to apologize to you,” CNSNews reported.
In May of 2012, the Atlantic, a liberal publication, declared in a detailed story that based on genealogical evidence, Warren was not eligible for membership in one of any three Cherokee tribes recognized by the U.S. government, but also asserted that she never benefited in her professional career from claiming that heritage.
In March, a Brown University professor of Native American descent called out Elizabeth Warren for allegedly being “complicit in racism” for her apparent silence on discrimination against Native Americans, the Social Memo recalled.
Sen. Warren is up for reelection in 2018, and several Massachusetts Republicans have already entered the field in an attempt to unseat her.
[Featured Image by Casey Curry/Invision/AP Images]