I’m with Jon Stewart: I just don’t get it. Here is a man who doesn’t recognize the United States government, but runs around with an American flag. He thinks slavery was a fine institution, much better I guess than getting welfare, but Mr. Bundy doesn’t seem to realize that by grazing his cattle for free, he has been getting welfare for years. Talk about welfare cheats!
And ya gotta love all those national political figures now in retreat. I guess they were initially moved by the pictures of all those armed men prepared to put the women up front so they would die first. But then came the comments about “Negroes”. Dana Milbank had a great list of retreaters and their comments in his recent Washington Post column.
Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy knows how to start a stampede.
After Bundy, who became a right-wing hero for his refusal to acknowledge the authority of the federal government, wondered aloud about whether “Negro” people were “better off as slaves,” conservative figures who had celebrated his cause rushed to distance themselves from him.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who had condemned the federal government’s attempt to enforce court orders against Bundy: “Offensive.”
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who had declared Bundy’s followers “patriots”: “Appalling and racist.”
And Sean Hannity, who had led a Fox News campaign that made a hero of Bundy: “Beyond repugnant.”
But Bundy’s daughter is still defending him. According to Mother Jones
Bundy defended his initial comments on Thursday saying, “If they think I’m racist, they’re totally wrong…Again, I’m wondering are they better off under the old system of slavery or are they better off under the welfare slavery that they’re under now. You know, I’m not saying one way or the other.” And on Friday morning, he told CNN that he didn’t see a problem with using terms like “Negro” or “boy” for black people. “If those people cannot take those kind of words and not be (offended), then Martin Luther King hasn’t got his job done yet,” he told anchor Chris Cuomo.
Meanwhile, Bundy’s daughter, Shiree Bundy Cox, is striking back at conservatives who have turned tail on Bundy, especially Hannity. In a Facebook post Thursday night, she accused Hannity of abandoning her father and pandering to ratings. Here’s a snippet:
I’m sure most of you have heard the news about my dad being called a racist. Wow! The media loves to take things out of context don’t they? First off I’d just like to say that my dad has never been the most eloquent speaking person. Like someone said, he’s a Moses who needs an Aaron to speak for him. This is true. Second, however, is that the media has turned this into a circus side show. It’s like their trying to throw us off the real subject. Why was this ever even brought up? What does this have to do with land rights issues? Sean Hannity was all for reporting the happenings at the Bundy Ranch until this popped up. I wonder if someone hoped it would be that way…By the way, I think Mr. Hannity is more worried about his ratings than he really is about what my dad said. If he supports a supposed racist, what will that do to his ratings? He’s already lost his #1 spot on Fox.
If Shiree wants to understand the connection between land rights, race and taxes, Dana Milbank can explain it to her.
In general terms, Bundy’s notion of state supremacy — “I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing” — is a variant of states’-rights claims that go back to the Civil War and were revived in the segregationists’ opposition to civil rights laws. Because the federal government has been the protector of minority rights, states’ rights have long been used to justify discrimination.
Specifically, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks anti-government and hate groups, says that Bundy’s sentiments align closely with those of the “Posse Comitatus” movement, founded by William Potter Gale in the 1970s. That movement based its anti-tax position — and its belief in the primacy of county and state authority over the federal government — on a belief that the levers of national power were controlled by Jewish bankers. “Most of the ideas that bolster positions like Cliven’s that the federal government doesn’t exist come from Posse Comitatus ideology,” the SPLC’s Ryan Lenz argues. And that ideology is rooted in bigotry.
I’m not sure how this will get resolved without violence, but if no action is taken I’m afraid that the discussion will pivot again into a questioning President Obama’s “manhood” for not fighting. This will really obscure the issues. In the meanwhile, we have Tom Tomorrow.