This should be a lesson to conservatives: Most old white men with strong anti-government sentiments who don’t have media savvy are not good to hang your hat on. Cliven Bundy seemed to have it all: He had a ranch, just mindin’ his own business, and the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) wanted to fine him several $million. Why? Because he let his cattle graze on public lands.
And, marshals went in to try to enforce the order, and Cliven Bundy had a militia waiting. Or something like that.
He became a conservative darling practically overnight, a case study of apparent federal government over-reach upon the most sacred thing a man can have: his land. Tea Partier after Tea Partier, including media figures, FOX “news,” Congressmen and Senators, all fawned over him. And then he opened his mouth.
Adam Nagourney of the New York Times had him on tape stating:
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.
“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
Yeah, so blacks were better off as slaves because now they’re all on welfare. Turns out the old conservative white man is a racist. Probably not the best thing to say when you’re surrounded by media, either.
Politicians deserted him, and the media lit up. But his militia is still there. An African-American who was his (former?) bodyguard said that he would still take a bullet for him. And World Net Daily went all out attacking his detractors:
- “N.Y. Times: Cliven Bundy Says Slavery Better for Blacks” (April 24, anonymous)
- “Why the Land Belongs to Bundy” (April 24, by Ilana Mercer)
- “New York Times Sting Entraps Bundy” (April 24, Joseph Farah)
- “Black Leader Says Bundy Remarks Not Racist” (April 24, Bob Unruh) — Right Wing Watch commented on this one
- “Bundy-Times Sting: Worse Than I Thought” (April 25, Joseph Farah)
- “‘Better Off as Slaves'” (April 25, poll)
- “How a Cattleman’s Comments Cost Conservatives” (April 29, Selena Owens)
The April 25 poll, now with 543 voting, shows only 3 voters (<1%) said that his comments were racist, 8 said it was hard to say because Americans are hyper-sensitive to the issue, 23 said that they don't care because the feds are overreaching, and all the rest (509, or 93.7%) said that they were not racist. I would hazard to guess that the majority of those voting – since you have to be registered with WND, are the stereotypical ultra-conservative … old white male.
Getting into what all the WND folks wrote is beyond the scope of this post, and I honestly don't really care anymore. It's just post-hoc rationalization and digging themselves even deeper. Bundy's remarks are stereotyped, offensive, and wrong.