On Thursday, the New York Times printed an article discussing a video that was recorded on April 19th showing Nevada rancher, and new conservative folk hero, Cliven Bundy spouting off highly offensive and racist statements about African-Americans. Essentially, Bundy claimed that blacks are lazy and unproductive due to not learning how to pick cotton and insinuating that they were better off as slaves.
Below is an excerpt from the Times article:
“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.”
Below is video of Bundy’s remarks:
By Thursday morning, Republicans who had previously championed Bundy’s cause and held him up as a hero and patriot were falling all over themselves condemning his remarks. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), who had called Bundy’s supporters ‘patriots’ after the armed standoff with federal agents, made sure to get a statement out forcefully rejecting Bundy’s comments. Sen Rand Paul (R-KY), another vocal supporter of Bundy’s, was also quick on the trigger in releasing a statement condemning the racist rancher.
It will be quite interesting to see how Sean Hannity, a huge defender of Bundy’s, reacts to this revelation. The Fox News host has been getting absolutely annihilated by Jon Stewart this week over his over-the-top support of the rancher. Something tells me Stewart isn’t finished with him quite yet. Especially if Hannity somehow tries to pretend that he wasn’t that big of a supporter of Bundy’s with these awful comments being made public.
On the other hand, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who labeled Bundy and his militia buddies ‘domestic terrorists,’ and has been raked across the coals by right-wing media figures, libertarians and Republican politicians over his remarks on the Bundy saga, is getting the last laugh. On Thursday, Reid released the following statement destroying Bundy and calling him a ‘hateful racist.’
“I used to live in North Las Vegas and it is home to some of the hardest-working people I have ever met – men and women who embody the American dream by working hard every day to build a better life for themselves and their families. By contrast, Cliven Bundy has spent decades profiting off government land while refusing to pay the same fair use fees as his fellow ranchers. Today, Bundy revealed himself to be a hateful racist. But by denigrating people who work hard and play by the rules while he mooches off public land he also revealed himself to be a hypocrite.
“To advance his extreme, hateful views, Bundy has endangered the lives of innocent women and children. This is not a game. It is the height of irresponsibility for any individual or entity in a position of power or influence to glorify or romanticize such a dangerous individual, and anyone who has done so should come to their senses and immediately condemn Bundy. For their part, national Republican leaders could help show a united front against this kind of hateful, dangerous extremism by publicly condemning Bundy.
“The bottom line is that elected officials and those in positions of power or influence have a responsibility to unite behind the basic principle that we are a country of laws, and that whatever our differences, it is unacceptable for individuals to use violence or the threat of violence to advance their radical views.”
Conservatives are going to have to admit that Reid was right about Cliven Bundy all along. He has constantly pointed out that Bundy is nothing more than a lawless moocher with extreme views on society and our country. He was able to use this opportunity to hammer that home to anyone who thought Bundy was someone to be admired. Essentially, Reid is pointing in the face of everyone who thought Bundy and his gun-crazy supporters are true patriots worthy of affection and adoration.
Republicans who championed Bundy and presented him as a hero now have to reap what they sow. This is going to haunt them for a while. It should give them pause when it comes to rallying around extremists. However, I think we all know this won’t be the last radical zealot they get behind.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).