Cliven Bundy's Towering Tantrum of Entitlement
by Clarence Page
Here's an important lesson for politicians and talk show hosts: Be careful whom you put on a pedestal. They might fall on you.
Yes, I'm referring to the saga of
Bundy became a hero with some Republican politicians, sagebrush libertarians and conservative talk show hosts after federal agents confiscated some of this cattle to help pay 20 years of grazing fees, totaling about
But hundreds of gun-toting supporters rallied to his side. So did
But that was before the 67-year-old rancher wandered way, way off-topic to expound on the subject of low-income black people, sending his most prominent supporters scurrying away like cats from a water sprinkler.
"I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro," he said in a 55-minute ramble that was quoted by a
Describing a public-housing development that he drove by in
Why? Because "they were basically on government subsidy," Bundy said. "They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton."
Public housing needs cotton fields? Gee, thank you, Master Bundy.
But wait, there's more: "And I've often wondered," he mused, "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."
Ah, seldom has a freedom-loving American made a more spirited pitch for slavery. Bundy's vision of slave family life amazingly included no whips, chains, auction blocks, lynchings, wives torn away from husbands or children forever torn away from their parents. Maybe "Twelve Years a Slave" didn't make it to his part of
At least, Bundy insisted in later interviews that he is "not a racist." That's a relief. I'd hate to think of what he would said if he had been trying to sound racist.
Republicans like Sen.
Hannity distanced himself from Bundy's remarks ("racist" and "beyond repugnant"), although not his cause. That cause never has sat well with conservative talk show host
Never have I agreed with Beck more. Bundy criticizes people who "live under government subsidy" while he does precisely that. He has said on-camera that "I don't recognize the
Yet Bundy would not have received nearly as much support had there not been a legitimate political beef behind his antics. For decades, a sagebrush rebellion of western politicians and cattle ranchers has argued that the federal government owns too much land and governs environmental policies too tightly.
In fact, Bundy's dispute began with new protections for the desert tortoise, an animal against which he says he bears no grudge. That, too, is a relief. But, even as he deplores deadbeat dads, it doesn't help his cause for him to act like a deadbeat rancher.
Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy's Race Rant Sends GOP Backers Fleeing
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