Cliven Bundy’s shocking comments on race likely to erode badly needed support

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Cliven Bundy could not leave well enough alone.

Secure in the knowledge that he had just came out on top in a long, harrowing standoff with federal agents, the Nevada rancher has likely destroyed the single most valuable asset he has after making ill advised comments about slavery.

The asset in question is the support of big name politicians.

It appears that The New York Times went west in search of a story, and the embattled rancher was only too happy to oblige. The National Journal reported Thursday that the Times “overheard” Bundy say “the Negro” might have been “better off as slaves” because family life was better then.

Bundy’s comment, as reported by the Times:

“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.”

Never mind that Bundy made the shocking comment Saturday during a daily press conference, according to the Times, which offsets the insidious notion that he was “overheard,” politicians will now distance themselves from him. 

In fact, it is already happening.

“His remarks on race are offensive and I wholeheartedly disagree with him,” U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Thursday in a statement, the National Journal reported. Paul was somewhat supportive of Bundy’s position on state’s rights.

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A spokesperson for U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., another politician who was favorable toward Bundy, told the Times that Heller “completely disagrees with Mr. Bundy’s appalling and racist statements, and condemns them in the most strenuous way.”

With Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on record saying “something is going to happen” to make Bundy comply with the law, the rancher is losing powerful support just when he needs it the most.

And he has only himself to blame.

Tom Tillison


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