As Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy blows up in the faces of conservatives who championed his cause by articulating what is, in fact, mainstream Republican thought, the left waits to see which conservatives will back away, and which will lean into it. Conservative radio host and media figure Dana Loesch has given us an idea of what the latter will look like with a comical defense of Bundy's remarks about "the Negro" that will, hopefully, be adopted by many of her contemporaries.
“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.”
Dana Loesch, though, isn't so sure. Faced with Bundy's remarks, the conservative media powerhouse rushed to keyboard to comment. She wrote "I was alerted to this story this evening in the NYT on rancher Cliven Bundy which featured a quote I was told was racist, and therefor I should apologize for ever criticizing the Bureau of Land Management’s handling of this and other situations," and then blockquoted the Times piece. Granting that the quote is "odd" and that it "sounds" racist, Loesch went on to explain that even if the guy didn't express himself "perfectly," he kinda had a point (emphasis mine):
A few things. First, to take the quote at face value it’s odd and sounds offensive. You’re talking about government overreach and you go into this story? Secondly, I hope no one is surprised that an old man rancher isn’t media trained to express himself perfectly. He seems to be decrying what big government has done to the black family — which big government has negatively affected not just the black family, but all families regardless of ethnicity — so perhaps he included that in his remarks against big government?
In Loesch's defense, and I mean this sincerely, what Bundy said is the kind of thing that mainstream Republicans say all the time, it is mainstream Republican thought. The only difference is they don't usually use the word "Negro," or something close. Watching them scramble to get away from the Bundy grenade is comical, because they are the ones who armed it and pulled the pin.
Loesch also goes on to allow that "If Bundy is a racist, that is awful," presumably predicated on some kind of forensic lab results. We're still waiting for them to tell us if water is wet, so it might be awhile.
Meanwhile, the DNC and Harry Reid are hammering Republicans over this. Here's Reid's statement, via email:
Reid Calls For Leaders To Unite In Condemnation Of Cliven Bundy’s Dangerous Extremism
"This is not a game."
Las Vegas, NV – Nevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement today on racist comments by Cliven Bundy reported by the New York Times.
"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.”