Like rats abadoning a sinking ship, the conservative political and media figures who've spent the past two weeks lionizing Cliven Bundy are getting as far away from him as possible now that he's proven himself to be nothing more than your average crusty old racist. Unlike, say, that time that Phil Robertson made some ass-backward comments about gays and blacks, there's simply no way to spin Bundy pompously holding court on "the negro": his laziness, tendency toward aborting his children, and generally the fact that he might be better off picking cotton again. That's a mess you just can't clean up.
Realizing this, those who've embraced and promoted Bundy's lunatic lawlessness and tried to elevate Bundy himself to the level of national folk hero are left with no other choice than to now rain fire down on him. And so that's what they're doing -- most of them anyway. There are still a few conservative media holdouts -- people who don't have to worry about pesky things like voters revolting against them -- trying to claim that their worship of Bundy was never really about the man but what his fight symbolized. They say it was always about government overreach and Cliven Bundy was merely the catalyst for the discussion that needed to be had. If this sounds a lot like very fast tap-dancing -- it is.
Anyway, here are some of the best responses from the right to Bundy's personal feelings about "the negro" and the instantaneous media meltdown it caused, set to music. It's the end of an era. Hit play and enjoy.
"Those comments are completely unacceptable."
-- Catherine Frazier, press secretary for Ted Cruz
"His remarks on race are offensive and I wholeheartedly disagree with him."
-- Rand Paul
"(Senator Heller) completely disagrees with Mr. Bundy’s appalling and racist statements, and condemns them in the most strenuous way."
-- Chandler Smith, spokesperson for Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada
"Bundy’s comments are completely beyond the pale. Both highly offensive and 100 percent wrong on race."
-- Reince Priebus
"I strongly disagree with Cliven Bundy’s comments about slavery. Mr. Bundy has said things I don’t agree with; however, we cannot let this divert our attention from the true issue of the atrocities BLM committed by harming our public land and the animals living on it."
-- Nevada Assemblywoman Michelle Fiore, who a week-and-a-half ago addressed the crowd of armed militia-members at the Bundy Ranch and said, "Understand, it is because of each and every one of you standing here and each and every one of our Americans watching us and protecting us with our firearms why this did not turn into Waco massacre or a Ruby Ridge."
"I don’t know what he said, but the fact is Clyde Bundy (sic!) is a side issue here compared to what we’re looking at in the state of Texas."
-- Rick Perry
"People turn out to be complicated and unpredictable."
-- Kevin D. Williamson of the National Review, who recently compared Bundy to Gandhi
"I hope no one is surprised that an old man rancher isn’t media trained to express himself perfectly."
-- Dana Loesch
And, well, because you just can't expect everyone to get it:
We're still waiting to hear from the biggest Bundy fanboy of all: Sean Hannity.
Don't push him -- he's very fragile right now. It's going to take some time to unfriend Bundy on Facebook and cross out all those hearts with "S+C" he'd drawn all over his folders.
Update: Hannity has spoken, having apparently "consciously uncoupled" from Bundy. From Talking Points Memo:
Conservative media titan Sean Hannity, formerly one of Nevada rancher Clive Bundy's strongest advocates, expressed his vehement disgust Thursday with the latter's remarks on slavery
Bundy's comments "are beyond repugnant to me. They are beyond despicable to me. They are beyond ignorant to me," Hannity said during his radio show.
He then turned his anger toward Democrats who would use Bundy's comments to attack conservatives.
"They want to say that conservatives are racist. Conservatives hate women," Hannity said. "Conservatives want old people to die, granny over the cliff. They want the young people to fend for themselves. They want to poison the air and poison the water."
"People that for the right reasons saw this case as government overreach now are branded because of the ignorant, racist, repugnant, despicable comments of Cliven Bundy," he said.
After playing a clip of Bundy trying to clarify what he meant, Hannity said: "Just turn it off. I don't want to hear it anymore. It's obnoxious, ignorant."
The love affair, it appears, really is over. So sad for these two kids.