Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy became a hero in some libertarian and conservative circles for his standoff with federal authorities over grazing rights earlier this month. But then he kept talking. The New York Times today quotes him thusly:
- “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Referencing a public-housing project he once saw in North Las Vegas, he continued: "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."
- It gets worse: “And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? 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.”
The upshot is that he "just ruined his cause," declared the conservative National Journal in a headline. Rand Paul, who repeatedly defended Bundy amid the standoff, issued a statement asserting that Bundy's "remarks on race are offensive and I wholeheartedly disagree with him." Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, who previously called Bundy and his supporters "patriots," said that he "completely disagrees with Mr. Bundy's appalling and racist statements, and condemns them in the most strenuous way." Vanity Fair notes, however, that most mainstream conservative lawmakers shied away from Bundy, and that his "situation did not become a rallying cry for the broader Republican Party." Meanwhile, conservative radio host Dana Loesch, who defended Bundy on Fox News, blamed the Times for taking advantage of an "old man rancher" who "isn't trained to express himself perfectly," reports Politico.