The debate over whether Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy is a “Welfare Rancher,” “Lawless Renegade,” “Deadbeat,” or a “Patriot Freedom Fighter” rages on, but the rancher at the heart of the dispute over grazing rights lost much of the support from Republican leaders yesterday after making remarks about the benefits of slavery.
Bundy’s remarks, made to his supporters at his ranch outside of Bunkerville, Nevada, and published by the New York Times on Wednesday night, has caused many Republican lawmakers to scramble in an effort to distance themselves from the man kept in the forefront by Fox News coverage.
Here is an excerpt from the article by Adam Nagourney:
“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.”
The debate over Bundy and his followers has even the two U.S. Senators in Nevada at odds with each other. Last week, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada called the militias camped out at Bundy’s ranch “Domestic violent terrorist-wannabes.” His Republican counterpart, Senator Dean Heller, responded to Reid’s remarks saying, that he considers those militiamen as “patriots.”
But, Heller quickly distanced himself from Bundy’s comments yesterday, Heller’s spokesman, Chandler Smith, stated that the senator “completely disagrees with Mr. Bundy’s appalling and racist statements, and condemns them in the most strenuous way.”
Libertarian Republican Kentucky Senator and presidential hopeful, Rand Paul, who has been very critical of the government’s stance in the dispute with Bundy has also back-pedaled away from Bundy and his statements after Bundy’s remarks. After not having an immediate comment, Paul later said, “His remarks on race are offensive and I wholeheartedly disagree with him.”
Reid said after hearing of Bundy’s remarks said in a statement, “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.”
Reid continued, saying, “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.”
The dispute between Bundy and BLM has spanned 20 years. It was in 1993 that Bundy refused to pay grazing fees to the government for his use of public lands, after grazing rules were changed in the Gold Butte area of Nevada to protect a species of Desert Tortoise against extinction because of previous overgrazing.
For five years, Bundy continued to graze his cattle on the public lands despite the order. But, by 1998, Bundy was prohibited from grazing his cattle on the land and court orders were issued. The 1998 court order permanently enjoined Bundy from grazing his livestock on the land and ordered him to remove his cattle no later than November 30 of that year and set damage amounts at $200 a head for any cattle remaining on the land after that date.
Pages: 1 2