Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy is a registered Republican, as the New York Times reported alongside his inflammatory remarks on slavery. Many prominent conservatives had voiced sympathy for his cause as Bundy battled the Bureau of Land Management.
Potential 2016 presidential contenders Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) criticized the federal authorities opposing Bundy. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) drove up to the Bundy ranch to stand alongside him. Republican state lawmakers gave impassioned defenses of the armed militia that backed the 67-year-old rancher. Fox News personalities vigorously covered the proceedings and brought Bundy on their shows.
But now that Bundy’s racial sentiments have been exposed, forcing the right to ostracize him as best they can, Republicans have re-directed their anger at those who might point out that the man who openly wondered if blacks had been “better off slaves” is one of their own.
They fumed that it had become just another excuse to denigrate conservatives.
To wit: As soon as conservative media titan Sean Hannity communicated his disgust with Bundy’s “beyond despicable” comments, he turned his rage toward the nameless, faceless liberals who would brand all conservatives for allegedly holding the same views.
“They want to say that conservatives are racist. Conservatives hate women,” Hannity said Thursday. “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 continued. “Every conservative that I know does not support racism, period.”
Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer embarked on his own tirade Friday on CNN, expressing his exasperation that “every reporter calls the Republican National Committee asking for comment” after Bundy said something widely condemned as racist.
“The issue with Cliven Bundy has absolutely nothing to do with his party, zero,” he said. “He is a Nevada rancher that had a beef with the federal government’s continued overreach and suddenly this became a question when he made some inappropriate comments about what every Republican needs to answer for. “
“That’s absolutely ridiculous,” he concluded.
They might have been onto something. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid explicitly baited “national Republican leaders” to “show a united front against this kind of hateful, dangerous extremism by publicly condemning Bundy.”
The blogger Allahpundit, writing for Hot Air, saw what Reid was getting at.
“The point of demanding formal denunciations is simply to prompt the media to put random Republicans on the spot when they have a chance,” he wrote.
Bryan Preston, a former Texas Republican Party official writing for PJ Media, alleged hypocrisy on the part of liberals “demanding that every single Republican answer for Cliven Bundy.”
“You’re not going to get intellectual consistency out of progressives. You’re only ever going to get childishness and opportunism out of them,” he wrote. “So the same people who are today demanding that every single Republican answer for Cliven Bundy, whether we leaped to his defense or not, pretend that Jeremiah Wright doesn’t exist and that Barack Obama did not spend 20 years listening to the reverend’s racist rants.”