TPM Reader JG says the federal stand-down outside the Bundy Ranch over the weekend may have been shrewder than it seemed … (Also note that the local ‘militia’ reportedly planned to use women as human shields.)
I grew up in southern Utah, not far from the Bundy ranch standoff — and the stuff going on there turns my stomach. I share Josh’s concern about letting the camo crowd scare off the BLM, though it’s probably wise in the short term. Here’s why:
I’ve got FB friends who are ranchers, and most of them are pretty right-wing, but even they are rolling their eyes at this guy. They’ve had conflicts with the feds/BLM over land use issues, and they’re way more conservative than me on those issues, but they’re really worried that Bundy is going to make things much harder for them in the long run. They’re also angry, too, because they pay the grazing fees that Bundy has skipped out on. Bundy will have a crowd of aimless teaparty gun-toters, bored during a midterm election year, that will wave their guns (so to speak) around for a while, but Bundy’s situation won’t keep that crowd inspired very long. Everyone will be embarrassed about the whole thing eventually. I think it was wise for the BLM to let the Bundy wackos go full wacko for the cameras so the feds could be seen taking the high road for the time being. Bundy won’t garner much sympathy for very long. He’s a no-nothing Joe the Plumber in a cowboy hat.
Also, there’s one question that doesn’t seem to have come up in the coverage of that story. Bundy claims that he doesn’t owe the gubmint anything because he inherited that land from his ancestors, who were there before the BLM existed–which, of course, it total nonsense. But even if that weren’t the case, wouldn’t that mean that instead of owing 20 years worth of grazing fees he’d owe 150 years worth of property taxes?