Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy thinks African Americans were "better off as slaves."

Anti-Government Rancher Makes Racist Comments

Cliven Bundy, the 67-year-old Nevada cattle rancher, has been breaking the law for twenty years. It was in 1993 that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), in an effort to protect the endangered desert tortoise, designated hundreds of thousands of acres of land near Las Vegas for strict conservation efforts. Bundy, refusing to abide by the new rules, continued to graze his cattle on the land. This led, over time, to the BLM repeatedly fining Bundy (he has never paid) and then revoking his permit (he has not applied for a new one).

Fast forward to last month, when the BLM informed Bundy that he owed around $1 million in fines and that it was planning to impound his herd of 500 cattle. In response, Bundy tried to turn the event into a spectacle, gathering his 14 children and 52 grandchildren in his house to await the federal officials, and conducting radio interviews. Protesters gather to protest the sale of his cattle and his son is arrested for “refusing to disperse.” An armed right-wing militia descends to prepare to defend Bundy. Said one member: “It’s not about the cows,” he said. “It’s about the freedom to make our own choices close to home.” Conservative media transforms Cliven Bundy into a right-wing media hero, and the BLM decides not to enforce their court order due to safety concerns.

But unfortunately for the conservatives who now have a new poster boy for patriotism by battling big government, Bundy has now chosen to use his national platform to talk about something else: “the Negro.” From the New York Times:

“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.”

Head over to Media Matters, the source to originally capture the comments, to watch a video of the entire thing.

Several high-profile conservatives have come out denouncing the remarks and walking back their support of Bundy, but many have not. Fox News, which has been a primary driver of the story on the national stage, still had not covered Bundy’s racism as of 2:15 pm ET this afternoon. The hypocrisy of this is self-evident.

Even before his racist comments, Cliven Bundy was a hypocrite too: mooching off of the federal government while at the same time literally fighting against it. Needless to say, his comments on African Americans only expose that even more.

BOTTOM LINE: Cliven Bundy isn’t the first right-wing extremist and he won’t be the last. But conservative leaders who build up a person for his “heroic” resistance to big government should be prepared to explain themselves when that person also holds views that are crude and offensive. There’s no excuse for doing anything else.

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Advocacy Team