An awful lot of right-wingers have rallied to the defense of insurrectionist-wannabe Cliven Bundy, who makes violent threats in support of his demand to continue grazing his cattle on federal land in perpetuity for free, in defiance of the law and of more than one federal court ruling; the latest supposedly respectable defender of Bundy is John Hinderaker, the Power Line blogger who's also a lawyer with deep professional ties to the Koch brothers.
(Has the right-wing noise machine made Bundy a cause celebre as part of a Koch attack on Harry Reid, the man Hinderaker and others have suggested is the sinister mastermind behind the attempt to require Bundy to
Whatever the reason for the right's embrace of Bundy, I think Kevin Drum is a bit off base when he sees this as an example of "the cravenness of the modern right":
The fact that so many on the right are valorizing Bundy -- or, at minimum, tiptoeing around his obvious nutbaggery -- is a testament to the enduring power of Waco and Ruby Ridge among conservatives. The rest of us may barely remember them, but they're totemic events on the right, fueling Glenn-Beckian fantasies of black helicopters and jackbooted federal thugs for more than two decades now. Mainstream conservatives have pandered to this stuff for years because it was convenient, and that's brought them to where they are today: too scared to stand up to the vigilantes they created and speak the simple truth. They complain endlessly about President Obama's "lawlessness," but this is lawlessness. It's appalling that so many of them aren't merely afraid to plainly say so, but actively seem to be egging it on.But Bundy's prominent supporters -- at Fox News, in the rest of the right-wing punditocracy, and in all likelihood within the donor community -- aren't "afraid" to speak up. They just don't see anything worrisome about this. They're supremely confident that the members of the GOP base who are aroused by this appeal to lawlessness will never turn on the interests they care about.
The right has been astonishingly successful at inspiring rank-and-file conservatives to flirt with anarchism while shielding corporate interests from any and all risk. The right may want to shut down the government, openly defy gun laws, delegitimize the president and his administration, and, in this case, violently prevent the Bureau of Land Management from enforcing the law, but we've seen ever since, oh, January 20, 2009, that none of this anarchic anger will ever be turned on Wall Street or the rest of the business community. The mob isn't going to leave Nevada and head for Lower Manhattan with weapons locked and loaded. Corporate suites elsewhere are perfectly safe, as are corporate tax breaks and other perks. These enraged right-wingers are so effectively brainwashed that they're never, ever going to question the Fox/Koch taxonomy of heroes and villains.
So it's not out of fear that prominent conservatives urge this on -- it's out of a sense that it's a team-building exercise: today, anarchy, tomorrow, a vote for the straight GOP ticket.