Tuesday, April 15, 2014


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 enforce obey the law, because, allegedly, his own interests are on the line? It would be irresponsible not to speculate.)

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.


Victor said...

"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."


Terrifying, but oh so true, Steve!!!

Anonymous said...

The only way to combat this has always been for the left to give up social issues.

Point out that Wall Street bankers farmed out their jobs to China and got rich off their tax breaks. And then used the money to force gay marriage through New York and thus the nation. Point out that the tax breaks and not going to restore a Christian nation, but to free the nation from the church especially on the sexual and cultural issues those Wall Street bankers love so much.

That's the ONLY way anything is going to change. It's also why I have no faith in the left. We can't be the party of New York cultural/social/sexual values and not end up working with the people we hate economically. Turning the economy around means destroying our rich allies that let us win on cultural issues.

We need to pick one, and stop pretending we give a flying fuck about the other... and it's going to end up being social issues.

Victor said...

They actually ARE a problem. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars in election years, making sure that their lackey's are elected.

Unlike the Conservatives boogyman - George Soros, who may have contributed a lot of money 10 years ago, but a lot less since then.

And unless you're worth a lot of money, you're a fool and rube for people who use you.

Tom Hilton said...

There's another reason they're rallying around Bundy: one of only two things conservatives really believe in is the entitlement (of some people) to externalize costs. A deadbeat rancher standing up for his God-given right to fatten his cattle on the public dime? Hell, throw in a buncha guns (the other thing conservatives believe in) and you've got a ready-made conservative hero.

Raymond Smith said...

It should be noted that the actions of these people with weapons and calls of violence against the US Government is against the law. Want all of this to stop and stop fast. After all of these people leave their little rally pick each and every one of them up when there is a safe opportunity. Try them and then escort them to a border to leave the USA that they seem to despise so much. Use our laws to defeat them, that is why they are on the books.

Tom Hilton said...

Geese Howard: I'm gonna make a wild guess that you're a guy, and probably a straight guy. Suffice it to say that it's harder for people who aren't straight guys to be as dismissive of basic human rights as you are.

Steve M. said...

I think the left needs to place much more emphasis on economic issues -- but not to the exclusion of social issues. There isn't a quota on what we can ask for. The right certainly doesn't say, "Choose abortion or guns or tax cuts or killing Muslims." Why do we have to choose?

The problem isn't that we prioritize social issues, it's that we win sometimes on social issues, but we never win on economic issues. In large part this is because our pols don't even try, terrified as they are to sacrifice fat-cat cash. Also, there are few economic activists who fight the way the civil right movement fought -- by focusing on issues rather than elections. (That's how the gay rights movement used to fight, too -- both the civil rights and gay rights movements fought issue-oriented campaigns despite the fact that both parties were far to their right. They fought until they won some.)

We need a popular, bottom-up economic rights movement. Ideally, slipping-from-the-middle-class and poorer white people would be part of it, or at least sympathetic to it rather than hostile to it, just because white people are still the majority in this country. But I don't see that happening in my lifetime.

Steve M. said...

Yeah? And the prison Bundy's currently incarcerated in is where precisely? And the injuries he's sustained at the hands of the authorities include what exactly?

Victor said...

What an ignorant stooge, bobo, and dim/nit/half/f*ck-wit you are, Placeholder!

I hope they pay you well for kissing their asses, and then powdering them.

But you may have missed a spot, polishing the Koch Brothers knobs with your tongue (NTTAWWT!!!).

Joey Blau said...

Nit pick

"behind the attempt to require Bundy to enforce the law"

s/b "behind the attempt to require Bundy to FOLLOW the law"

Steve M. said...

Thanks -- fixed now.