The Bundy Bunch

I haven’t posted about the bizarre episode that Jon Stewart aptly dubbed “Apocalypse Cow,” because–to be candid–I’ve had a huge problem understanding why anyone would rush to the defense of a guy whose claim to fame is that he doesn’t pay his bills.

The facts aren’t really in dispute: when Bureau of Land Management rangers attempted to enforce a court order to confiscate cattle owned by Cliven Bundy, an assortment of militiamen, “patriots” and assorted kooks–all armed–came to his defense. The government, fearing another Waco, temporarily retreated. This bit of adult restraint was celebrated by Bundy’s ragtag army as a great victory.

Bundy has been illegally grazing his herd on public land since 1993. He never paid the very minimal grazing fees initially imposed by President Reagan, and several courts have confirmed that he currently owes taxpayers over a million dollars.

His “defense” is that he doesn’t recognize the existence of the federal government.

What I don’t get is the Right’s wholesale embrace of this “taker.” Fox News–especially Sean Hannity–rushed to defend a guy who proudly admits to ripping off government and the taxpayers. The network that routinely excoriates “welfare cheaters” evidently saw no irony in its defense of  a brazen moocher.

It turns out that rural radicalism is nothing new. In fact, Catherine McNicol Stock wrote a book documenting a long tradition of rural extremism in the U.S.

As Stock noted, the arrest of Timothy McVeigh for the Oklahoma City bombing gave homegrown terrorism a face, and that face turned out to be white-skinned, blue-eyed and clean-shaven. Networks of home-grown, small-town militiamen, conspiracists, survivalists, and white supremacists who had been there all along, suddenly became visible. They are heirs to “a tradition as old as the country itself, characteristically angry and frequently violent, rendering patriotism as intolerance.”

The recurring themes in rural radical movements are familiar:  anti-federalism, white supremacy, populism, and vigilantism.

Cliven Bundy has proved himself an heir to the entirety of that radical tradition, but ironically, when he shared his overtly racist views, it suddenly became “a bridge too far” even for Fox, which prefers its racism to be (slightly) more subtle.

What I still don’t get, however, is what attracted them to this moocher in the first place.


  1. ” what attracted them to this moocher in the first place.”
    My best guess is that Fox Noise saw this as yet another opportunity to stick its finger in the eye of the black man in the white house. Nothing more. Nothing less. They may yet stir people to deadly violence. And in the Fox Noise world, it will be Pres Obamas fault.

  2. Racism is alive and well in this country; this country was built on racism in many forms and in the pro and con issue of racism. The nutcases get headlines and racist nutcases seem to garner a larger following then our everyday run-of-the-mill nutcases. As for Cliven Bundy; I only half-heartedly kept up with his story so I don’t know if his ranch and herds of cattle being fattened on government land are his livelihood or if he is an excentric millionaire who is now in the public eye. The right-wing tends to attract these people and these people attract the right-wingers; Rush has been around for years and, like the cockroach, is vermin that cannot be exterminated. There are probably several of them in Indiana due to our “leadership”.

    Regarding our “leadeship”; I found the headlines announcing the many GOP speakers at the NRA convention to be highly offensive. The NRA has had the GOP in it’s pocket for years; this is well known, but to display such political backing and favoritism to a business organization with lobbyists and politicians hand-in-hand has nothing to do with the 2nd Amendment – it is all about MONEY, MONEY, MONEY. Somewhere in the Bunday fiasco there must be a money trail to follow.

  3. If you appear to be opposed to anything from the Obama administration or the “victim” of any action by the Obama administration, you’re a hero to the right. It’s not about policies; it’s about opposition to the President. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

  4. I’m curious if you plan to characterize the racist rants of Donald Sterling, the billionaire owner of the LA Clippers. Is he “a home-grown, small-town militiaman, conspiracist, survivalist, and white supremacist.”

  5. Sterling’s drama is not government related and as far as we know, he has not mooched off of the rest of us or started an anti-government militia. Racist, sure, but not trying to ignore his responsibilities to the country. He may just be an ass.

  6. A few thoughts. There is a segment of our elected leadership, that has through the years created “Loop Holes” in the tax structure. See Bernie Sanders top ten American Tax Avoiders – Cliven Bundy has just not figured out a legal trick to avoid his debt to the USA. I can have some sympathy for Bundy concerning taxes -if you are large corporation you can have a few politicians ignore or create the so-called “Loop Holes” in our system. Bundy does not recognize the Federal Government, but I think we can be sure he and his Dooms Day Crew rely on roads funded by the Federal Government for transportation.

    The Right is OK with “Takers” as long as their last name is INC.

    I suspect in Modern Times since IKE sent troops to Little Rock to force integration and Federal Laws and enforcement of the Laws was carried out a segment of the population reacted to this as an invasion.

    The Right has also been successful in vilifying people on Government Assistance. It is more subtle today but the underlying message with a Nod and Wink is the problem is all those swarthy people on Government Assistance. The reason we do not have Living Wage Jobs is not fault of Corporations and their anti-union rhetoric, or out sourcing jobs, the fault is with the individual or so the Corporate Story Goes.

  7. Please, Anna B. The only people better at mooching off the government than NBA owners are NFL team owners. Their entire professional sporting team franchises are built on government-sanctioned and subsidized monopolies for the exclusive benefit of a select few bestowed the right by the collective team owners to membership in their corporate welfare enterprise. Every American pays for their self-serving wealth sustaining businesses whether we can afford to attend their games or not.

  8. I’m all for shortening Sterling’s and Bundy’s 15 minutes (which they have thoroughly enjoyed) to 5 minutes. Time’s up, fellas! Get lost!

  9. The motives of Fox News in the Bundy matter probably are, in part, ideological. But the cynic in me says that greed played a larger role. No one except Fox would gain from another Waco.

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