Who'd have thought that there would be a guy named Bundy more pathetic and hapless than Al? Or even -- almost -- Ted. But you have to give it to Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher and monologist whose 15 minutes of Conservative Hero Worship disappeared faster than the Wicked Witch of the West having water thrown on her.
If any humor can be taken from having this fellow imposed on our psyche, it's seeing all the conservative voices in Congress and the media and press running away from Mr. Bundy so fast and hard that they can't see where they were going and almost became moderates. Employees of "Fox News," which had been promoting Cliven Bundy so much they nearly added him to their logo, were running so far away that many knocked themselves out on the walls of their office building and nearly tipped the structure over.
And all because the self-styled historian did a long stand-up act on happy Black people and the joys of slavery which showed himself to be as gut-wrenching a problem as conservatives have heroically promoted since George Zimmerman.
Who could have seen it coming?
Who could have seen that a man who suggested on a live Fox News interview that the U.S. government might have conspired to create a "blood moon" in order to make it easier to pull off a night raid might have it in him to be irrational? Who?
Who could have seen that a good ol' boy who said on Fox News that "I don't believe in the United States government as even existing" would actually turn out to be seditious? Who, oh but who??!!
Who could have seen that a fellow who said on Fox News and most everywhere he was offered a microphone that if the U.S. shot at him he would put the women in front of him for protection that he could possibly be intolerant of others? Oh, who who who?
(Yes, you'd think that "Fox News" would listen to their own broadcast, but you have to also believe that if they did they'd be so aghast at what they heard that even they would turn it off.)
Honestly, how in the world could anyone not have seen it? And if you didn't, and you're purportedly a responsible member of the media or Congress or the Republican Party, how could you not have at least looked into who this supposedly near God-like man you were promoting was??? Used the Google, maybe? Ever computer has it, I'm told. Are you that irresponsibly trusting? Pretty bad for leaders, wouldn't you say? Or are you that disingenuous? Which is pretty bad for leaders, too.
I mean, seriously, the conservative National Review printed an article comparing Cliven Bundy to Mahatma Gandhi. Do they not do fact-checking? Do they not have due diligence? (Okay, yes, those were trick questions.)
Mahatma Gandhi??? Cliven Bundy couldn't clean the shoes of Ben Kingsley. He couldn't clean the toes of Ben the rat.
The thing about all the running away from Cliven Bundy, though, that makes these far right conservatives so small and hypocritical and pathetic is that what they're running away from is his outlandish, over-the-top, almost-unbelievable screed on race, not the armed, anti-American statements he'd been making before. No one I've heard has walked back from the message. And ultimately, that is the far bigger story.
After all, you'd think that people who were raising Cliven Bundy to pedestal heights weren't doing so because they thought that he was a great guy -- clearly, they didn't have a clue who he was, or least if they did, didn't let on and kept quiet about it to stir up dissent. No, they seemingly thought his message was swell. But instead of damning the messenger while saying his message that they had so-loved was still glorious, they...well, they decided Cliven Bundy was toxic, even that message that they supposedly had loved just the 24 hours before.
Apparently, it wasn't until after Cliven Bundy showed himself to be who he was by going on a rant about the joys of slavery (and more) did the far right go back to look at the tape and see that when he said he didn't believe in the United States government as even existing that that might actually not be a good thing to stand behind in an election year. Y'know, when people would be voting for the government of the United States.
Besides, it's not like conservative leadership in politics and the media have shown themselves to be outraged by racism in the past. Instead, it's sort of like when New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was suspended yesterday for doctoring a baseball with a foreign substance. Pitchers do that all the time, but tend to get away with it. Pineda, however, smeared so much pine tar on his neck that it looked like he had fallen into a swamp. You could see the goo from the upper deck, without binoculars. That's what Cliven Bundy is to the Republican Party right now -- Michael Pineda. It's okay to be an ignorant racist, as long as you don't smear it all over your neck.
I would say that I'd love to hear conservatives explain this away. But in truth... no, I don't want to hear it. Disingenuousness is wearying. Lying is wearying. Racism is wearying. Emptiness is wearying. Enough. Just go away and leave your party to people who do accept the legitimacy of the United States government -- and of Black people and Hispanics and minorities and gays and the poor, needy and destitute, and all humans. And womenfolk. If that means your party will be small for a while, so be it. When you have a foundation, at least you can grow from it.
Besides, far better to small than small-minded.
To read more from Robert J. Elisberg about this or many other matters both large and tidbit small, see Elisberg Industries.