Harry Reid: I call on Republican leaders to denounce this hateful racist Bundy

Give the man his due. He may be a low-rent McCarthyite for whom no smear is too cheap. He may be an awful majority leader whose imperious tactics have hopelessly alienated the minority party. He may be dirty, having built a curiously large fortune despite working in government his entire adult life.

But he sure can troll.

“I used to live in North Las Vegas and it is home to some of the hardest-working people I have ever met – men and women who embody the American dream by working hard every day to build a better life for themselves and their families. By contrast, Cliven Bundy has spent decades profiting off government land while refusing to pay the same fair use fees as his fellow ranchers. Today, Bundy revealed himself to be a hateful racist. But by denigrating people who work hard and play by the rules while he mooches off public land he also revealed himself to be a hypocrite.

“To advance his extreme, hateful views, Bundy has endangered the lives of innocent women and children. This is not a game. It is the height of irresponsibility for any individual or entity in a position of power or influence to glorify or romanticize such a dangerous individual, and anyone who has done so should come to their senses and immediately condemn Bundy. For their part, national Republican leaders could help show a united front against this kind of hateful, dangerous extremism by publicly condemning Bundy.

“The bottom line is that elected officials and those in positions of power or influence have a responsibility to unite behind the basic principle that we are a country of laws, and that whatever our differences, it is unacceptable for individuals to use violence or the threat of violence to advance their radical views.”

I know what you’re thinking, and I too am disappointed that he didn’t work in a Koch brothers reference.

Has any “national Republican leader” refused to condemn Bundy, incidentally? Boehner and McConnell haven’t weighed in yet, but that’s not because anyone seriously thinks they agree with him; it’s because they know they’ll be asked about it eventually and would rather wait until the story’s not red-hot. The two most prominent Republicans to defend Bundy recently, Rand Paul and Dean Heller, both gave him an official thumbs-down this morning. So did RNC chief Reince Priebus. But Reid understands all that. The point of demanding formal denunciations is simply to prompt the media to put random Republicans on the spot when they have a chance. Which reminds me: Will America’s foremost anti-Koch demagogue, who often frets sweatily on the Senate floor about billionaires dominating national policy, denounce this? Might as well get everyone on the record about everything.

There is some good news for Bundy defenders, though. Lefty media noticed that he had some kind things to say about illegal immigrants (at around 2:20 below) after his shpiel about blacks. He could be one amnesty endorsement away from total (well, partial) reputational rehab.

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