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More Republicans Back Away From Bundy

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Cliven Bundy
Photo credit: David Becker / Getty Images

As part of the post-2012 presidential election autopsy, Republican strategists theorized that a major weakness in their electoral strategy was the failure to reach out to minority voters, as a way of delivering the goods in national elections.

As the president was being sworn in to a second term, Republican leaders were congregating for a three day strategy session in Charlotte, North Carolina to do a post mortem on the results. The blue print moving forward was embodied in an action plan dubbed the “Growth and Opportunity Project, which among other issues noted the need to improve minority outreach efforts.

In an interview with The Hill, Republican National Committee chair, Reince Priebus announced, “I just sort of reached a boiling point on the issue, and I just want to fix these problems.” The chairman was responding to dire exit polls indicating that minorities overwhelmingly broke for the Democratic Party during the 2012 election cycle.

At the Charlotte, North Carolina meeting, Priebus told the assembled group, “We’re here because we need to grow our party. We must take our message to every neighborhood and every community, and we know we’ve got a lot of ground to make up with the black community.”

That outreach was put in jeopardy last week when conservative cause celebrity, Nevada rancher, Cliven Bundy, began to theorize about race relations to a reporter from the New York Times, in America.

Upon asking whether or not African-Americans were not in fact better off as slaves on the plantation system than they are now under the government welfare slavery, Bundy saw his mainstream conservative support evaporate as fast as morning dew on the Nevada desert in which he grazes his cattle.

Stop Government Overreach

When news of Bundy’s dispute with the Bureau of Land Management broke, a small army of conservative patriots quickly descended on his southern Nevada ranch in an armed show of support that quickly gained the sympathy of several prominent national Republican politicians.

Indeed, Nevada’s junior senator, Dean Heller, dubbed the protestors out in the desert as “true patriots,” and Kentucky’s junior senate member, Rand Paul, praised their efforts to stop federal government overreach, but stepped back from supporting the armed methods of the Bundy camp, ”I’m for obeying the law, and I’m not for a violent outcome.”

The Bundy family has been embroiled in a 20-year battle with BLM officials over their refusal to pay fines for illegally grazing his cattle on federal lands, according to federal government claims. Bundy countered that his family had been grazing that particular stretch of desert since Nevada’s statehood, and refused, out of principle, to pay grazing fees to a government that he does not recognize.

This small government stance made his cause an excellent vehicle in which to question the extent of federal governmental intrusion into our daily lives.

That was last week, however…

In light of Bundy’s aforementioned New York Time’s quote however, the battle to stop government overreach on his behalf were abandoned as politicos quickly sought to distance themselves from the incendiary racial comments, and the man who was speaking them.

Indeed, among Republican circles, the politicians are in agreement as Bundy’s former supporters melted away over dismay at his offensive comments. As reported in the Business Insider, both Nevada’s Heller and Kentucky’s Paul went to great lengths to register their disgust at the comment.

With only six months until critical mid-terms elections in which the GOP is widely expected to reclaim the upper chamber, this controversy is the last thing establishment Republicans want on their plate as they reach out to minority voters, which include visits to minority neighborhoods and speaking engagements at traditionally bleak colleges around the nation.

In a statement to New York Magazine, Michael Steel, former Republican National Committee chairman put the issue bluntly after Bundy’s statements came to light. “It undermines the broader, more important goals to rebrand and reestablish a conversation with a community that looks suspiciously upon most of the things you say.”

Steel, the RNC’s first black chairman added, “There is no place for this level of ignorance and stupidity around matters of race in our party.”

Final Thoughts…

Whether uttered out of ignorance or malice, Cliven Bundy’s beliefs about race relations hold no sway in the GOP of today.

Although a prime opportunity to check governmental overreach was surrendered as Bundy’s cause floundered on a reef of his own making, putting distance between his repugnant comments is the right thing to do for the top Republican Party brass.

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