Cliven Bundy: Area Racist Not Convincing Average American of Anything

Telling personal stories is a great way to get your larger point across.

It’s smart and effective. If what makes an impact is a personal story, you’ll likely have better luck making your case with a likable person as the center of the story. Cliven Bundy, not shockingly, has proven to be a poor conduit for a discussion on Federal land ownership and management.

Frankly though, until this Bundy person appeared, I was unaware that BLM trumped issues like Obamacare, debt, regulation, and unemployment.  You know….stuff people rate highly as important to them.

But here we are yet again, spending time trying to reanimate a zombie whose utility for telling a story likely died over a week ago.

Republicans need to be consistent about the fallacy of zero sum logic and stop clinging too long to what is clearly a disaster and does not serve our case well. We should not fear that this will be the last best way to tell a story about government overreach and abuse. There are way too many to tell — which is tragic — and if we care about ending them, it’s our responsibility to find the best ones to make our case.

I wish we lived in a world where the interesting policy questions this rancher’s case brings up were not harmed by his stupid and ridiculous remarks but we simply don’t. Humans are flawed and typically uninformed about the machinations of the Bureau of Land Management and ranching.

Likely the best way to inform people about these issues isn’t by using a guy who sounds so horribly racist to most Americans that this comment fit perfectly. “Not just racism. Antique Racism, like at the Racism Museum”

> @RalstonReports @adamnagourney Not just racism. Antique racism. Like at the the racism museum.

— Bill (@tomservo10) April 24, 2014

This is just how awful Bundy sounds to anyone. It’s not defensible and it makes him the worst way to tell a story about government land management and abuse. If you don’t believe me, remember how we effectively used the ridiculous behavior of the left in Austin on abortion and the protesters in Wisconsin during Walker’s fight to change public union rules.

Having unlikeable and unrelatable characters on the other side of the debate aided our case and led to victory.

That wasn’t a logical conversation about public unions or abortion, it was a human victory won by convincing people that the opponents did not share their values. Bundy does not share our values. We should be clear on that.

It does lead me to wonder why we continue to prop up someone too quickly without vetting them knowing invariably it comes back to haunt us every time.  Is it fair that the right is held to a different standard? No. But whining about fairness is what the left does — accept where you are playing and work to change it.

Bonus of never idolizing a politician or man: You don't feel the need to stand up for or explain every thing they say or do.

— Lisa De Pasquale (@LisaDeP) April 24, 2014

I think Noah Rothman is highlighting the issue well here when he notes that its not the predominant reaction for conservatives to take a journalistic stance more often that a punditry one. – (says area pundit unironically)

Not every conservative media outlet fell for Bundy’s carny act. As the facts of the Bureau of Land Management’s case against Bundy were examined, and the various provocations and irresponsible actions in which Bundy engaged in order to justify his feud were exposed, some conservatives devoted their analytical skills to chastising their ideological compatriots for lionizing a reprobate. The Blaze’s Becket Adams has spent the better part of the last two weeks demolishing the various conspiracies that conservatives erected in the effort to legitimize the illegitimate.

But Adams is the exception to the rule; too many conservatives were eager to embrace the enemy of their enemy. Most overlooked his debatable claim to ownership of federal lands, deemphasized the numerous court rulings against him, and gave the BLM no credit for their flexibility in the enforcement of the requisitioning of Bundy’s cattle. They saw only the government’s armed intimidation and use of extraordinary, and distasteful, tactics against Bundy. But just because the instruments of government enforcement can resemble an occupying force does not justify an insurgency.

While its understandable that we do not often get from pop culture, idols that share our values, it does not mean we need to act like thirsty people in a desert who drink up so voraciously before verifying whether its water and not something else they’re drinking.

In the end, Bundy isn’t the only way we can tell our story about government ineptitude, abuse, or overreach.

And he is certainly one of the worse ways to convince anyone you are right.

You know, media, Bundy vs. BLM could be a story without any heroes. Kind of like Snowden vs. the NSA.

— jimgeraghty (@jimgeraghty) April 24, 2014

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Article photo Credit : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images