"7 Absurd Right-Wing Follies This Week: Bundy/Hannity Breakup Edition"
By Janet Allon
"1. Cliven Bundy: Black people were better off as slaves. Now, they put themselves in jail. That Cliven Bundy turned out to be a colossal racist is not a hugely surprising twist ending to the ridiculous Hannity/Bundy love affair, media circus and saga that was such a marvel to behold this week. If there is a more perfect example of Fox and the right being exposed as the utterly backward haters they are, we cannot imagine it. The greatest fiction writer in the world would be hard-pressed to come up with a more airtight scenario. Truth cannot only be stranger than fiction; it can be more satirical than satire itself.
Still, Sean Hannity was shocked—shocked, I tell you—that a man who had previously said perfectly reasonable things, like he did not believe in the existence of the federal government, the face of which just happens to be a black man, turned out also to harbor morally repugnant views about race.
Good ol' Cliven was not about to let his moment in the Fox-induced sun go by without weighing in on a whole variety of topics. With the microphones on, he waxed lyrical about the “Negro,” though his actual pronunciation included a short “I” rather than the long “e” in that retrograde word. Equally ironic, perhaps, is that he opened this bit of philosophical rumination by criticizing “negroes” who are on government subsidies, when his cattle are on the bovine equivalent of food stamps, grazing away on federally owned land for zippo.
For those who missed it, here’s Bundy’s refrain, one more time: “Negroes abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
Apart from the obvious outrageousness of saying anyone is better off as a slave—much of the rest of this just doesn’t even make sense. Black people put their men in jail—no, that would be the police who put them in jail, often due to racist drug laws. And then that weird causality that Bundy implies, they put them in jail becausethey didn’t learn to pick cotton. How is that causal? Explain.
Black people are less free now that they are no longer slaves. OK, totally veered off into the realm of absurdity. Demonstrably false, crazy, head-exploding stuff.
2. Cliven Bundy: If I’m racist, it's MLK's fault. Further demonstrating his tenuous grasp on both logic and reality, Bundy elaborated on his deep thoughts on race on CNN later in the week. He was very taken aback that people found his musings on whether black people might be better off as slaves offensive, and so he sought to clarify them, or find someone else to blame. Oddly, he figured it was Martin Luther King Jr.’s fault, for not finishing “his job.”
Perhaps someone should break it to Bundy that MLK was assassinated. Just as oddly, Bundy thought that the thing that people found most offensive about what he said was that he used words like “black boys” and “Negroes,” as opposed to the whole “better off as slaves” bit.
Finally, he concluded, "We need to get over this prejudice stuff." This puts him in fine conservative company. Conservatives are very upset that people keep calling them racist for doing things like siding with Cliven Bundy, or blaming blacks for their own problems, or in the case of the Roberts Court, for saying that we live in a post-racial society where we no longer need affirmative action to make sure colleges are diverse and educational opportunities are afforded to all.
In other words, the conservative argument is this: Let’s not do the hard work it takes to make things truly equal between races. Let’s just "get over" the racism stuff. Say it’s over, and be done with it. If we just stop calling racists "racist," we're good.
3. Sean Hannity: Shocked and appalled at Bundy’s racism, because it reinforces the “ignorant view” that conservatives are racist. Well, you know the old expression, if the shoe fits . . . or in Bundy’s case, the boot. But, how embarrassing for Sean Hannity that this freedom-fighting, federal-government denying rancher who just wants to keep his grazing fees down so we can all afford to eat a hamburger for heaven's sake, is now reinforcing the “ignorant view” that conservatives are racist.
A brief recap of other conservatives or conservative darlings who have reinforced that view:
Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson: blacks were better under Jim Crow although he seemed unclear about the difference between that and slavery.
GOP’s Virginia Lt. Governor candidate E.W. Jackson: “Welfare hurt black families more than slavery ever did.”
Bill O’Reilly more or less any night, so let’s just cite his recent interview with Kentucky coach John Calipari during which O’Reilly just kept asking how on earth it is possible to coach all those crazy black kids.
Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum pact in Iowa in 2011 while running for president which began: "Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President." So, Michele and Rick are just wondering if blacks weren't better off....
4. Alex Jones: The NY Times totally misquoted Cliven Bundy’s words that he actually said on TV. Not everyone abandoned Cliven Bundy in his darkest hour when so many media outlets called him racist, including his Fox Fairweather Friends. Crazy conspiracy theorist Alex Jones invited the rancher to clarify his comments about black people and slavery and set the record straight, because, as Bundy has said, he loves all people, and he never said he was prejudiced. He never said it, so how could he be? Because racists always say: Yeah, I’m racist.
Bundy dutifully clarified that he was just wondering if real slavery was worse than what he calls “welfare slavery.” And he also clarified that real slavery might have been preferable because black people had chickens and gardens and the men worked. Well, when you put it that way, Cliven, chickens and gardens. But again, Bundy is “just wondering.” He's "not prejudiced." He never said that.
Alex Jones chimed in: “How can people say you don’t want freedom for black people.” Bundy: “I do want that. That’s what our heavenly father wants and that’s what our founding fathers want and that’s what I want.” And, let’s remember, Bundy has said he is kind of like the founding fathers.
Also, Bundy told Jones he’s invited "ethnic people" to his parties. In fact, he added, “There’s a black man on my front yard right now.” Apparently, he did not mean the offensive statue of a black man holding a lantern, either. This black man in the front yard, Bundy said, was in the militia that is protecting Bundy from the bad old federal government. And that black man seems to be "very comfortable" and he is "mingling" with Bundy’s family. And he is armed, all of which is very reassuring.
5. Sean Hannity: If you don’t like Ryan’s budget, sister, you’re a communist. Hannity is an equal opportunity asshole, able to be a complete douchebag on a variety of topics, not just scofflaw ranchers, of course. And after Bundy embarrassed him so much, Hannity really needed to change the topic. So, he did. He invited Sister Simone Campbell, who has written a book about helping the poor, onto his show, and then he called her a commie. Nice. The reason? She said she did not care for Paul Ryan’s horrifying, safety-net eviscerating, one-percent loving budget.
Hannity is a Christian, a Catholic to be exact, and he demonstrates over and over again just how fully he has absorbed the message of Jesus Christ when it comes to caring for the poor and serving others. So, of course he favors Paul Ryan’s reverse-Robin Hood proposal to cut $5.3 trillion from programs for the poor combined with $4.3 trillion in tax cuts for the rich. Both Ryan and Hannity care about the poor so much, they want to improve their moral fiber, which is always accomplished by taking food away from their children.
That’s what Jesus would do if he were alive. Help the poor improve their moral fiber. But wait, he is alive, eternally. We should ask him. And if he doesn’t agree with Ryan and Hannity, then Jesus is a commie, too.
6. LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling to girlfriend: Don’t post pictures with black people on Instagram. It just may be that Donald Sterling, the charming rich guy who owns the LA Clippers, did not get the memo about this post-racial society we now live in. (Probably MLK’s fault.)
After his girlfriend V. Stiviano posted a picture of herself with Magic Johnson on Instagram, Sterling wagged his finger and said, no. His ensuing argument with her was caught on tape. "It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people," he is heard saying. "Do you have to?"
Stiviano, who is black and Mexican, wondered if there couldn’t be an exception made in the case of someone like Magic Johnson, whom she thought Sterling admired. So, Sterling very nicely clarified his position on that, at an extremely high volume, to make sure she would hear. “I'm just saying that it's too bad you can't admire him privately. And during your ENTIRE F****** LIFE, your whole life, admire him- bring him here, feed him, f*** him, I don't care. You can do anything. But don't put him on an Instagram for the world to see so they have to call me. And don't bring him to my games. OK?" Sterling replied.
Magic Johnson, having heard about Sterling's views, has said he won’t be going to any more Clippers games, shockingly.
7. Cardinal Dolan: My lord, all you have to do is walk into a 7-11 or any shop in America and have access to contraceptives. Speaking of great Catholics besides Hannity, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, arguably the most prominent Catholic in America, got his facts completely wrong this week, when he decided to speak about the contraception mandate in Obamacare.
"Is the ability to buy contraceptives, that are now widely available — my lord, all you have to do is walk into a 7-11 or any shop on any street in America and have access to them — is that right to access those and have them paid for, is that such a towering good that it would suffocate the rights of conscience?"
Dolan is not terribly informed on the topic of contraception, which hasn’t prevented him from aligning himself with conservative evangelicals in their fight for employers who don’t want to give insurance coverage to women who don’t want to pop out babies or remain abstinent. He also hasn’t been to a 7-11 lately. Yes, they have condoms, but no IUDs, or diaphragms or birth control pills, etc… all of which require doctors' visits and cost quite a bit more.
Full story: Political Animal"