Rand Paul, obviously, was sending two messages with this little gesture:
Rand Paul met privately with Cliven Bundy on Monday, the Nevada rancher and anti-government activist told POLITICO.
The encounter came after Bundy attended an event for the Kentucky senator’s presidential campaign at the Eureka Casino in Mesquite, Nevada. When the larger group dispersed, Bundy said, he was escorted by Paul’s aides to a back room where he and the Republican 2016 contender spoke for approximately 45 minutes....
Paul obviously wants it to be clear that he thinks the federal government is evil:
"I'd either sell or turn over all the land management to the states," Paul, a Republican presidential candidate and senator from Kentucky, said, landing him big applause at [this] campaign event. "I don't think the federal government needs to be involved."
But -- after spending a few months running what's occasionally seemed to be the GOP field's most racial inclusive campaign, and not getting very far with it in the polls -- Paul wants us to know that racism is OK with him:
Rand had thrown his support behind the rancher in 2013, calling the federal government’s actions “overreach.” But he withdrew it after the New York Times reported Bundy made racist remarks about blacks, saying they:
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.
But Paul seemed ready to court him again on Monday.
In case you missed the message -- in case you read this as just Paul saying he agrees with Bundy on the federal government's role in land management -- Paul tweeted the following a few hours ago:
There are few things white conservatives like more than negating or minimizing the mistreatment of non-white people in this country. Everything is as bad as slavery except, apparently, slavery. Plenty of Americans have suffered oppression equal to or exceeding what blacks have suffered in America -- and a lot of that suffering is happening to white people, right now! That's the message.
If you think conservative tolerance of racism is ending just because a few Republicans have gotten the message that the Confederate flag offends some people, you're naive. Donald Trump attacks Mexicans as rapists and is denounced by not one of the other GOP candidates for president. What's more, he soars in several polls, and gets his usual tongue bath from Fox News:
"Fox & Friends" co-hosts Steve Doocy, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Brian Kilmeade agreed with Trump Tuesday morning, arguing that the "Apprentice" brought in a huge profit for the network, and gave away money in return....
"He is not going to take it lying down," Kilmeade said.
"[NBC] never wanted him to run in the first place," Hasselbeck added, "perhaps because he was bringing in millions of viewers to the network ... and money."
"It was the No. 4 show on TV!" Doocy replied.
"I guarantee you they would not be worried about this if he wasn't doing so well," Kilmeade argued.
Doocy also added that Trump "was right" in his comments about immigrants, adding that the southern border "does have a problem." He admired of Trump for standing by his comments and not apologizing or backing down.
"He takes no prisoners," Doocy said.
The hosts also echoed criticism that the network was ditching Trump while choosing to stay with other media personalities who have made controversial statements, including Brian Williams and Al Sharpton.
And you know what else you can still say to a right-wing audience without arousing a ripple of protest? this:
In [a] discussion [on Fox Business, Ann Coulter] said of the Confederate battle flag and the Confederate Army:
The Confederate flag we’re talking about never flew over an official Confederate building. It was a battle flag. It is to honor Robert E. Lee. And anyone who knows the first thing about military history, knows that there is no greater army that ever took the field than the Confederate Army.
It's apparently no longer necessary in Conservative World to say that the U.S. military is the greatest fighting force in history -- if you're a conservative, you're perfectly free to say it's inferior to the Confederate army. Patriotically, of course.
Republican officials can take down all the Confederate flags they want. This stuff is not going away on the right.
(Crossposted at No More Mister Nice Blog)