Cliven Bundy’s statements about “the Negro” and slavery were stupid and appalling. Of course, because everything is now political, there will be a race over the next few days to ascribe his comments to all conservatives, most tea partiers, the majority of Republicans, and, as one presidential candidate famously put it, to your “typical white person.”
Such a practice is as stupid and appalling as Bundy’s comments. But perhaps not as stupid and appalling as the statements of Bundy’s most famous antagonist, who marveled that Barack Obama was “a light-skinned” African American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted one.” Or maybe not as stupid and appalling as noted anthropologist Joe Biden’s astonishment upon discovering “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”
Regardless, the debate over which is stupider and more appalling will itself be stupid and appalling, with no shortage of competing stupid and appalling quotes. And because the subject is race, and the mid terms are only months away, it won’t just be stupid and appalling, it will also be cynical, fatuous, and opportunistic.
The stupid and appalling statements of an obscure rancher in Nevada, however, merit a bit less attention from the mainstream media than the stupid and appalling statements of someone with the power of a vice president or Senate majority leader. Unlikely.