Rancher Cliven Bundy at his home in Bunkerville, Nevada in this file photo taken April 12, 2014.
Jim Urquhart/Reuters

The Kochs’ AFP starts scrubbing its Bundy support

Updated
It was just two weeks ago that affiliates of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political operation financed by Charles and David Koch, decided to extend support to Cliven Bundy. Despite the Nevada rancher’s defiance of the law and court orders, and despite the fact that he denied the legitimacy of the United States government, AFP helped promote Bundy’s cause and mock the Bureau of Land Management for trying to enforce federal law.
 
Then Bundy started speculating about whether African Americans were “better off as slaves,” at which point the AFP apparently decided to join the stampede away from the radical Nevadan.
Americans for Prosperity Nevada, the state affiliate of the Koch Brothers-backed group, appears to have hastily deleted social media posts expressing support for Cliven Bundy, the renegade rancher who exposed himself as a racist in recent press conferences.
 
A tweet sent by AFP Nevada on April 10 urging followers to read more about the #BundyBattle, which involves Bundy’s refusal to pay fines for allowing his cattle to graze on public land, has been deleted. A Facebook graphic that the group posted criticizing the Bureau of Land Management for enforcing grazing laws against Bundy has similarly disappeared.
The instinct to run away is understandable, and it’s hard to blame AFP officials for waking up yesterday and wondering what in the world they’d gotten themselves into.
 
But the scrubbing is of limited utility given that screen-grabs and caches exist. Media Matters, for example, still has the content online that AFP is trying to take offline.
 
And all of this only serves to reinforce the question: what was the right thinking?
 
If you missed last night’s A block, it’s worth your time.
“[L]et us all pray that it is out of ignorance that the National Review comparing him to Gandhi and the right-wing activists comparing him to Rosa Parks, and the Fox News channel booking him and his family over and over and over and over and over again as heroes, and the Republican senator calling his armed supporters pointing guns at federal law enforcement officers ‘patriots’ – let us pray that that was happening under a veil of ignorance. Let us pray that they had no idea that there is a long-standing fairly violent right-wing movement in this country that is born in the defense of slavery and that causes people to say weird stuff about sheriffs being the supreme authority and the federal government not existing.
 
“Let us pray that the right and these Republican senators made a hero out of this guy in bloody ignorance of where he was really coming from.
 
“But it is a choice as to whether or not you do your homework before you try to mainstream a guy like this. The turn today to ‘let me tell you another thing I know about the Negro,’ that was telegraphed way, way, way in advance here. Anybody who chose not to see it coming now has this mess all over themselves.”
And as of today, the AFP’s solution is to clean up this mess by pretending it never said what it very clearly said.
 
As for Bundy, he apparently keeps talking, and is now attempting to invoke the legacies of both Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks in his defense.
 
The far-right movement really knows how to pick ‘em.
 
Related video:

AFP, Americans For Prosperity, Cliven Bundy, Koch Brothers, Militias, Nevada and Racism

The Kochs' AFP starts scrubbing its Bundy support

Updated