Politico's Nather Imagines Non-Existent Rift Between Cliven Bundy and Tea Party

Last Tuesday, in an incredibly childish piece, even by his non-standards, Politico's David Nather acted as if the resistance at Clive Bundy's ranch was endorsed and supported entirely by the tea party movement and/or Republicans and/or conservatives, so he could then characterize their post stand-off behavior — i.e., pursuit of their longer-term political goals — as some form of abandonment.

I was tempted to ignore Nather's nattering, but a couple of subsequent events are making Nather look even more foolish than usual. The first is the fact that Bundy still has significant armed assistance, something the Politico reporter appears not to have anticipated. The second relates to allegations of misbehavior, including illegal property destruction, by Bureau of Land Management agents. First, let's get to some of Nather's blather (bolds are mine throughout this post):


Tea party to rancher Cliven Bundy: Happy trails

DavidNatherPoliticoWide

Sorry, Nevada rancher guy, you’re no Obamacare.The story of Cliven Bundy, the rancher who stood up to the Bureau of Land Management after it rounded up his cattle over years of unpaid grazing fees, is getting lots of attention. Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck have interviewed him on their shows. Fox News’s “The Five” debated his actions. The Drudge Report is giving prominent play to all the latest Bundy coverage.

It’s got all the elements of a made-for-cable-TV fight — especially the element of a powerful federal government overplaying its hand, and freedom-living citizens standing up in protest.

But is Bundy really the guy the right wants as its new hero? And is his fight against big government going to turn national, or is it just an interesting, high-traffic story?

So far, all signs suggest that national Republicans and tea party officials aren’t about to jump on the Bundy bandwagon. After all, if they want to rally voters against big government, they already have Obamacare for that.

Somehow, we're supposed to be surprised that one person's fight with the government trails the government's ongoing ruination of the system which up until now delivered the best health care in the world.

Continuing:

Top Republican operatives said they haven’t really followed the Bundy story that much. Officials at the top Republican campaign organizations, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee, didn’t respond to requests for comment. Top lawmakers were silent.

And a spokesman for the Tea Party Patriots said there was no one available to talk about the rancher issue on Tuesday. They had other battles on their hands — including suing the IRS for documents on the scrutiny of nonprofit groups — but when the group is outraged enough to get involved in a big-government fight, you usually know it.

Not even Harry Reid — who insisted that the ranch standoff is “not over” and that a guy who breaks the law can’t just get away with it — could bring the national Republicans and tea party officials out to fight.

Nather seems upset that he and other leftist journalists and politicians can't find anyone on the right to give them a quote they can use to somehow tar everyone. Too bad, so sad, David.

As to subsequent events, the first is that Cliven Bundy hasn't been abandoned by his physical defenders:

A group of armed militia and protesters, some sporting nametags reading "domestic terrorist," remain camped out on a cattle ranch in Nevada, where they have been purportedly defending the property since a tense showdown ended with the federal government last week.

A 20-year struggle between rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management over decades of alleged illegal cattle grazing on public land ended last Sunday, with the government backing down from a controversial week-long cattle round-up.

What was that again about everyone saying "Happy Trails," David?

The other subsequent event relates to how BLM allegedly conducted itself while it had possession of some of Bundy's cattle (links are in original:

Bundy Family Posts Photo Of Dead Cow Euthanized By BLM

The Bundy Ranch Facebook page, run by Cliven Bundy's daughter Bailey,  posted a photo late Saturday night with the caption: "Digging up 1 of the HUGE holes where they threw the cows that they had ran to death or shot. I feel that this NEEDS to be put out for the public to see."

Nevada Republican Assemblywoman Michele Fiore previously told Breitbart News on Friday about the practices she has heard the Bureau of Land Management has engaged in when confiscating livestock from ranchers.

"I have literally gotten e-mails from ranchers across Nevada telling me that the BLM does the same practices when they are herding horses. The foals are getting killed. Horses are getting killed. It’s really horrible and cruel. I don’t know any other term than cruel,” she said. The GOP Assemblywoman called BLM's actions a "felony" and in a recent tweet below, she said:

Gee, where's PETA when you need them?

There's more.

On Wednesday, Fox News broadcast a report (HT Gateway Pundit) showing other examples of negligent treatment of animals and other property:

Feds accused of leaving trail of wreckage after Nevada ranch standoff

The federal agency that backed down over the weekend in a tense standoff with a Nevada rancher is being accused of leaving a trail of wreckage behind.

Fox News toured the damage -- allegedly caused by the Bureau of Land Management -- which included holes in water tanks and destroyed water lines and fences. According to family friends, the bureau's hired "cowboys" also killed two prize bulls.

"They had total control of this land for one week, and look at the destruction they did in one week," said Corey Houston, friend of rancher Cliven Bundy and his family. "So why would you trust somebody like that? And how does that show that they're a better steward?"

The BLM and other law enforcement officials backed down on Saturday in their effort to seize Bundy's cattle, after hundreds of protesters, some armed, arrived to show support for the Bundy family. In the end, BLM officials left the scene amid concerns about safety, and no shots were fired.

The feds, though, are being accused of taking the court orders way too far.

On a Friday night conference call, BLM officials told reporters that "illegal structures" on Bundy's ranch -- water tanks, water lines and corrals -- had to be removed to "restore" the land to its natural state and prevent the rancher from restarting his illegal cattle operation.

... the court order used to justify the operation appears only to give the agency the authority to "seize and impound" Bundy's cattle.

"Nowhere in the court order that I saw does it say that they can destroy infrastructure, destroy corrals, tanks ... desert environment, shoot cattle," Houston said.

So why is Cliven Bundy the only one in this standoff who's being described as flouting the law?

If David Nather and his web site represented genuine journalism, they would be covering BLM's actions instead of trying to invent tea party-Bundy and Republican-Bundy controversies which don't exist.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.