Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) went out of his way to insult Americans who sympathize with Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy on Thursday, labeling supporters as “nothing more than domestic terrorists.” Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) condemned the Nevada Democrat’s words, saying that Reid’s language could potentially increase tensions to the point of violence. It’s beginning to seem like that may be Reid’s goal.
“I don’t think calling people names is going to calm this down,” Paul said on Fox News. “I think it’s liable to stir it up. So I think all parties, including Senator Reid, should calm the rhetoric a little bit. Let’s try to have a peaceful resolution to this.”
Reid, whose obsession with the Bundy ranch dispute has raised questions about his motives (more on that from Wayne Allyn Root), remains adamant in calling for the government to punish the Nevada rancher for failing to pay grazing fees or to recognize Federal authority.
“Clive Bundy does not recognize the United States,” Reid said Thursday. “The United States, he says, is a foreign government. He doesn’t pay his taxes. He doesn’t pay his fees. And he doesn’t follow the law. He continues to thumb his nose at authority.”
He added, “It is an issue we cannot let go, just walk away from.”
But Paul, who said he has legislation “in the hopper” that would help to resolve issues like the Bundy dispute, has taken a more pragmatic view. Paul’s legislation would reportedly give States more control over Federal lands within their borders and more authority over the Endangered Species Act.
“This is a real, I think, intellectual and constitutional and legal debate, but it shouldn’t be about violence of arms, and I hope that the government will not be there in full arms and provoke a showdown and something terrible will happen,” he said. “I hope that doesn’t happen.”
In other words: There are Americans willing to support Bundy while exercising their Constitutionally-protected right to bear arms— government should respect that. If it doesn’t, the potential for violence is real.
Compare that to what Reid said of Bundy’s supporters Thursday.
“There were hundreds, hundreds of people from around the country that came there,” Reid said. “They had sniper rifles in the freeway. They had weapons, automatic weapons. They had children lined up. They wanted to make sure they got hurt first … What if others tried the same thing?”
Translation: Guns! They have guns! Automatic weapons! Terrorists! They won’t listen to us! What if other Americans don’t listen to us! What about the kids? We have to make an example here.
The only guns that Paul has expressed concerns about since the Bundy dispute began making headlines are those carried by agents of the U.S.’s 48 Federal agencies.
“I think there’s an opposite thing to what Harry Reid said, and that’s the federal government shouldn’t violate the law, nor should we have 48 Federal agencies carrying weapons and having SWAT teams,” Paul said Tuesday in a radio interview with the Kentucky-based WHAS.
Asked on “What’s Your Point?” about his attempts to classify Bundy’s supporters “domestic terrorists,” Reid again attacked the citizens:
Bundy doesn’t believe that the American government is valid, he believes that the United States is a foreign government.
He doesn’t pay his taxes. He doesn’t follow the law. He doesn’t pay his fees.
And if anyone thinks by any figment of their imagination what happened up there last week was just people rallying to somebody that was oppressed — 600 people came in, armed. They had practiced, they had maneuvered, they knew what they were doing. They set up snipers in strategic locations with sniper rifles. They had assault weapons. They had automatic weapons. And they boasted about the fact that they put women in children — in fact one retired sheriff from Arizona boasted that he put women and children so that they would get hit first.
So, 600 people. If there were ever an example of people who were domestic, violent terrorist wannabes, these are the guys. And I think that we should call it that way.