PowerLine's 'Conservative' John Hinderaker offers tortured support for federal government freeloading...
By Brad Friedman on 4/15/2014, 12:21pm PT  

Republicanist attorney John Hinderaker of the silly, hyper-partisan, rightwing PowerLine blog has always been more than happy to offer "legal" arguments to support whatever Rightwing nonsense his tribe would like to hear. When he's unable to come up with an actual legal argument, he's also happy to just type words to let the tribe know he's still on their side...even when the law isn't.

Commenting Monday night on the weekend's Bundy Ranch idiocy --- in which a scofflaw Nevada rancher who says he doesn't "recognize [the] United States government as even existing", has refused for the last twenty years to pay grazing fees for the use of public lands, as all other ranchers do --- Hinderaker admits that, "legally, Bundy doesn't have a leg to stand on."

Nonetheless, the Republican lawyer/blogger twists and turns to argue, "you should be sympathetic toward" ranch owner Cliven Bundy anyway. The reason for that sympathy takes some explaining, and some pretty impressive gymnastics to result in Hinderaker's final, rather laughable, argument for it.

Hinderaker must be desperate to get himself onto the non-RINO right flank of the Rightwing "FakeTriots" who rode in to southern NV last week with big manly guns a-blazin', but who, notably, did not ride in to the rescue when actual Big Government tyranny was actually cracking down on the public's right to occupy public spaces --- when the government actually used extraordinary violence to crush peaceful First Amendment-protected protests all around the country.

Neither does he, nor they, seem to give a damn when Big Government intrudes on the Constitutionally protected rights of women to privately take care of their own bodies; nor for the rights of millions of legal voters to freely cast their votes; nor for the rights of homeowners who've gone bankrupt and/or lost their homes thanks to Big Government-abetted crimes of gigantic, lawless, Wall Street corporations.

But what's most amusing about Hinderaker's article, in which he desperately (and transparently) attempts to get on the right side of folks he knows are wrong, but who are on his own political team, is that by the end of his article, he's finally figured out how to blame Big Bad Barack Obama and Harry Reid and, I guess, Liberalism or something for all the woes that Bundy is facing brought on himself. That, instead of calling out the rancher for his lack of personal responsibility in disobeying long-settled law, all while enjoying the Big Government welfare of "free" cattle grazing lands.

To do this, Hinderaker offers a pretend argument that the federal government isn't necessarily against development on public lands --- only certain types of development...

"It is obvious that some activities are favored by the Obama administration's BLM [Bureau of Land Management], and others are disfavored. The favored developments include solar and wind projects," Hinderaker charges with pretty much zero evidence to support his claim.

(The tortured tie to "solar and wind projects" refers to a failed Chinese-backed solar project, supported by Reid, over a 100 miles to the north of Bundy's property and offered up by partisans as a reason for the federal "land grab" that isn't a land grab at all. It's a creation of Alex Jones Productions, of course, and one helped along big time over the weekend with an above-the-fold goose from Matt Drudge.)

Hinderaker is smart enough to reject the alleged federal "land grab" plot out of hand, though he nonetheless works hard to place it back at the center of a nefarious Big Government scheme --- by hook or by crook if he has to.

"Wind and solar energy survive only by virtue of federal subsidies," Hinderaker continues with a straight face, while failing to mention the massive mining and drilling operations allowed by the federal government on the very same public lands in exchange for little or no royalties to the American people, from whom such private corporations take those valuable, finite, publicly-owned resources.

Ranchers, on the other hand, ask nothing of the federal government, he claims, while forgetting to mention the cut-rate government prices that ranchers enjoy for the use of thousands of square miles of grazing land.

Bundy, of course, doesn't think he should have to pay anything to use federal public lands. Yet he, unlike those welfare queens relying on the federal government to avoid things like death and starvation and stuff, should be the recipient of great sympathy, says the twisting Hinderaker at PowerLine.

"So let's have some sympathy for Cliven Bundy and his family," he writes in happy conclusion. "Their way of life is one that, frankly, is on the outs. They don't develop apps. They don't ask for food stamps. It probably has never occurred to them to bribe a politician. They don't subsist by virtue of government subsidies..."

Um, wait. Full stop. What?! They "don't subsist by virtue of government subsidies"?! Other than free access to grazing lands for Bundy's herd that Hinderaker feels we should have sympathy for?! (And which doesn't even take into account the hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to people and property that his cattle are said to have caused over the years --- all for free?!)

Look. People should be free to carry out whatever legal business they like --- even if its on land stolen centuries ago from Native Americans, as is the case with "Bundy's" land. But to pretend that the millions of dollars of use of federal land (at either the discounted federal rate or for free, as in this instance) is not a government subsidy, is just as disingenuous as, well, pretty much everything I've ever seen written at PowerLine over the past decade. So, I guess, nothing new. Just newly stupid. And newly reaching as far as possible to the Rightward-lurching Rightwing fringe of his own party, in hopes of courting their good favor.

This is only gonna get stupider, I'm afraid, and bloodier, thanks to the tacit encouragement by wingnut tools like Hinderaker who don't have the courage to call out his own fellow wingnuts when they are blatantly wrong.

Share article...