GOP Leaders Encouraged Cliven Bundy And Now It's Coming Back To Haunt Them

When armed militia members pointed their weapons at law enforcement agents in 2014, Sen. Ted Cruz said that they were reacting against “the jackboot of authoritarianism” and the Obama administration’s purported attack on liberty and the Constitution.

Cruz was speaking about the standoff at the Bundy ranch in Nevada, where rancher Cliven Bundy refused to abide by several court rulings ordering him to pay the federal government for grazing rights.The Texas senator blamed the president for the matter, calling the armed standoff the “unfortunate and tragic culmination of the path that President Obama has set the federal government upon.”

Think Progress noted that the senator’s fellow Republican presidential candidates Rand Paul and Ben Carson also showed support for Bundy, with Carson hailing the Bundy family as “pretty upstanding people” who were being wrongly treated as “terrorists.” He also warned of the prospect of “martial law” and “a time when people have to actually stand up against the government.”

Indeed, many GOP leaders and Fox News pundits expressed sympathy if not outright support for Bundy’s stance.

But now that Bundy’s sons are leading a takeover of a federal building in Oregon, Republicans have either gone silent or rebuked the militia members.

Cruz called on the militia members in Oregon to “stand down peacefully,” adding that “we don't have a constitutional right to use force and violence and to threaten force and violence on others.”

The militia takeover of a federal building should remind Republicans like Cruz, Carson, Paul and others that there are consequences to stoking anti-government extremism and hailing the armed standoff at the Bundy ranch.