GOP prez candidates criticize Bundy seditionists

In a surprising move for a party that normally relishes its embrace of anything gun, Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul all distanced themselves from the armed anti-government militiamen who recently took over a federal building in Oregon.

The ongoing standoff out west includes two sons of anti-government extremist Cliven Bundy, who had his own siege with the federal government a few years back.

The militiamen involved in the takeover have made no bones about the fact that they’re armed, and at least one posted a goodbye YouTube video to his family, suggesting the anti-government extremists either planned, or expected, to die.

Conservative hopeful Ted Cruz has reason to be concerned about the situation in Oregon. Two years ago, Cruz defended Bundy’s earlier siege, going so far as to use the infamous word “jackboot.” That word is particularly troubling as it was used by the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre to describe federal employees less than one week before the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995:

On April 13 [1995], less than a week before the Oklahoma City bombing, Mr. LaPierre signed a fund-raising letter asserting that President Clinton’s ban on assault weapons “gives jackbooted Government thugs more power to take away our constitutional rights, break in our doors, seize our guns, destroy our property and even injure and kill us.”

President George H.W. Bush famously resigned his membership in the NRA over that comment.

That history didn’t stop Senator Cruz from using the word to describe federal officials only two years ago, but it may very well have given presidential-candidate Cruz pause, now that his friends on the gun-loving right seem hellbent on dying in a blaze of seditious gunfire.

Any time a self-proclaimed Republican distances himself from gun-lovers, it’s news, and should tell us something. In this case, it tells us that not only is the situation in Oregon extremely dangerous, but it also suggests that not every gun issue is a winner for the GOP. Even amongst the crazies, there are some deemed too crazy.

That’s a weakness gun safety advocates need to exploit.

InsideOutsider is a longtime Democrat who has worked for a variety of progressive organizations and causes. He lives in Washington, DC.

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