A revealing video clip from today's 9NEWS gubernatorial debate hosted by reporters Kyle Clark and Brandon Rittiman. In the clip above, Clark asks GOP gubernatorial candidates Bob Beauprez, Mike Kopp, and Scott Gessler what they think of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy's dispute with the federal government. Mr. Bundy has been a cause celebre among conservatives since a standoff between BLM agents and armed militia in support of Bundy early this month. Last weekend, however, remarks by Bundy about African-Americans and the desirability of slavery have given many of his supporters pause.
But it doesn't look like our GOP gubernatorial candidates are very perturbed by that stuff:
KYLE CLARK: I'm curious what you all make of the land dispute in Nevada, between the rancher Cliven Bundy and the and the federal government. Senator Dean Heller from Nevada says that Mr. Bundy's supporters are "patriots," whereas Senate Minority Leader, uh Majority Leader, rather, Harry Reid calls them "domestic terrorists." What do you think, Mr. Beauprez?
BOB BEAUPREZ: It's pretty outrageous to call any American citizen a "domestic terrorist" unless they've committed a terrorist act, and I don't think Mr. Bundy has. He certainly is, uh, my guess is not without fault, but this is another issue that's very personal to me, because we've now got a ranch up in our own mountains. And I've been asked specifically, do you think this kind of thing could happen in Colorado, and unfortunately my answer is yes, because I think government has gone completely mad. That's the issue here. The excesses of government in trying to resolve a dispute with a, with a rancher who's been there for generations, for heaven's sakes, do we need to bring in helicopters, and SWAT teams, and it, it looks, it looks like martial law has broken out. There's got to be a more common sense way to resolve this dispute. I am very concerned about the overreach, not only in that case, but there's numerous other cases, of federal power on private citizens, and that's something I think a governor needs to stand up and push back on, and even though he's a Republican, I've been curious to see how quiet Mr. Sandoval seems to be in Nevada.
CLARK: An early statement of support and then not much past that. Again, Senator Heller calls them "patriots," Senator Reid calls them "domestic terrorists." What do you think of Mr. Bundy and his supporters?
MIKE KOPP: Well, first of all, I think Harry Reid is rarely right, and this is no exception to that rule. Um, the fact of the matter is the federal government has dramatically overreached. You know we have like seventy agencies in the federal government that have armed police officers. Seventy. I'm not sure why the federal government needs to have that kind of armed force, um, against its own citizens. If I were governor there, the thing I would be interested in doing would be part of a broader policy that I would be interested in enacting, and that is, putting myself between the citizens of the state and the federal government to advocate for the citizens, for the freedoms of the people, of my state. In this particular case, you know you have somebody who should have paid their permitting fees, but you also have a federal government who has just gone incredibly overboard in the matter. There's no question about that. And I think most people look at that, probably, with the same degree of skepticism about their actions.
CLARK: Mr. Gessler, what do you make of Mr. Bundy and his supporters?
SCOTT GESSLER: Well, let me first address Harry Reid. That, uh, that man never misses an opportunity to insult his political opponents whenever he can. And that's not the way to go about things. The fact is, I think the government, federal government overreached here and overreacted. You know when I started my career as a federal prosecutor, one of the things I learned is that governmental power should be restrained. It should be limited. It should be treated with care. Because it's a dangerous thing. And we do have a Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies, where the first thing they're looking to do is to, is to hammer people, instead of work with them to find ways to find solutions. Um, Mr. Bundy I think has his own problems, but no one should have treated him the way he was treated. I think that what we need to do is, you know, be prepared to speak out against the federal government when it oversteps its bounds, and recognize that most people want to do the right thing most of the time. And a government should respect that, and find a way to work with them.
CLARK: Thank you, Mr. Gessler.
Whatever you might think about Bundy's dispute over grazing rights on federal land, don't you think one of our GOP gubernatorial contenders could have acknowledged that his extreme throwback racist worldview isn't very defensible? Were they counting on absent Tom Tancredo to do that?
Yes, folks, that last part was sarcasm.