GOP abandons wacky rancher

Cliven Bundy once was considered a darling among Republicans for his stance against the federal government.

Then the Nevada rancher made a truly reprehensible statement, which is that African-Americans would be better off as slaves than many of them are today as unemployed citizens.

Oops. There went the support from his one-time allies.

You see, the Republican Party is trying to remake its brand among ethnic and racial minorities. Many congressional Republicans have been vocally opposed to immigration reform. They’ve sought to make it more difficult for people to vote by requiring voters to provide proof of U.S. citizenship at polling places. Some in Congress have said some mightily offensive things about the nation’s first African-American president.

The result has been that minorities — chiefly African-Americans and Hispanics — have been voting overwhelmingly for Democrats. Republicans are seeking to make inroads.

Then they lined up with Cliven Bundy, who’s been fighting with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management over whether he should pay grazing fees for his cattle that are feeding on public land. The BLM wants him to pay; Bundy will have none of it, even if it means he’s breaking federal law.

Then this clown makes racist remarks about the so-called virtues of slavery.

Is it any wonder many in the GOP are abandoning this guy? U.S. Sens. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., were among the first high-profile lawmakers to toss the guy over. Others have followed suit.

Republicans are learning a tough lesson here, which is to take great care in aligning themselves with gadflies while undergoing a political makeover.