An aide to Senator Rand Paul has just been revealed to have a past as a secessionist and a racist.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) has always had a problem with race.
From his stated opposition to the Civil Rights Act to his association with his father, Former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who put his name on a series of racist newsletters, the headwinds have been so strong that the libertarian firebrand took time out of his schedule earlier this year to give a speech at Howard University, a historically Black university in Washington, D.C., where he tried to walk back on some of his positions.
New revelations published Tuesday could, however, make that impossible. Written by Alana Goodman and released in the conservative Washington Free Beacon, the article details the extensive neoconfederate and secessionist background of Paul’s social media director, Jack Hunter.
Hunter is no low-level aide. He co-wrote Paul’s book The Tea Party Goes to Washington in 2010, which was released in support of Paul’s campaign to be elected into the US Senate.
At the same time, Hunter was appearing on South Carolina radio under the name “The Southern Avenger,” giving a series of commentaries in which he talked up white pride, opposed immigration, and went so far as to support the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
Hunter had previously served as a chair of the League of the South, a secessionist group that advocates a new Confederate Republic.
Hunter told the Free Beacon that his views have changed, but it seems unlikely, given that he was writing as recently as 2007 that “A non-white majority America would simply cease to be America for reasons that are as numerous as they are obvious – whether we are supposed to mention them or not.”
The revelations will hurt Paul, who is widely seen as a potential contender for the Republican Party presidential nomination in 2016.
To bolster his ticket Paul has been trying to attract progressives by supporting civil liberties and advocating an isolationist U.S. foreign policy.
His filibuster earlier this year, meant to draw attention to the issue of U.S. drone strikes, drew praise from nominally liberal civil libertarians like Glenn Greenwald and Ariana Huffington. Greenwald went so far as to say that opponents of Paul “degraded all of the weighty issues raised by this episode by processing it through their stunted, trivial prism of partisan loyalty.”
While Paul may have earned plaudits for that filibuster from some, his continued flirtation with, if not outright embrace of, neoconfederate schools of thought makes it impossible for any progressive who believes in racial equality to support him.
From his support of the Fetal Personhood Act to his opposition to the Americans with Disabilities Act, Paul has proven to be the kind of ally who is best engaged with carefully, rather than ever fully embraced.
Image credit: Gage Skidmore