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Another Paul, another Confederate problem

As Ron Paul rose to national prominence, he routinely struggled to explain his role in publishing racist newsletters and maintaining ties to radical neo
Another Paul, another Confederate problem
Another Paul, another Confederate problem

As Ron Paul rose to national prominence, he routinely struggled to explain his role in publishing racist newsletters and maintaining ties to radical neo-Confederates.

As it turns out, his son has a related problem.

Jack Hunter, a congressional aide to Sen. Rand Paul with a history of "neo-Confederate" and "pro-secessionist" views, has produced dozens of articles and video commentaries for The Daily Caller and appeared as what one Fox Business host termed a "regular" guest on that network. He also helped then-Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), currently the president of The Heritage Foundation, write his most recent book.The conservative Free Beacon reported today that Hunter, a "close" Rand Paul aide who also co-wrote the Kentucky Republican's 2011 book, "spent years working as a pro-secessionist radio pundit and neo-Confederate activist ... Hunter was a chairman in the League of the South, which 'advocates the secession and subsequent independence of the Southern States from this forced union and the formation of a Southern republic.'"

Though I'm not familiar with Hunter, if the published reports are accurate, the Senate staffer has quite a rhetorical record. Hunter has appeared in media under the "Southern Avenger" pseudonym -- complete with a confederate face-mask -- and has boasted that he "raise[s] a personal toast every May 10 to celebrate John Wilkes Booth's birthday."

There are a couple of relevant angles to keep in mind. The first has to do with why neo-Confederates seem to be drawn to the Pauls and their vision. With Rand Paul, it might have something to do with his opposition to the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act.

Jon Chait added, "[O]bviously, you can like Ron and Rand Paul without being the slightest bit racist. Very, very few Rand Paul fans are glad Abraham Lincoln was shot. At the same time, the logic of southern white supremacy and the logic of libertarianism run along very similar lines. They both express themselves in terms of opposition to federal power and support for states' rights.... The deep connection between the Pauls and the neo-Confederate movement doesn't discredit their ideas, but it's also not just an indiscretion. It's a reflection of the fact that white supremacy is a much more important historical constituency for anti-government ideas than libertarians like to admit."

The second, as GQ highlighted a few years ago, is that Rand Paul has a very serious problem with his ties to the radical fringes of American political thought. Keep in mind, even as a senator, the Kentucky Republican has visited repeatedly with Alex Jones; he's friendly with Glenn Beck; he considers World Net Daily a reliable news outlet, etc.

Just a few months ago, Paul wrote a fundraising letter on the Arms Trade Treaty pending at the United Nations, for the National Association for Gun Rights -- a group that sees the NRA as too moderate -- that was nothing short of deranged.

"I don't know about you, but watching anti-American globalists plot against our Constitution makes me sick. [...]"If we're to succeed, we must fight back now. That's why I'm helping lead the fight to defeat the UN 'Small Arms Treaty' in the United States Senate. And it's why I need your help today."Will you join me by taking a public stand against the UN 'Small Arms Treaty' and sign the Official Firearms Sovereignty Survey right away? Ultimately, UN bureaucrats will stop at nothing to register, ban and CONFISCATE firearms owned by private citizens like YOU."

Paul's letter added that the United Nations intends to "force" the United States to "CONFISCATE and DESTROY ALL 'unauthorized' civilian firearms," while creating "an INTERNATIONAL gun registry, setting the stage for full-scale gun CONFISCATION," which isn't part of the Arms Trade Treaty and also isn't sane.

And why was Rand Paul writing a letter for a fringe outfit in the first place? Because in his mind, there's really no such thing as the fringe.

Not too long ago, the American mainstream would characterize someone who writes such nonsense as a crackpot whom no one should take seriously. In 2013, we characterize someone who writes this garbage as an influential U.S. senator and likely candidate for the presidency of the United States.