Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Saturday, October 1, 2016

Jack Hunter — formerly known as “The Southern Avenger” — is still the social media director for Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), even after the conservative website The Free Beacon published an exposé about the formerly neo-confederate, pro-secessionist shock jock Tuesday.

Hunter — who wrote a book with Paul in 2010 — is still employed by the senator, whom he reportedly advises on issues including foreign policy.

“Today’s article that brought my not-very-hidden radio pundit background to light does not accurately reflect me,” Hunter said in a statement. He added that he “abhors racism.”

The only comment Paul’s office offered about the revelations was a vague defense of Paul, and Hunter, by association. “Sen. Paul holds his staff to a standard that includes treating every individual with equal protection and respect, without exception,” spokeswoman Moira Bagley said in a statement.

Daniel McCarthy at The American Conservative was quick to defend Hunter, noting that his “Southern Avenger” persona was purposely “inflammatory” and not driven by “hate” but “naiveté.” McCarthy points out that Hunter is even for same-sex marriage!

Fox Business host Andrew Napolitano adamantly defended the aide and blamed the attacks on “some hawks.”

“Jack’s sin in their eyes was having spoken favorably of states’ rights, and negatively of Lincoln,” he said. “They can’t seem to recognize that states’ rights — even secession — does not equal racism; it constitutes a brake on the feds’ march to totalitarianism.”

The contention between “hawks” and libertarians represents a growing divide in the Republican Party that Paul is trying to bridge. In some of his older writings, Hunter suggested that the senator was “playing a game” with the neoconservatives by pledging his support to the defense of Israel.

Hunter told The Free Beacon he has disavowed many of the opinions expressed in his old blogs and columns — including the belief that John Wilkes Booth, the man who shot Abraham Lincoln, had his “heart in the right place.” Though he still believes that the Civil War was not necessary and may still advocate, as Napolitano does, for secession.

With his bridge building, Senator Paul is trying to do something his dad never could: become mainstream enough win the GOP nomination for president. Like his father, his efforts are occasionally hindered by the world views of the people he surrounds himself with.

The elder Paul’s new think tank includes several controversial figures, including some from whom the former congressman distanced himself during his presidential campaign. Walter Block, for instance, believes that the Confederacy should have won the Civil War, and that America’s current foreign policy can be blamed on “the monster Lincoln.”

The hatred of Abraham Lincoln — widely considered to be the greatest president in American history — by many in the libertarian movement is troubling to even some in the GOP. Prominent conservative commentator Rich Lowry recent wrote a whole book defending Lincoln ostensibly to his fellow Republicans, since the former president is widely adored by everyone else.

While Hunter many insist he despises racism, he seems to miss that race, for most Americans, cannot be extracted from any discussion of secession or the Civil War. They don’t seem to understand that if the South had succeeded in either, millions of African-Americans would have continued to languish in bondage.

“The deep connection between the Pauls and the neo-Confederate movement doesn’t discredit their ideas, but it’s also not just an indiscretion,” writes New York Magazine‘s Jonathan Chait. “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.”

Photo: Mark Taylor via Flickr.com 

  • Medicboymatt

    Well, he is right on at least one issue – the Civil War was largely avoidable and unwanted by almost all – it was the hotheads in South Carolina that forced the issue. And then, once the fighting started, time and again, there are reports of Johnny Reb and Billy Yank – the fellows actually doing the fighting – meeting between the lines to share coffee and tobacco, and they would resolve the whole issue in about a half an hour’s time. Then as now, it’s the damn extremists and politicians that screw everything up.

    • sigrid28

      Extremists and politicians, the groups your disparage above, are part of the apparatus of governing, both in the creation and the functioning of the state, which is what takes precedence when coffee and a cigarette are not enough to resolve an issue. You just are anti-government, like the Paul father and son team. I wonder what you think of nepotism, and by extension cronyism, both advanced wholeheartedly by the coffee and a smoke method of governing, in quiet rooms, as Mitt Romney said, famously. Citing law professor xxxxxxx recently, and his work on the role of clans in nation building, I pointed to a central premise of his work, that in the absence of the state, humans do not embrace liberty and individuals but instead regress to the domination of clans, the method of social structure among humans for many thousands of years. Ran Paul’s embrace of Hunter is just another aspect of his anti-government stance, rather candidly acknowledging that clan rule is OK by him.

    • charleo1

      I can agree the Civil War was unwanted by almost all. There’s no question,
      Lincoln’s original position was to avoid war at all costs, save for one. Even the expansion of slavery in the western territories. And indeed, he had said as much. The legalization of the institution of slavery on a National level, if need be, he could support. Said it didn’t matter. Only the preservation of the Union was held out as the only issue rising as to be so important, as to take up arms aganist fellow Americans. But there were the abolitionists. And their numbers were growing in the Country, and the Congress. And they would not be denied. And there were those States upon who’s economies without the slave, these men could see no way in which they could prosper. Now, they didn’t deny the Right of the Abolitionists to outlaw slavery in their State, if they chose to do so. But they were now attempting to do so, on the Federal level. What these Southerners believed the Federal Government had not been granted the power to do. Who also believed, as a matter law. An agreement, at the founding of this Nation, had been made. A deal was struck, that gave all States every legal Right to withdraw, so should they choose, from the document they signed forming said Union. Because, they contended, their Forefathers had seen the danger of signing up with an all
      powerful Central Government. Which was true. And they would have never signed up without the Right to resend. And Furthermore, they all damn well
      knew it. And if that Hayseed they had elected, wanted to go back on the
      deal, on some illegal, Union or war, proclamation. Then, it’s war! So, I don’t
      agree, it was a issue easily settled. It was an issue some very wise, and
      determined, even inspired men could not settle at the founding. Not well
      enough, to avoid to test, as Lincoln noted. Whether this, or any Nation,
      so conceived, and so dedicated, could long endure.

    • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

      You really cannot even blame this on the “hotheads” in South Carolina. The first shot was ordered fired by P.T.E. Beauregard, who always had delusions of adequacy, and managed to screw up every operation he was ever in charge of. Had he not ordered the cannon fired, Ft. Sumter would have surrendered due to the blockade against it after another week or so. No blood would have been shed, and the North would have written it off. Beauregard then went on to prove his inability to organize anything larger than a street brawl by “running” the Confederate attack at Shiloh and royally screwing that up, too. Eventually he ended up back in Charleston where he managed to lose three crews on the first operational submarine – the CS Hunley – thanks to his pressuring the designers to use the vessel before it was ready.
      Between his ineptitude and J.E.B. Stuart’s glory seeking, the Union couldn’t ask for better enemies. They did more to harm the Confederate Army than all the Union Army Generals combined thanks to their gross incompetence.

      • S.J. Jolly

        Reminds me of the Dog Patch hero, Jubilation T. Cornpone. (The only hero the town had, such as he was, as the story goes).

    • S.J. Jolly

      Don’t forget to include people talking themselves into ideological corners. Such as the Southerners who convinced each other that Lincoln’s election meant the South would be destroyed unless they seceded.

  • JD Mulvey

    Andrew Napolitano is now staking out the anti-Abraham Lincoln position?

  • Let’s all remember what the South was fighting for. They took the trouble to write it down so the least we can do is read it:

    http://www.usconstitution.net/csa.html

    That’s the CSA Constitution. That’s what they were fighting for.

    There’s also South Carolina’s declaration of secession:

    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_scarsec.asp

    I think it’s good to keep all that in mind when discussing the Civil War and understanding why it happened.

  • Budjob

    Personally,if another civil war was to erupt,I would opt to let the south win this time just to rid ourselves of all the screwball southern republican politicians!

  • Lorr

    Well since the Republican Party, has now decided they need to go after the “White Vote” and do not need to court the Latino or African American vote. They should put up signs at their headquarters and at Boehner and Mitch Mc Connells office , We Are the Party of White, People of Color Need Not Apply. The few they have are just because of “Affirmative Action”.

  • Catskinner

    Like it or not, the South has a history and a heritage and there’s nothing people living to day can do about that.

  • howa4x

    The entire Civil war was fought because the economic system of the south was dependent on slavery, so to support the confederacy is to support the ideals it had. The rich slave owners duped the scratch farmers into thinking that they needed to defend that model, even though it economically held them down. Not so different from today where middle to lower middle class people think they have to fight for billionaires who want to take away their own benefits against others who want all to benefit. Hunter is walking a fine line by saying although he supports a government that was built on race superiority, he personally is not a racist. Interesting isn’t it?

    • Lynda Groom

      It sure has been effective. Folks who should be Democrats working to improve their lot in life keep voting against their own self-interest. Fear, hate and distrust have been the backbone of this trend. Divide and conquer works.

  • Allan Richardson

    It is still humorous to me that the Southerners believed that their “property rights” in people KIDNAPPED from their homes across the ocean were more sacred than the rights of the kidnapped people’s descendants. Even today, Republicans TALK about human life being sacred; what they really mean is, MY life is sacred, but YOUR life is not as sacred as MY MONEY.

    • Mike Rubin

      Right on. The only actual “human life” that is sacred to these phonies are unwanted fetuses that can be inflicted on women who dare have non-procreational sex, as though the unwanted children those fetuses are obligated to become are some form of scarlet letter. Otherwise, they find nothing about human life sacred, refusing to feed, clothe, house, educate,or medicate others — and especially including those “sacred” unwanted children — as unworthy parasites and dependents. Because, in the end, it’s those unwanted children who suffer the most from this obsession with “sacred” human life, there is a very special place in hell reserved for these phonies.

  • Sand_Cat

    Why should he fire someone who says what he obviously believes?

  • commserver

    ” McCarthy points out that Hunter is even for same-sex marriage!”

    is this a contradiction? i thought that the conservatives were against same-sex marriage.

  • Duke LaCrosse

    Rand’s daddy is an unapologetic racist. The bigoted acorn does not fall far from the tree. I am a conservative and the Pauls scare the daylights out of me.