In the past few days, as we go through our latest wave of questionable personal and professional ties of Ron and Rand Paul, their defenders have increasingly moved toward a "Civil War is over, get over it" line of defense. I find this ironic, given that it's the Pauls' relationship to people still holding on to the Lost Cause that continually brings them problems, but let's grant, for the sake of argument, that fighting over the Civil War is indeed beside the point.
Guess what happens when you google "Ron Paul r" or "Rand Paul r":
If Rand Paul wants to be president, and his supporters want that to become reality, allegations of racism have to be put to bed. Not brushed aside like "Dude, that was like 150 years ago!" or "But his policies aren't racist..." It doesn't matter. I understand that winning politics has never been libertarians' strong suit, but politics is a popularity contest and racism is unpopular. Perception is everything in politics, and right now, the Pauls are perceived to have a long history of race problems.
"Don't look behind the Confederate battle flag curtain" is not a viable political strategy.
Presidents have to delegate massive amounts of authority and heavily rely on their closest advisers. Thus, the people with whom they surround themselves will in all probability influence their decision making as president. If one is known to surround himself with questionable people, the public will be right to question what kind of people will have his ear as president.
The Pauls race problems are not going to go away so long as they continue to flout public sentiment and protect those who cost them politically. Libertarians, by extension, continue to be hurt by defending the asinine decisions by the Pauls to protect their cronies who make a living bashing the outcome of the Civil War...because, you know, it ended that whole race-based slavery thing.
bellum medicamenti delenda est