Friday, July 12, 2013

One last comment on this latest Paul fiasco

The reason it's important that Rand Paul seriously reexamines his approach to race and his familial ties to neo-Confederates is because to ignore it is to implicitly say "I don't give a damn what black people think." Why should that matter?

Because it is societally unacceptable to openly say "I don't give a damn what black people think." Not because black people all think alike (we don't), or because black people vote overwhelmingly Democratic and thus aren't an important constituency to Republican politicians. It's because to say so is an unnecessary insult. People who are insulted for no good reason aren't going to be very open to what you have to say. And for those of us who believe what we do because we think it's the best thing for the country, and black people particularly, that the Pauls continually surround themselves with people who reject the historical cause for our ancestors' liberation and embrace the government of those who enslaved our people--in the name of liberty, no less--is a massive and repugnant obstacle to our goals of a freer society.

For decades, "states' rights," "liberty," and a host of other codewords were used by politicians and activists to preserve slavery, and later block anti-lynching legislation, desegregation, and the Civil Rights Era generally. As libertarians, it is incumbent upon us to be as inclusive in our messaging and in convincing people that we want more liberty for all people, not just the white ones. It's hard to make that case when the most prominent faces of libertarianism give speeches in front of rebel flags to say the South was right and have people who run websites called "The Southern Avenger" run their digital PR shop.

The Southern bloc that ran the Senate for so many years didn't need to wear sheets or say "nigger" to pass (or block) laws to the detriment of black folks. Likewise, that one of Paul's staff has put his mask away is of little comfort to those who still hear the echoes of the Old South in a Southern senator's rhetoric.

This is why Paul and Hunter should be more vocal in their denunciation of the "Southern Avenger" and fully come to terms with the GOP's problematic history with race, and their own.

bellum medicamenti delenda est

Thursday, July 11, 2013

It's the racism, stupid

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Why can't the Pauls get past their race problems?

Another day, another associate of the Ron/Rand Paul political camp in race trouble. Yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul's new media chief, Jack Hunter, was outed (to those of us who ignore such people) as “The Southern Avenger,” a Confederate battle flag luchador mask wearing Southern apologist who used to host a radio show. Instead of owning up to his clear, unambiguous, and appalling behavior in his past career, Mr. Avenger Hunter blames unbalanced reporting at the Washington Free Beacon for his unceremonious unmasking:

My Statement on Recent Attacks
Today’s article that brought my not-very-hidden radio pundit background to light does not accurately reflect me or my full, or true, views.
The role of a radio host is different from that of a political operative. In radio, sometimes you’re encouraged to be provocative and inflammatory. I’ve been guilty of both, and am embarrassed by some of the comments I made precisely because they do not represent me today. I was embarrassed by some of them even then.
I am also no longer a guy who judges beer drinking contests in a wrestling mask. Things change. We all hopefully grow up.
I abhor racism and have always treated everyone I’ve met with dignity and respect as individuals. This was true in the past and it is true now.
The controversial comments are also but a fraction of my decade of writing and talking about conservative, Tea Party and libertarian causes.
I have also written columns over the years promoting African-American history and politics, and many other writings that tell a far different story than what the headlines portray today. Not surprisingly, the reporter chose not to balance her piece by citing any of those columns.
“Attacks” on “not-very-hidden” punditry, as if those of us who inhabit a social world free from nostalgic slavery-apologia were supposed to assume that a United States senator would knowingly hire a man known as “The Southern Avenger”—a hostile, vengeful, character who equates the NAACP and the Ku Klux Klan—and that hiring should or would be assumed to be common knowledge without much fanfare.

I can't speak to Mr. Hunter's past or current embarrassment about what he said or did as a pundit, but many of us seem to make our names without inflaming racial tensions that have haunted its country since its inception, don't also take charge of local chapters of slavery apologist organizations, and continue using that nickname as one progresses through our professional careers as he has. As recently as 2010, Hunter gave airtime to Tom Woods, a fellow-traveler in Civil War revisionism, on his radio show. Perhaps more telling, the above non-apology is listed on “,” supporting his contention his past is not very hidden, but it doesn't really explain how he's attempted at all to put his youthful indiscretion behind him, save scrubbing the many iterations of the Confederate battle flag off his website.

What exactly is he avenging now, anyway?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

More Race Problems from the Pauls

It's as if the Paul family just drives vans around white neighborhoods in the South playing 'Dixie' and whatever fool chases it like an ice cream truck gets a job on staff:
[Rand] Paul hired Jack Hunter, 39, to help write his book The Tea Party Goes to Washington during his 2010 Senate run. Hunter joined Paul’s office as his social media director in August 2012.
From 1999 to 2012, Hunter was a South Carolina radio shock jock known as the “Southern Avenger.” He has weighed in on issues such as racial pride and Hispanic immigration, and stated his support for the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
During public appearances, Hunter often wore a mask on which was printed a Confederate flag.
Prior to his radio career, while in his 20s, 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.”

Read the whole thing at the Free Beacon here.