U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) is standing by an aide accused of racism – saying the “Southern Avenger” who currently handles his new media efforts was guilty only of “youthful political showmanship.”
The “Southern Avenger” is Jack Hunter – a former pro-secession advocate who was once affiliated with a group that has been described by the politically correct establishment as “implicitly racist.” Hunter – who once said he stood by “every word” of his racially tinged commentary – has now disavowed much of his previous writing.
Paul is also looking to distance himself from some of Hunter’s previously professed beliefs – including an admiration for Abraham Lincoln’s assassin John Wilkes Booth.
“I’m not a fan of secession,” Paul told The Huffington Post. “I think the things he said about John Wilkes Booth are absolutely stupid. I think Lincoln was one of our greatest presidents. Do I think Lincoln was wrong is taking away the freedom of the press and the right of habeas corpus? Yeah.”
Paul added that he didn’t believe Hunter was a white supremacist, as a report in The Washington Free Beacon – a neoconservative publication – strongly suggested.
“If I thought he was a white supremacist, he would be fired immediately,” Paul said. ” If I thought he would treat anybody on the color of their skin different that others, I’d fire him immediately.”
As we noted in our original treatment of this controversy, we don’t believe Hunter’s prior “offenses” are especially egregious. We also believe the Beacon story was ginned up by the GOP’s big spending, war mongering majority as a way of damaging Paul’s presidential prospects – an effort we suspect will be ongoing.
However Hunter is way out on a limb in his denials, and in addition to infuriating a lot of his old “white pride” buddies – he may have set himself (and now Paul) up for bigger headaches down the road.