Jack Hunter, social media director for Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), resigned from the senator's office Sunday, two weeks after the Washington Free Beacon broke the story of his past as a provocative neo-Confederate radio host. Hunter also ghostwrote Paul's 2011 book The Tea Party Goes To Washington. (Add it to your list of summer must-reads immediately, ladies!)
One of the most disturbing aspects of Hunter's resignation is that he is trying to pass off his neo-Confederate views as a youthful indiscretion — and Sen. Paul joined in the defense, rhetorically asking a Huffington Post reporter, "Are we at a point where nobody can have had a youth or said anything untoward?"
The thing is, Hunter held his radio host position from 1999 until last year, where his on-air moniker was the "Southern Avenger." He also wrote a column espousing similar views from 2008 until, again, last year. Unless we count "a youth" as continuing into one's late thirties, Hunter's inflammatory statements certainly cannot be dismissed as a product of an idiotic adolescence from which he has since learned.
And what were Hunter's statements, which Paul refers to almost uncritically as "untoward"? Let's take a look.
In a 2004 commentary: "Although Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth’s heart was in the right place, the Southern Avenger does regret that Lincoln’s murder automatically turned him into a martyr." He later wrote that he raises a personal toast every May 10 to celebrate John Wilkes Booth's birthday.
In a 2004 article: "The term ‘diversity’ has become nothing more than a code word for ‘not white,’ and it’s a shame that just because we have fair skin, we are always denied fair treatment."
In a 2009 column: “In my early 20s, I was a full-blown, right-wing radical. As a member of the Southern secessionist group the League of the South, I argued seriously for the states of the old Confederacy to break away from the rest of the Union. I thought it might be better to tone down the radicalism and at least try to appear more respectable. But when I came across an old column of mine last week, I realized that I never really changed. I’m still just as radical or crazy, depending on your perspective. In fact, I might be getting worse.”
Hunter has since renounced all these views in what seems like more of a desperate image-saving attempt than a sincere repudiation.
Rand Paul not only tried to gloss over Hunter's statements as a youthful indiscretion, he also stuck with the racist, neo-Confederate nut job until the end. By all accounts, it was Hunter who quit, not Paul who fired him. How alarming that this is the kind of colleague Paul hires, defends, and would assumedly maintain.
Also, in case you want to see what the embodiment of insane looks like, here is a photo of Hunter in his Southern Avenger mask, which he often wore during public appearances.
(Image via the Washington Free Beacon)