His biggest problem is that paleoconservatives are pretty vile (and if you don’t believe me take a peak at the wrongly labeled online magazine “The American Conservative”). Rand Paul is not a paleocon but he carries a lot of baggage because of his father and some of his own aides and that is too bad because I really do like Rand Paul. As Jonah points out – if they could tag John McCain and Mitt Romney as bigots, watch what they would do to Rand Paul. However, Rand Paul is no bigot – he wants the GOP to aim for 25% of the Black vote and he deplores the Rovian tendency to write off huge swaths of the country.
by Jonah Goldberg
Rand Paul is the most interesting contender for the Republican nomination. And when I say interesting, I mean that in the broadest sense.
A case in point: Last week, the Kentucky senator hit some turbulence when the Washington Free Beacon reported that Jack Hunter, Paul’s aide and the co-author of his book, The Tea Party Goes to Washington, was once the Southern Avenger.
Who’s that? Starting in the 1990s, as a radio shock-jock, Hunter would wear a wrestling mask made from a Confederate flag, while making jokes about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and having the South re-secede.
“Although Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth’s heart was in the right place, the Southern Avenger does regret that Lincoln’s murder . . . turned him into a martyr,” Turner said in 2004. Maybe the humor is all in the delivery?
Hunter’s defenders, including my Fox News colleague Andrew Napolitano, think the reaction against Hunter has been cranked up by neocon “hawks, whose ideology is . . . being discredited every day.” According to Napolitano, “Jack’s sin in their eyes was having spoken favorably of states’ rights, and negatively of Lincoln.”
“Negatively of Lincoln” is a curious understatement, given that Hunter — who admits to giving a “personal toast” to Booth on his birthday — once suggested Lincoln would have had an amorous relationship with Adolf Hitler.
Meanwhile, Hunter says he has matured and is embarrassed by much of what he said in the past. Moreover, he says that for all the theatrics and bombast, he’s never said, believed, or done anything racist. “I abhor racism,” he wrote at his site, Southernavenger.com, “and have always treated everyone I’ve met with dignity and respect.”
Such controversies are hardly new to Paulworld. Most famously, Rand’s father, former Representative Ron Paul, the three-time presidential candidate (for whom Hunter worked in 2012), published newsletters bearing his name that brimmed with bigoted bile. […….]
Both controversies stem from the same sinful strategy adopted by so-called paleolibertarians in the 1980s. The idea was that libertarians needed to attract followers from outside the ranks of both the mainstream GOP and the libertarian movement — by trying to fuse the struggle for individual liberty with nostalgia for white supremacy. Thinkers such as Murray Rothbard hated the cultural liberalism of libertarians like the Koch brothers (yes, you read that right) and sought to build a movement fueled by white resentment. This sect of libertarianism played into the left-wing view of conservatism as racist. […….]
“The paleo strategy was a horrific mistake,” libertarian economist Steve Horwitz wrote in 2011, “though it apparently made some folks (such as Rockwell and Paul) pretty rich selling newsletters predicting the collapse of Western civilization at the hands of the blacks, gays, and multiculturalists.”
By no means do all Ron Paul supporters subscribe to this dreck. […….] Most take great offense at any suggestion that Paul or Paulism has anything to do with racism.
Rand Paul literally and figuratively grew up in the shadow of all this, but while he’s always circumspect when talking about his dad, in private and in public he has given no hint of subscribing to the Rockwell-Rothbard thesis. Indeed, he is sincerely eager to reach out to African-American voters on issues like the drug war.
Rand Paul shares his father’s ambition to be president. Color me skeptical. Even though he’s a vastly better politician — morally and strategically — than his father, in a climate where politicians like Mitt Romney and John McCain can be demonized as bigots, should Rand Paul ever be nominated, one can only imagine what his opponents, in and out of the media, would do. Unfairly or not, his task of clearing the air would be Augean.
Hence another irony. Defenders like Napolitano think Paul’s critics subscribe to a “dying ideology,” but Paul’s only shot at the White House hinges on thoroughly interring an ideology far more deserving of death. He’s got a lot more work ahead of him.
Read the rest – Rand Paul’s paleo problem