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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Rand Paul Aide Quits

Aaron Blake reports at The Washington Post that Rand Paul aide Jack Hunter has resigned.
Hunter said in an e-mail to the Daily Caller that he will resume his career as a pundit and that he didn’t want to be a distraction for the senator, who is considered a top potential 2016 presidential candidate. Paul’s office has confirmed his departure to Post Politics.
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Paul stood by Hunter two weeks ago, saying his past comments were “absolutely stupid,” but that he didn’t think Hunter held any racist views.
“If I thought he was a white supremacist, he would be fired immediately,” Paul said.
Hunter formerly described himself as the “Southern Avenger” and wore a Confederate flag mask. He also wrote about raising a toast the John Wilkes Booth and was an activist for secession.
His past writings were first revealed by the Washington Free Beacon.
Last week, Michael Gerson wrote:
Paul’s attempt to dismiss the matter has only added to the damage. “It was a shock radio job,”the senator explains.“He was doing wet T-shirt contests. But can a guy not have a youth and stuff? People try to say I smoked pot one time, and I wasn’t fit for office.”

But Hunter’s offenses were committed as an adult. They included defending a regime founded on slavery, comparing Abraham Lincoln to Saddam Hussein and raising (in Hunter’s words) a “personal toast every May 10 to celebrate John Wilkes Booth’s birthday.” This was not a single, ideological puff but rather a decade spent mainlining moonlight and magnolias in the ruins of Tara.
Paul is rumored to be considering a 2016 presidential run. So his dismissal of the sympathetic treatment of a presidential assassin as the equivalent of sponsoring a wet T-shirt contest requires some explanation. The easier political course for Paul would have been to cut this embarrassing tie and reduce the damage. He still might be forced to do so. But his reluctance is revealing.
This would not be the first time that Paul has heard secessionist talk in his circle of confederates — I mean, associates. His father has attacked Lincoln for causing a “senseless” war and ruling with an “iron fist.” Others allied with Paulism in various think tanks and Web sites have accused Lincoln of mass murder and treason. For Rand Paul to categorically repudiate such views and all who hold them would be to excommunicate a good portion of his father’s movement.
In the past, Paul expressed misgivings about civil rights legislation.