Yes, Senator Rand Paul has finally seen the light Paula Deen was blinded by, after days of outraged denial failed to get him off the racist hook created by his choice to hire Jack Hunter. He and his pro-secessionist, white supremacist aide have parted ways. Oh, so sad. Now he’s just hoping that his hiring of the white supremacist (and defense of) won’t harm the Republican Party’s brand.
At 11:20 am Monday morning, HuffPo reported that the Senator confirmed that it’s true that Hunter resigned by mutual decision and “he hopes Hunter’s tenure on his congressional staff won’t stand in the way of the senator’s efforts to broaden the Republican Party’s appeal.”
HuffPo quoted the Senator’s bizarre effort to distance himself from that which just days ago he embraced and defended, “I think everybody occasionally has people that work for them who sometimes have a background that damages what you’re trying to do. But I think people can judge me on who I am and what I’m trying to do.”
Paul worked closely with a man who called himself the “Southern Avenger”. He wore the Southern Confederate flag as a mask for funsies because secession is fun and the slavery was good. He praised the assassination of President Lincoln, among other charming sentiments usually found in adolescents, not the chambers of Congress. That was all fine and good for his South Carolina radio “show”, but the Senator should have known better.
It’s not as if Paul were unaware of Hunter’s past. On July 9th, we detailed Paul’s relationship with Hunter:
It turns out that Senator Paul has been pallin’ around with a neo-confederate pro-secessionist named Jack Hunter. Hunter is a close Congressional aide to Senator Paul, and is, according to Media Matters, a “regular” on Fox, writes for the conservative Daily Caller (also known as the Daily Screamer for screaming at President Obama during a Rose Garden speech, but they are also not racists — they just play racists when covering the White House), is associated with former South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint (big surprise), and helped Paul write his 2010 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington.
The Free Beacon reported Tuesday that among Hunter’s other activities like advocating for the secession of the South as chairman of the “implicitly racist group” League of the South or writing for The American Conservative or promoting Ron Paul’s presidential run on Fox News Business (‘cuz nothing says freedom like secessionism, just ask Sarah Palin), he was also a shock jock supporting the assassination of President Lincoln.
Following these unsavory revelations about his close aide, Senator Paul denied that Hunter was a racist or a white supremacist, telling the Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman, “People are calling him a white supremacist. If I thought he was a white supremacist, he would be fired immediately. If I thought he would treat anybody on the color of their skin different than others, I’d fire him immediately.”
Here’s a big clue for Republicans: If you continue to go by your definitions of racism, white supremacy, etc, you will continue to make fools of yourselves. If you hear someone on your staff trumpeting the death of Lincoln, and you do not feel alarmed, the problem is you.
But y’all, Senator Rand Paul really hopes that his silly mistake of pretending he didn’t know what a white supremacist was won’t do any damage to that shining brand on the hill, the Republican Party.
The good news for the Senator is a) It’s probably impossible to further damage the Republican Party brand when it comes to matters of race and b) People are judging the Senator on exactly what he is “trying to do”. It’s just that what he is “trying to do” is not broaden the appeal of the GOP, but rather narrow the doorway into the collapsing tent.
Only white supremacists, racism deniers, and pro-secessionists please. Oh, wait, they already have all of the above. Tent shrinkage alert.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.