About a Guy Who Wears a Confederate Flag Mask…

Civil War Culture, Civil War Sesquicentennial, Current Affairs

SouthernAvenger2

…and just happens to work for a United States Senator.

I guess I could comment on this story about some kook (Jack Hunter) who called himself the “Southern Avenger” and is currently working as the social media director for Senator Rand Paul, but that would be highly opportunist…right? Oh, and that Confederate flag mask is just completely over the top. Check out this lovely editorial with the title, “John Wilkes Booth Was Right” from 2004:

This Wednesday, April 14th, is the 139th anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. 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.

If you are a patriotic American who believes in the ideals of Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and George Washington – then you cannot at the same time honor Abraham Lincoln. That’s like praising Jesus and worshipping Satan simultaneously. In fact, the Founding Fathers most likely would have snatched Lincoln up by his beard and hung him from the nearest tree.

And this is some of the more moderate things he has said over the past few years. It’s just way too easy, so I am not going to say anything at all.

19 comments… add one

  • Douglas Egerton Jul 11, 2013

    My favorite remark from Hunter, who co-wrote Rand Paul’s recent book on the Tea Party, is: “My entire adult life I’ve defended the Old South and the southern cause in America’s bloodiest war. Not because I support slavery or racism but despite it.” It would be easy to pick on this comment as historically absurd, but Hunter clearly reflects the effort by so many modern neo-Confederates to venerate the CSA while divorcing the “southern cause” from attempts to defend and extend slavery.

  • James L Keefe Jul 11, 2013

    Thank god for people like Jack Hunter.Now where can i get the same mask.

    • Kevin Levin Jul 11, 2013

      Check out Dixie Outfitters.

  • Christine M. Smith Jul 11, 2013

    I just read an article in the Lexington (Ky) newspaper that the Kentucky democrats are taking both McConnell, as the Senate Minority Leader, and Paul himself, to task for this very hire. I wonder if Hunter will compose for Rand Paul using the preferred League of the South spelling of “real” English. I show my students certain web pages each semester, and LOS is one of them. At first they don’t think it’s serious, but as we go through the page, they change their minds.

  • Lyle Smith Jul 11, 2013

    Yeah, it was pretty stupid to hire this guy. Disappointing to say the least.

    • Andy Hall Jul 11, 2013

      Stupid, but not surprising. Both Pauls, father and son, have had long and close affiliations with folks who bring the “The South was Right!” ideology into the modern political arena. Most notable of these is Lew Rockwell, whose relationship with Ron Paul spans four decades and who is generally acknowledged to have authored the numerous race-baiting articles in Ron Paul’s newsletter in the 1980s, that only got wider public attention during Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential run. Both Ron and Rand have all sorts of cracked perspectives on the Civil War and its legacy, so no one should be surprised that they would surround themselves with like-minded people.

      • Bryan Cheeseboro Jul 11, 2013

        It adds up, Andy. A good friend of mine with libertarian views voted for Ron Paul for president. He definitely thinks the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery and persists in this view even though I’ve shown him the words of the slaveholding southern secessionists themselves.

        • Andy Hall Jul 11, 2013

          Let me guess — he argues that the lower case U in “united States of America” at the top of the Declaration of Independence is evidence that the Founders believed in secession, but the long, detailed documents of the secession conventions citing the rights of slaveholding are irrelevant, right?

          • Bryan Cheeseboro Jul 11, 2013

            I haven’t heard him argue about this. He just rails against big government and liberal politicians.

          • Bryan Cheeseboro Jul 12, 2013

            Hey Andy, something else I just remembered about my friend. When the new Lincoln movie came out, I asked him if he planned to see it. He said no, because he didn’t think there was any new and relevant information he needed to know about President Lincoln. Then I told him the film was based off of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “Team of Rivals.” Then he said he definitely wasn’t going to see it because “that lady’s so liberal.” He would have loved that speech she gave at Gettysburg a few days ago.

            Someone else I know, a co-worker, read the book and saw the movie didn’t care for that speech either.

      • Lyle Smith Jul 11, 2013

        Maybe Andy, but lets not put the sins of the father on to the son. Rand Paul is an entirely different man than his father. His father, I agree, does have some cracked perspectives on the Civil War and its legacy. However, you’re going to have to point me to some of Rand Paul’s cracked views. Rand’s views seem more knowledgeable and sophisticated from what I can tell. Furthermore, this aide has shown remorse at his youthful comments, and as Connor Friedersdorf has written, his views seem to have matured over time to the guy’s credit. Maybe Rand Paul and company have been helping the man mature. Who knows?

        I hope you and I can both find disagreement with Chris Hayes’ views that Rand Paul is a white supremacist. That’s ludicrous.

        • Andy Hall Jul 11, 2013

          I linked to Kevin’s post where Rand Paul went to Howard University a while back and tried to school the students there on the Civil War, Reconstruction and the interaction of race and politics in the generations since. It did not go well.

          I don’t know what’s in Rand Paul’s heart, but when he hires folks like the “Southern Avenger” to speak for him, by ghost-writing his book, it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t object too much to having such people in his inner circle.

          • Kevin Levin Jul 11, 2013

            Couldn’t have said it any better.

          • Ken Noe Jul 11, 2013

            Rand Paul did state in his first Senate speech that his role models were Henry Clay, Frederick Douglass, and the abolitionists, which must have given the Southern Avenger some pause. Then again, Douglass’s memory is being used in some, well, interesting ways these days: http://tinyurl.com/lm5uxv3

  • Bryan Cheeseboro Jul 11, 2013

    “If you are a patriotic American who believes in the ideals of Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and George Washington – then you cannot at the same time honor Abraham Lincoln. ”

    When somebody says something like this, I can’t help but think about one of the many things Jefferon, Henry and Washington had in common- they were all slaveholders. Yes, they were also about many other things, but they also have to own up to slavery.

    And if a politician made this same statement right now, the talking heads on MSNBC and CNN would have a field day with it and would be talking about the same point I’m making here.

  • Matt McKeon Jul 11, 2013

    Christ, what an asshole.

  • Andy Hall Jul 19, 2013

    Wow — read this from Chris Haire, Jack Hunter’s former editor at the Charleston City Paper:

    While a member of the City Paper’s stable of freelancers, Jack wrote in support of racially profiling Hispanics, praised white supremacist Sam Francis, blasted the House of Representative’s apology for slavery, claimed that black people should apologize to white people for high crime rates, defended former Atlanta Braves pitcher and racist John Rocker and Charleston County School District board member Nancy Cook after she said some mothers should be sterilized, argued that Islam was an innately dangerous threat to the U.S, professed that he would have voted for a member a British neo-Nazi political party if he could have, considered endorsing former Council of Conservative Citizens member Buddy Witherspoon in his bid to unseat Sen. Lindsey Graham, compared Abraham Lincoln to Adolf Hitler and Ike Turner, and continued to profess the erroneous claim that the primary cause of the Civil War was not the fight over slavery, ignoring the decades of American history leading up to war and South Carolina’s very own Declaration of the Immediate Causes for Secession, which clearly note that protecting slavery was the preeminent motivation of state leaders.

    Over the course of editing Jack for years, it was clear to me that when he spoke of Southerners, Southern values, and the Southern way of life, it was as if the South to him was solely populated by white people, and everyone else was an intruder or at best a historical inconvenience. Jack Hunter may have never railed against miscegenation, championed segregation, uttered a racial slur, or participated in a lynching, but it was my opinion then and it is my opinion now that Jack is the most common kind of racist, the one that doesn’t realize that he is one. In fact, like many on the right — from Pat Buchanan to Newt Gingrich to Rick Perry to Rush Limbaugh — Jack traffics in race-baiting rhetoric and repeatedly aligns himself with racists but then refuses to own up to the meaning and purpose of his actions. And just so long as he doesn’t call somebody a “nigger” or pistol whip a black man for looking at his lily white wife, he can keep on believing that, because to admit the truth would be to admit that he was in fact a villain.

    And the same applies to Rand Paul. Like his father before him, Paul has courted the racist wing of the GOP, the faction that wants to vote for a states’ rights champion, a man with the courage to say we should have separate lunch counters as a matter of principle, a politician with the chutzpah to proclaim that he would have voted against the Civil Rights Act. Of course, when the day arrives that this relationship is brought to light once again, Rand Paul will again deny that he consciously sought out racists and anti-Semites and secessionists, the media and the masses will largely accept his flaccid defense, and the racists and anti-Semites and secessionists will have a good laugh knowing that one of their own had to lie to protect himself but underneath that protective cloak of political convenience he’s still one of them.

    • Kevin Levin Jul 19, 2013

      Read it yesterday. I am not surprised.

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