Rand Paul digs deeper

I honestly thought it was impossible for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to wind up in any more trouble. After all, he’s already praised the traitor Edward Snowden, who is now seeking asylum from Vladimir Putin; showed himself to be dangerously ignorant with regard to the Fourth Amendment and our anti-terror spying program; and has knowingly hired the “Southern Avenger,” Jack Hunter, a pro-secessionist racial extremist whose comments about minorities send chills up the spine of people of good will on both sides of the aisle. But oh yes, Paul has indeed made things worse.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) (James Crisp/Associated Press)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) (James Crisp/Associated Press)

When speaking to the press about Hunter, he launched into a series of mind-numbing assertions that suggest he’s a less bright version of his father. The Post reported:

“Are we at a point where nobody can have had a youth or said anything untoward?” Paul asked the Huffington Post. He compared it to the scandal when a college student accused the senator of being involved in a collegiate, pot-fueled hazing.

“If I thought he was a white supremacist, he would be fired immediately,” Paul said of the aide, who once described himself as the “Southern Avenger” and wore a Confederate flag mask. Paul said Hunter was “incredibly talented,” even if some of his writing is “absolutely stupid.”

And in case there was any doubt, ”I’m not a fan of secession,” Paul told the liberal online news organization.

It is hard to remember that Paul is a U.S. senator. Let’s take these remarks in order.

Hunter’s comments were not isolated, nor were they made in the distant past in his “youth”; he was saying these things as recently as 2009, well into his 30s and at a time when he came to Paul’s attention (he hired Hunter to write a book). The comments were not “untoward”; they were repulsive in denigrating minorities, suggesting the Civil War was unnecessary and cheering Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

Hunter’s judgment, views and conduct are bad enough to disqualify him from employment in any other House or Senate office, I would suggest. The Paul office’s insistence that Hunter and everyone else in the office doesn’t discriminate is a non sequitur. (Yeah, he believes Hispanics are inferior but he’s nice to everyone in the office?!) What is missing is any indication that Paul understands just how loony and unacceptable are Hunter’s views and tirades.

He says Hunter is “incredibly talented.” Does he beat the competition hands-down when it comes to shouting racially denigrating remarks while masked in a Confederate flag?

And, finally the senator’s remark that he is not a “fan” of secession is akin to saying he’s not really a fan of eugenics or not that partial to segregation. Coming from the border state of Kentucky, you’d think he would have more forceful things to say on the subject.

All of this leaves one wondering if there is something entirely missing in Rand Paul and his office — judgment. The senator and his staff seem not to comprehend the difference between crazy talk and interesting talk, between what is offensive and what is offbeat. It must come as a great shock to them that Jewish groups, whom they hoped to assuage with nice comments about Israel, are repulsed by his remarks and are saying so publicly. Paul has managed to re-marginalize himself.

So Kentucky Dems, listen up: Forget about Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is going to win reelection by a country mile. Start working on finding a conservative Democrat to run against Paul in 2016. By then, the people of Kentucky may have had all they can stand of Rand Paul.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.
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Jennifer Rubin | July 14, 2013