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Rand Paulís Paleo Problem
National Review ^ | 07/17/2013 | Jonah Goldberg

Posted on 07/17/2013 7:03:28 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

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,, “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. When his writing became controversial, the elder Paul insisted he hadn’t known what was in his own newsletters (though in 1996 he took responsibility for them).

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 newsletters, probably ghostwritten by Rothbard and former Ron Paul chief of staff Lew Rockwell, were the main organ for this effort.

“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. Some are ignorant about this history, while others dismiss the controversies as a distraction from Paul’s real message. 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.

— Jonah Goldberg is the author of the The Tyranny of Clichés, now on sale in paperback.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Kentucky
KEYWORDS: amnesty; andrewnapolitano; antiwar; birdsofafeather; conservatism; danlogsdon; davidduke; geraldorivera; goldberg; jackhunter; jonahgoldberg; judgenapolitano; kentucky; leagueofthesouth; lewrockwell; libertarian; libertarians; lundergangrimes; mitchmcconnell; proslavery; randnesty; randpaul; randsconcerntrolls; randsconverntrolls; ratnazis; secessionists; southernavenger; whitesupremacist; zerotolerancepolicy
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To: SeekAndFind
Even the paleocons and paleolibertarians were in favor of going into Afghanistan to find and kill Bin Laden.

Fewer and fewer people are in favor of continuing to stay in Afghanistan hoping against all hope that we can bring that 10th century country, the "graveyard of empires", into the 21st century.

21 posted on 07/17/2013 8:39:15 AM PDT by who_would_fardels_bear
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To: who_would_fardels_bear; SeekAndFind
"Evidently the NeoCons that have gobbled up NR"

Its really about gobbling up the GOP. Or more precisely, purging the GOP of those who adhere to a different foreign policy doctrine.

SeekAndFind is correct when he points to the foreign policy isolationists. There are different groups within the isolationists so you might say paleolibertarians, or libertarians, or paleocons, or paleopopulists, or goldenagers. They are all isolationists and the two most prominent are Pat Buchannan and Ron Paul. Rand Paul was able to disguise his isolationism until May when he and the two antiwar dems voted against intervening in Syria in the vote taken in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Then GOPer Lee joined those 3 to introduce legislation opposing intervening in Syria.

The NeoCons have spoken openly about purging isolationists like Pat B and Ron P from the GOP.

They also have spoken openly about purging the foreign policy realists from the GOP. Many realists have been purged. Kissinger, Scowcroft, James Baker, George Schultz, GHW Bush, Colin Powell, Condi Rice, Richard Lugar, Chuck Hagel. Now they will run NeoCon Liz Cheney against Realist Enzi in Wyoming.

22 posted on 07/17/2013 8:51:51 AM PDT by Ben Ficklin
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To: SeekAndFind

The neocons literally hate paleocons and wish to destroy them. they can tolerate liberal progs, but not paleos.

23 posted on 07/17/2013 9:07:38 AM PDT by TBP (Obama lies, Granny dies.)
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To: SeekAndFind
for one thing, many people have a distinct impression (right or wrong) that the Paul’s (Both Rand and Ron ) have an isolationist streak in them. The impression is that they do not want America involved in any military conflict (even when a country like Afghanistan is sheltering a terrorist who was responsible for killing 3,000 people on our soil ).

Which is a wrong impression deliberately fueled by left-wingers and neocons.

I think they're of the Pat Buchanan school -- we should get involved when we have a vital national interest, but otherwise, generally stay out of other countries' business. As Buchanan wrote in a column, "Conservatives are at best reluctant internationalists."

24 posted on 07/17/2013 9:12:40 AM PDT by TBP (Obama lies, Granny dies.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Gee, maybe I find people like Hunter refreshing for not being Lincoln worshipers. The knee jerk worship of Lincoln from some on the right is mind blowing.

25 posted on 07/17/2013 9:16:07 AM PDT by Sam Gamgee (May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't. - Patton)
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To: who_would_fardels_bear

I think this would have been a much more interesting critique if it was aimed at Rand Paul’s immigration stance. He is honest about his Reason Magazine beliefs on immigration, although I totally disagree with him.

26 posted on 07/17/2013 9:17:23 AM PDT by Sam Gamgee (May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't. - Patton)
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To: PghBaldy
I think the immigration stance of some conservatives is downright pollyana. Yes, in a perfect world, an employer having free access to labor is a great ideal. But in a world wrought with terrorism open borders are pure suicide.
27 posted on 07/17/2013 9:19:56 AM PDT by Sam Gamgee (May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't. - Patton)
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To: who_would_fardels_bear

Would paleoconservatives concede pulling troops from Afghanistan but leaving special forces units there to deal with terrorists?

28 posted on 07/17/2013 9:21:23 AM PDT by Sam Gamgee (May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't. - Patton)
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To: Sam Gamgee

No, we cannot afford to leave anyone there because we know that the Obama administration cannot be depended upon to defend them.

29 posted on 07/17/2013 9:23:11 AM PDT by Eva
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To: Sam Gamgee
Ever since reading 1984 I have been very suspicious of continuous warfare of any kind.

Have the CIA maintain paid agents in the region as our eyes and ears. If and when they get wind of anything worthy of targeting, then send in special ops.

30 posted on 07/17/2013 9:52:53 AM PDT by who_would_fardels_bear
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To: Ben Ficklin
The only truly "foreign policy isolationist" country appears to be North Korea. They are isolating themselves from everyone else at every level possible.

There is no similar group in America. Certainly not the paleolibertarians or paleocons. Everyone in America supports individual citizens and corporations doing business around the world. The question is whether our government should be constantly involved in every international body and "crisis".

I reject the notion that Pat Buchanan or Rand Paul or Ron Paul are isolationists. They are merely anti-meddling.

Our government should be primarily in the business of developing trade agreements with other nations and using its power to keep our business partners to their promises.

What sane person really believed that we could win the Iraq war and bring democracy to that hobbled-together country of sworn enemy populations in a reasonable amount of time? Anyone with a brain in his head had to know that the only possible way to bring democracy to Iraq was to impose a benevolent dictatorship on the country, and that that would not be politically viable. Therefore we should never have gone into Iraq, especially since all of the Republicans screamed after the failures in Vietnam that we should not go to war unless we had a viable exit strategy. For Iraq, there was no viable exit strategy, therefore we should never have gone in.

Anyone who continues to support the notion that going into Iraq was a good idea has no business labeling Pat Buchanan and the Paul's as isolationist.

I'm not saying that you are, but so many people are throwing around the isolationist label incorrectly that it is very frustrating.

The Democrats are busy hollowing out America from the inside while the Neocons are committing us to a continuous future of debt and strife and never-ending war.

Our prospects are bleak unless we return to the Constitutional principles that made this nation great to begin with.

31 posted on 07/17/2013 10:10:09 AM PDT by who_would_fardels_bear
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To: who_would_fardels_bear
I'm not the one who determines whether someone is or isn't an isolationist. Nor am I the one who determines who is or isn't a NeoCon. Or who is or isn't a realist.

That is determined by consensus and using the internet you can quickly see the consensus of who is or isn't in a particular group.

And I understand the argument commonly used to say that Ron Paul is a non-interventionist, not an isolationist. But there is no difference.

You can say that NeoCons are interventionists. And you can say that realists are interventionists only if it in the US's interest to intervene. And you can say that isolationists are non-interventionists.

You can also define each of these groups in regards to multilateralism versus unilateralism.

Whether you call them isolationists, non-interventionists, or some other name, they have essentially no influence on US foreign policy. They never serve on a GOP prez's foreign policy team and they are never allowed to serve as a chairman on a congressional committee that has anything to do with foreign policy.

32 posted on 07/17/2013 12:54:30 PM PDT by Ben Ficklin
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To: who_would_fardels_bear

Evidently the neocons ...are afraid of anything except their own worthless and dangerous ideology. BINGO, I mentioned that Goldberg was NOT CONSERVATIVE but a Neo/Trotskyite just a few weeks ago and the FReeper screams were to the roof! Look Jonah is Lucienne’s boy and he had to make a living and the Repub neocon circuit beckoned, plus he’s fond of chicken dinners....what else would a good Jewish boy do?

33 posted on 07/17/2013 2:26:40 PM PDT by iopscusa (El Vaquero. (SC Lowcountry Cowboy))
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To: SeekAndFind

Good God man are you blind!?! The Taliban, OBL and the Paki ISI are one and the GD same and the US Gub had been sending Billions of dollars to the Pakis while at the same time offering up 1000 of lives and limbs for sacrifice! It is total FUBAR! We armed OBL/Taliban against the Russians, we destroyed Libya for AlQ and are trying to do the same in Egypt and Syria and you think we have been fighting a RIGHTEOUS WAR! Oh yeah, it is way past time to re-investigate 911 also.

34 posted on 07/17/2013 2:33:47 PM PDT by iopscusa (El Vaquero. (SC Lowcountry Cowboy))
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To: SharpRightTurn

“What I don’t like about Rand Paul is his willingness to go along with amnesty under the right conditions. I also would also want to know that he doesn’t want to import masses more of mohammedans into our country as Bush did and as Hussein is now doing.”


35 posted on 07/17/2013 3:20:41 PM PDT by OldNewYork (Biden '13. Impeach now.)
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To: SharpRightTurn

Rand Paul’s real Paleo problem is his position on immigration. He alienates Paleoconservatives.

Rand Paul needs to unite the young white voters, moderates who oppose war (and cheap labor) and Paleocons to win the GOP Nomination. Even Priebus was scared to talk about immigration to young Republicans.

Instead he goes on hispandering speaking tours.

Surely he realises the key to winning Ohio isn’t Amnesty.

36 posted on 07/17/2013 5:51:27 PM PDT by ObamahatesPACoal
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