The Mirror

Sen. Paul wades into dicey, racial territory

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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Potential presidential contender Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) may have walked into a land mine last night by voluntarily wading into a race story to criticize rocker Ted Nugent when he still defends hiring the Southern Avenger, who made a career out of playing the race card in an offensive way. Nugent is getting blasted from all sides for calling President Obama a “subhuman mongrel” at a Las Vegas trade show last month.

Paul urged Nugent to apologize for the remark he made last month. He did so today on Ben Ferguson‘s radio program.

The Southern Avenger is Jack Hunter, a contributing editor at Rare, the fake conservative Cox Media news outlet based in Alexandria, Va. Hunter, a former social media director for Paul, parted ways with the senator last summer after the Washington Free Beacon outed him as a neo-Confederate shock jock. Paul and Hunter co-wrote the 2011 book, The Tea Party Goes to Washington. For his part, Paul says he wasn’t aware of Hunter’s neo-Confederate past or affinity for John Wilkes Booth (who assassinated President Lincoln) when he hired him. Hunter said sort of as much in a Politico Magazine piece that he wrote in November: “Sen. Paul had known that I used to wear a Confederate wrestling mask as part of an old radio shtick, and I still sometimes used the Southern Avenger moniker—it was my Twitter handle and appeared on my Facebook page. But he hadn’t known about the many stupid and offensive things I’d said.”

Has the senator shown such faux outrage toward the race baiter who was actually on his own staff and wore a Confederate flag mask for a living? The Mirror sought comment from Paul’s press office, asking, how does the senator reconcile hiring a supposedly recovering neo-Confederate like Hunter and then going after Nugent? What’s more, will the senator consider bringing Nugent on board his staff for a little while?

I also wrote Hunter to ask what he thinks about Nugent’s remark. He directed me to a column he wrote in Rare Thursday in which he states, “As horrible as that sounds, such language is nothing new for Nugent.” He says Nugent once called Hillary Clinton a “worthless bitch.” He reasons, “The question is not whether Ted Nugent will stop being Ted Nugent. He’s not going to stop. Now 65, Nugent has been outlandish and offensive for so long that it has become a bankable part of his persona. Nugent doesn’t care what others think. That’s the point. The question is, do conservatives care what others think? Or do some conservatives, on some level, also believe that not caring is part of being conservative?”

The Mirror received only silence from Paul’s press office by press time.