Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks during the 38th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington February 10, 2011. The CPAC is a project of the American Conservative Union Foundation.  REUTERS/Joshua Roberts    (UNITED STATES - Tags:
"To be honest, I'd rather be droning on about drones."
Rand Paul has made no secret about his 2016 ambitions, and last night on Fox he aimed his fire at Rick Perry's famous "oops" moment:
“If Gov. Perry decides to run for president, I think there would be three good reasons why he could be president: Texas is a big successful state, he’s a long term governor and… I can’t remember the other one,” Paul quipped.
Perry spent his day yesterday announcing that he won't run for a fourth term as governor of Texas in 2014 ... but he made it crystal clear that he plans to join Paul in mounting a 2016 presidential campaign. Perry hasn't taken any shots at potential rivals yet, but Paul is already taking incoming fire from the conservative side for hiring a pro-secession neo-Confederate to ghost write his book and serve as an aide on his U.S. Senate staff:
Jack Hunter, who co-authored Rand Paul’s 2011 book and now directs new media for the Kentucky senator, has a past alter ego as the “Southern Avenger,” a provocative radio personality known for wearing a luchador mask emblazoned with the Confederate flag and for making outrageous comments about race and Southern secession, Alana Goodman of the Washington Free Beacon reveals today.

As the arguably white nationalist Southern Avenger, Hunter praised the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, saying he “raise[s] a personal toast every May 10 to celebrate John Wilkes Booth’s birthday,” compared Lincoln to Saddam Hussein, and suggested the great American president would have had a homosexual relationship with Adolf Hitler, had the two ever met. He also advocated against Hispanic immigration and in favor of white pride, warning that a “non-white majority America would simply cease to be America.”

Hunter (thankfully, not our Hunter!) carries with him a treasure trove of extremist statements, and it's pretty clear that The Free Beacon hopes that Paul's decision to hire him will define Paul's campaign before Paul gets a chance to define himself. The question I have is whether being branded as a conservative who tolerates neo-Confederate racism will be an asset or liability. In today's Republican Party, the answer isn't entirely clear.

11:30 AM PT: Or maybe it is clear:

You guys act like being a confederate-flag-masked racist douchebag is somehow disqualifying for Republican employment. #resumebulletpoint

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 11:22 AM PDT.

Also republished by My Old Kentucky Kos and Daily Kos.

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