While Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) makes an earnest effort to discover why African Americans won't vote for states right conservatives, his father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), is doing his very best to answer the question in his new role outside of Congress.
Paul, who retired this year from the House, is running a new think tank aimed at supporting his "non-interventionist" foreign policy and libertarian domestic politics. But rather than a new chapter for the longtime representative, The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity looks more like a return to the old extremist ties he tried to shake off in recent years as his movement gained a more mainstream following.
As Jamie Kirchick reports in The Daily Beast, his group's advisory board includes incendiary columnist Lew Rockwell, who has been identified in news reports as the most likely author of a series of racist, homophobic and conspiracy-laden newsletters Paul published in the '80s and '90s.
Despite being marketed with his endorsement and sometimes presented under his name, Paul denied any knowledge of their content in his recent presidential runs. But Rockwell's re-emergence into Paul's inner circle suggests he hasn't put the past behind him.
Other board members profiled by Kirchick include John Laughland, who made defending Slobodan Milosevic from ethnic cleansing charges a personal cause, and economics professor Walter Block, who argued on Rockwell's website that the country would be better off if the Confederate states had successfully cut ties with the "monster Lincoln." This is not far from Paul's own comments -- in a 2007 Meet The Press appearance he said that the "iron-fisted" Lincoln should never have fought the "senseless Civil War."
Rand Paul, who has presented himself as more mainstream on foreign policy than his father, has not attached himself to the think tank and did not speak at its launch this month. But his father's career continues to make Paul's professed naivete as to the roots of conservatives' minority outreach problem all the more puzzling.PERMALINK | COMMENTS (0) | RECOMMEND RECOMMEND (0)
Rand Paul suggested to Howard University students on Wednesday that the very notion states rights conservatives are -- or ever have been -- tied to race-baiting is a figment of their imagination.
But students at Howard took issue with the idea the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln was no different than the southern-dominated GOP of the last 40 years or so.
"Are we discussing the Republican Party of the 19th century?" one questioner asked Paul afterwards. "Or are we discussing the post-1968 Republican Party?"
"The argument I'm trying to make is we haven't changed," Paul replied. At another point, he said that "the Republican Party has always been the party of civil rights and voting rights."