Years ago, I encountered the self-styled “Southern Avenger” Jack Hunter in an online debate in a comment thread. Hunter was a bit eccentric, to say the least, and endorsed secession, John Wilkes Booth, and had a wrestling mask with the Confederate bars and stars wrapped around his head. He was one of those wonderful freaks you meet online, a man who had a style all his own. I could admire his unique outlook, even as I disagreed vehemently with many of his sentiments.
Hunter was a radio host, stirring controversy and provoking his audience as much as he entertained them. He went on to co-author Senator Rand Paul’s book, The Tea Party Goes to Washington, and he also worked as Paul’s director of new media. Years passed after Hunter left his shock jock ways behind him, until The Washington Free Beacon revisited Hunter’s past and stirred up renewed controversy.
Yesterday, in an email to the Daily Caller, Jack Hunter announced his resignation.
Politics is a vicious endeavor, where anything you’ve ever done can be recycled and regurgitated to make hay where there really isn’t any to be made. No one who ever knew Jack Hunter personally, to my knowledge, ever described him as a racist. He’d made his way out of his youth, and into an adulthood that saw him attacking conspiracy theorists and fighting the rearguard for Texas Congressman Ron Paul, and he later went on to work for Rand Paul.
Hunter seemed to mellow with age, as so many of us do. He’d moderated his views, and distanced himself from the earlier versions of his persona. None of us are the same people we were ten years ago. Still, when Jack Hunter’s boss began entertaining a 2016 presidential run, his days were numbered. The mainstream media, and even rival campaigns, will not hesitate to associate a candidate like Rand Paul with the person Jack Hunter used to be a decade ago.
At the same time, they won’t hesitate to overlook real racism on the part of liberals. Robert Byrd, who served in the United States Senate from 1959 to 2010, was using “nigger” on television as late as 2001. Byrd opposed civil rights legislation in the 1960s, and was a known member of the Ku Klux Klan. Byrd’s explanation of his membership strained the credulity of the credulous: he said he’d only been a member for a year, during which time he rose to the rank of Exalted Cyclops. Three years after leaving the Klan, Byrd was writing to the Grand Wizard over the need for the rebirth of the KKK in West Virginia.
His views on the integration of the Air Force were quite progressive:
“Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.”
When Byrd died, the media barely made a mention of his past leadership in the KKK, or his continued affiliation with the organization after he purportedly left. Every eulogy lionized Byrd, because he’d been washed in the waters of liberalism. He supported the boondoggles and entitlements designed to rectify injustice and ensure more equality in outcomes. His 14 hour filibuster of civil rights legislation was forgotten.
He had the right ideas, and the liberal media could forgive his peccadilloes. Not so with Jack Hunter, who worked for a candidate the mainstream media utterly loathes. In order to tar Rand Paul, Jack Hunter had to be smeared. And so it was for the past two weeks, that a slow burn began and Jack Hunter had to pay for the “sins” of his past. Robert Byrd went on to five decades in the Senate, and over sixty years of elected service overall.
Jack Hunter will go back to punditry. His sin isn’t what he wrote all those years ago; it’s what he’s fighting for now: a quasi-libertarian, limited-government candidate who represents a legitimate threat to the status quo. And so tonight, raise your glass to Jack Hunter, and your middle finger to the hypocrisy of the media, and realize that 2016 affords us the opportunity to elect any number of liberty candidates. Jack Hunter was the first casualty in the earliest skirmish of the 2016 election, but he’ll be back.
Jay Batman is a graduate of the Texas Tech University School of Law, where he attained his J.D. in May 2013. He completed a B.A. in English with a minor in Political Science at the University of Montevallo in 2002. He is employed with Dustin Stockton Political Strategies, LLC, and presently resides in West Texas with his dog and co-author, Buddy Love