In something of a Paul family tradition, the conservative Washington Free Beacon reports that the co-author of Rand Paul's 2011 book embraced racist, pro-Confederate imagery and language during his stint as a radio shock jock. That man, Jack Hunter, still goes by the moniker he used in his more colorful past life: the Southern Avenger.

Last August, Hunter was hired as the senator's new media director, a position that he apparently still holds. According to the Charleston City Paper, Hunter and Paul began working together in September 2010 when Paul hired him to work on the book, The Tea Party Goes to Washington. Hunter's path to that point began with the conservative commentary he offered on the radio and at his website — commentary that first brought him to the attention of the far-right media.

The Free Beacon's Alana Goodman explored the Southern Avenger's past blog posts as maintained by The Internet ArchiveThe examples largely hew to the "racism is over, except against whites" school. Like "Black and White Pride," from 2004:

Black and white middle class Southerners have lived in peace with Confederate flags, Martin Luther King T-shirts, the playing of Dixie and Amazing Grace for sometime now. …

[The KKK and the NAACP] are the true hate-mongers, and the groups in power today seek nothing less than the ultimate destruction of the traditional identity of Southern whites, who in turn, have no voice and receive no respect – so it shouldn’t come as a shock that flag-waving Southerners are really pissed off.

Hunter, right, in an
undated photo with
"his amigo Bam Bam."

Or, "Are White People Out of Style?" in which he writes that Hispanics are "turning everywhere they settle into northern outposts of their Mexican homeland."

Not only are whites not afforded the same right to celebrate their own cultural identity – but anything that is considered “too white” is immediately suspect. Nobody talks about rap music being “too black.” No one would dare suggest that the agricultural work force is “too Hispanic.” But let something like NASCAR, country music or the Republican party become patronized mainly by white Americans, and you can bet your ass someone is going to scream racism.

As the Southern Avenger — wearing a Rebel flag-luchador mask apparently without irony —Hunter became known for his defense of secessionism. This is a position that he held as recently as September 2009, according to commentary in Taki's Magazine. In an interview with the Free Beacon, he has broadly disavowed or qualified his other controversial positions. (One reason he might not be worried about his pro-secession stance: it is shared by some residents of Paul's home state.)

He expressed surprise when read his remarks about race, saying, “Hearing you even read that to me, because I just don’t speak like that, sort of bothers me.” He said his views had changed dramatically.

Which is a caveat worth noting. Many of these positions — with the exception of secession — date back nearly a decade. Nor do they necessarily reflect the view of the senator himself. (In a statement to the Free Beacon, Paul disavowed the racism.)

The controversy echoes one that enveloped his father during his 2008 campaign for president. During that race, old newsletters bearing Ron Paul's name and containing obviously racist language resurfaced, with the candidate disavowing authorship. Eventually, blame fell on Lew Rockwell — a former Paul staffer-turned-pundit.

That year, Hunter wrote a response (hosted at InfoWars.com) to those worried about Ron Paul's newsletters:

As a long time right-wing commentator, whose been accused of being “racist” more times than I care to remember, there is no way anyone on the non-neocon Right will ever be able to run for office and not be linked to certain segments of the movement that have “racist” attitudes, real or percieved. …

If you believe in Ron Paul’s message, you must understand this: ANYONE who comes along with the same message WILL (not “if” or “maybe”) but WILL be accused of being a “racist” or worse by the establishment, Right or Left. It happens EVERY time. It’s all they have.