Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Happy Constitution Day! An old Interview Proves Nothing Much Changes

Less than a year ago I interviewed Jack Hunter, formerly known as the Southern Avenger, who's moniker and Paulist associations recently earned him the disdain and rebuke of the Free Beacon and much of the pro-war Right and Establishment Republican Party, despite his success as a co-author of Rand Paul's book The Tea Party Goes to Washington.

In the interview we chatted about Continuing Resolutions, Debt Ceiling Negotiations, the various purity tests within the Liberty Movement, his status as an 'operative', and, sadly the trouble with mass shootings. The interview transcript is below along with a link to the entire radio show from December 16, 2012, from which the interview was excerpted.

Welcome back, everybody. It’s the Valerie Sargent Martin Show. Our number to call in is 347 324 3704. Or you can join us at the FreedomizerRadio.com chat room. On the line with me now we’ve got our guest for this hour pundit, writer, radio personality, Liberty Movement superstar Jack Hunter. Hi, Jack.

Jack Hunter [JH]: Good to be with you, Valerie. How are you?

VSM: I’m doing great. Thanks so much for joining me today. I’m thrilled to death to have you with me.

JH: I’m glad to be here. It’s been too long.

VSM: Well, all right. So I invited you on specifically to talk about Jim DeMint’s departure from the Senate because you are a South Carolinian.

JH: I am. I am sad to see Senator DeMint leaving the Senate. I am glad that he will be in charge of the Heritage Foundation, an organization which, for the good things it does on occasion, I think also is an Establishment defender, particularly during the Bush/Cheney era. I like the fact that a guy who’s moving more in the liberty direction on issues – that’s not to say he’s perfect, but he’s certainly veering more in that direction than the average Republican – will be in charge of an organization like that with an $80 million annual budget. That makes me very happy.

As far as what’s going to happen with his seat, well, that is a big loss for us. You know, when guys like Mike Lee and Rand Paul were voting against things like indefinite detention, you know, for our liberties, DeMint was right there with them a lot of the time. You would hope somebody would be in that seat that would continue with those same votes. If I had to guess, I think Governor Nikki Haley would probably appoint Tim Scott who is actually my congressman in my home district, the 1st Congressional District of South Carolina. Tim Scott is very conservative and good on some things, you know, and not good on others, in my opinion, but, you know, he’s no Jim DeMint, and the more he could possibly be like Jim DeMint would certainly be a good thing. My first pick for South Carolina would be Mick Mulvaney as far as people who have said they’re interested. There’s other people who aren’t interested who I would pick also.

[16:00] VSM: Mick Mulvaney is a current congressman.

JH: Right. He’s a current congressman. And he has made, there was a story in Politico last week talking about Republicans who are encouraging defense spending cuts and he was the main focus. He even uses the term ‘Military Keynesianism.’ And for anybody who’s been following my work for a long time, what has prevented the conservative movement and the Republican Party, and something Ron Paul has talked about until his face turns blue, and so many of our liberty leaders and activists, if we can’t cut pentagon spending, if we can’t cut all these bases around the world, the trillions and trillions of dollars that we spend on mindless wars that don’t make any sense, we will never, ever be able to shrink government.

Entitlements are unquestionably the biggest culprit when it comes to our debt and deficits, and our foreign policy is the second. And if Republicans, conservatives, can’t get their heads around that we will never, ever be able to shrink government.

VSM: Yeah, well, let’s talk about the fiscal cliff stuff first and then we’ll get back to the Jim DeMint issue in a moment. What do you think’s going to happen with the fiscal cliff stuff?

[17:27] JH: Well, Washington D.C. being Washington D.C. I can see nothing happening at all, and, you know, my preference is that sequestration goes through. For there to be a deal would probably mean there’s not going to be any cuts. And [cuts are] what needs to happen. And nobody needs to raise taxes. The idea that the government doesn’t have enough money is just stupid on its face. It would certainly hurt jobs. But more important than anything we have to start cutting. Sequestration is not enough, but at least it’s something. So I would like to see no deal happen, but, you know, John Boehner is sort of a joke. Barack Obama’s certainly a joke.  It will remain to be seen.

VSM: How big is the sequestration cut? I mean, it’s an automatic, across the board…what percent cut on every government…

JH: Yeah. I think, Is it 10% across the board? I think it does unequally target Pentagon spending. But even, you’re talking about taking Pentagon spending back to 2009 levels. I don’t remember having a bare bones military that couldn’t adequately protect us back in 2009. And that’s what you see these neocon guys like, you know, some senators and others saying, you know, “Oh, they’re gutting the military. Obama’s gutting the military.” Well, no, no, not at all. 2009 is not exactly a bare bones military.

And also, by and large, not this year, but in general, it’s not an actual cut. It’s a decrease in the rate of increase. And conservatives always argue with liberals on domestic policy. When conservatives say we need to get rid of the Department of Education, or do this, that, and the other, and say, “Oh, well, conservative Republicans hate the kids, and they hate education, and they hate the poor.” Well, all we’re talking about is reductions in the rate of increase. Never a cut. I can’t remember the last time a cut happened in D. C.
Same thing with Pentagon spending. You’re watching supposedly conservative Republicans making the exact same argument when it comes to Pentagon spending that liberals do with domestic spending.

[19:30] VSM: Right. And, you know, even Senators like Bob Corker, and some of the others I’ve watched on CNBC recently, when they talk about cuts it’s really more addressing the Medicare problem, the Social Security issue. They never talk about fundamentally restructuring government so that we’re only paying for those things that are covered by the Constitution.

JH: Absolutely. There was actually a piece by a liberal writer in the New York Times whose name escapes me right now talking about why Republicans can’t cut and he makes a very good point, might have been a she I can’t remember, that they, you know, theoretically [say], “Oh, we’re for cuts. We’re for small government,” but they can never tell you where they’re going to do it. Why? Because they haven’t done what Ron Paul’s encouraged them to do for going on, well, he’s been doing it for almost 30 years, popularly for 5 years: to reexamine the role of government.

Entitlements, by and large, have to change. That is the biggest culprit on our debt. Pentagon spending. As I mentioned earlier. Guys like John Boehner and the Republican leadership haven’t even begun to reexamine the role of what government should do. It should do, as you said, according to the Constitution, so how are they even going to begin to cut spending? They don’t even know where to start because they aren’t any more serious about it than the Democrats.

That’s what the Liberty Movement, that’s what we’re about. For 30, 40, I don’t know how many years you’ve had all these people talk about, “Oh, we’re conservatives. We’re constitutionalists. We’re going to shrink government,” and they’ve been lying. They’re not serious about it. And that’s the difference between what we stand for – and what we’re trying to push, whether within the Republican Party and the conservative movement, but within American politics as a whole – and what existed before, as represented by Democrats like Barack Obama, Republicans like John Boehner, or even Mitt Romney.

[21:10] VSM: Well, what do we do about that, Jack, when our own leadership, the Republican Party’s own leadership, is purging true conservatives, true constitutionalists from these Budget and Finance committees?

JH: We kick their ass. That’s what you have to do. John Boehner deserves to be punished. Now, can we get rid of him? I don’t know. I don’t know the logistics. I, we can certainly make life tough for him and raise hell. That’s what we’re supposed to do.

The trick with our movement, we do represent something different, and we do. Ron Paul started, and the liberty leaders that followed in his wake, his son Rand Paul, Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, who I think is going to be a very good congressman in Kentucky, and others, we need to be able to hold the Republican Establishment’s feet to the fire, which is what we’ve been doing. That’s how all those gentlemen I just mentioned got elected. Going up against the Establishment, against the establishment candidates. But also, when our guys, who aren’t always going to be perfect, not even Ron Paul is perfect, do get into a position where they can do something, we need to give them a little bit of backup, too.

You know, people like National Review and Weekly Standard are going to, for the next four years, use every opportunity to put guys like Marco Rubio on their cover, talk about things that are more neoconservative. We as a movement need to look at guys like Rand Paul and Justin Amash and Massie and others and say, “We’re going to champion these guys as well. We think they’re better than your neocon leaders.” I don’t see enough of that. I think one of the rare exceptions, actually, is probably Reason Magazine, is very good about covering our guys and promoting our guys. But, by and large, I don’t see as much of it as I think should happen.

The grassroots is absolutely great at it. Programs like yours, and you know, just the grassroots movement that’s just built up through the Ron Paul Movement, they’re good at it. You can go on facebook or twitter and see all sorts of stories. And a lot of it’s just people writing on their blogs and whatnot. But there needs to even be more of that. And there needs to be people at even higher levels doing that. I think it’s important.

[23:13] VSM: Do you think that they are being ignored purposefully by the media, or just that they are not well-known enough to merit coverage by the media? You know what’s so interesting to me is Paul Ryan. One thing you can say about him is that he promoted himself extremely well.

JH: Absolutely.

VSM: He was always on CNBC. He was always everywhere where he could be seen. That’s why he got the reputation for being the leader on the budget issue.

JH: You’re absolutely right. He’s a great self-promoter. Look, Paul Ryan deserves credit for one thing and one thing only: having an adult conversation about entitlement reform. That needed to happen. He’s been the most popular leader for that in most people’s minds. He deserves credit for that. What he does not deserve credit for is the rest of his record. He voted for TARP, he voted for No Child Left Behind, he voted for Medicare Plan D. In fact, he was a big champion for TARP. You can go on YouTube and see videos of him chastising fellow Republicans for not being for this.

Now, that said, that leads to our second question. Why do some of these guys get promoted more than others? Are they not high-profile? Are they not important enough? Well, some of that’s true. But I also think it’s this: take a guy like Paul Ryan who was a cause celebre even before he became a VP choice for Romney. Mainstream Republicans absolutely love Paul Ryan. You’d agree with me there, right, Valerie?

VSM: Sure.

JH: When we talk to people they like Paul Ryan.

VSM: Sure.

JH: All right. OK.  And when we, as Liberty Movement people, we say, well, even when we throw him a bone about entitlement reform we still point out the rest of his record, as I just mentioned. TARP, Medicare Plan D, No Child Left Behind. Generally they don’t want to hear it. They think we’re just being contrarian, naysayers, and, “How dare you bring this up? Paul Ryan’s our guy, and you need to shut up.” That’s basically their attitude towards us. Is that what you’ve experienced?

VSM: Of course.

[25:05] JH: OK. All right. So, Paul Ryan is going to be on the cover of all these mainstream Republican magazines, talk radio, Fox News darling and everything, and everybody’s going to love him despite having really a bad record at the end of the day.

Now, take somebody like Rand Paul or Justin Amash who, 90, 95 percent of the time vote exactly the way that we would want, the way that Ron Paul would vote, whether in the Senate or the House with Justin Amash. What do we do with a near perfect record from the perspective of our movement? Do we say, “Man, these guys are great. I don’t agree with this vote, but, man, these guys are great.” Or do many of our people say, “Well, I hate this guy. He’s a neocon. He’s completely wrong because we don’t agree with this little bit.” Do you see that a lot?

VSM: I do. I know where you’re going with this, I think.

JH: My point, the other side, the people we really don’t, the mainstream Republicans and the neoconservatives are very good about, they don’t need perfection, but they have their guys. People we don’t like because they’re for bad things. And they push them, they promote them, their guys, and that’s how they change the political narrative. What do we do? We take people who are generally 99 percent of the time doing what we like and tearing them down every chance we get.

Now, I say ’we.’ I think there’s a small percentage in the Liberty Movement that tends to do that, but they’re loud and they’re there. And that’s not to say you don’t hold these people’s feet to the fire. You have to. We don’t want to be like those other guys. But at the same time, good God, you know, appreciate this overwhelmingly good stuff that people do and don’t act like they’re persona non grata because they did one or two things you might disagree with. I think that’s going to be the big challenge for our movement.

If we’re going to be serious, if we’re going to scare the socks off of guys like Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer and Max Boot and Lindsey Graham and John McCain going down the line, we’re going to have to learn to be able to do that. We have to learn to fight fire with fire. And I think some on our side don’t really, aren’t temperamentally capable of doing that yet, at least.

[26:53] VSM: I think, and I know what you’re saying here, the movement, to me, is sort of like…I’m trying to…You know, back in the 80’s and 90’s before they played alternative music on the radio…

JH: Right. I know where you’re going now.

VSM: OK. Anytime you heard a song, you thought it was awesome, it was only awesome up and until that point when everybody else started listening to it. And then once everybody else had accepted that song and said, “Yeah, we like that song, too,” well…

JH: I’ll give you two examples. One was Metallica and one was Green Day.  And I’m 38 years old. I was a Metallica fan for all those early albums and I remember when Enter Sandman came out. All my metalhead friends said, “Aw, these guys have sold out.” And what happened is that music just became bigger than it ever was. And it wasn’t part of their small club.

Same with Green Day. They were a punk band from San Francisco, San Diego, I can’t remember, Southern California, and I had their early albums. Nobody knew who they were. And that one album came out whose name I won’t say on your radio show because I don’t want to offend. And they blew up. The whole world loved them. A lot of those punk rockers were like, “These guys have sold out.” And they’re bigger than ever. If that’s the point you’re making, yeah I think that’s exactly…

[28:00] VSM: Well, yeah. That’s how I view people within the Ron Paul group and the Liberty Movement in general, and minarchist/anarchist wings of our group. It’s only great to have somebody on our side until they’re successful…

JH: Right.

VSM: …and then our tendency is to want to find someone else to push up to the top and sort of push those people to the side and be harder on them than we would be on somebody else.

JH: That’s right. If Ron Paul wasn’t who he was, everybody’s good about giving him the benefit of the doubt. I’m talking about from our perspective, because they do. He’s Ron Paul. He’s awesome. But they need to learn to do that with other people. I mean, I can picture people in another universe saying, well, “Ron Paul, why are you in the Republican Party. That’s selling out.” But most people don’t say that. We 
need to learn to do that.

And it is exactly what you said. I remember when Metallica went on the Grammys and had their first video. My heavy metal friends were like, “Well, they’ve sold out.” It was basically them going to another level. And that made them bigger, making a video, going on the Grammys. Our people have to go to the U.S. Senate, and maybe do one or two or four things that, you know, might not be ideologically totally pure, but at the end of the day they’re holding off a war with a country, protecting the Fourth Amendment, and doing things that nobody else in Washington D.C. is doing. Basically taking Ron Paul’s ideas and making them stick. Yeah, I think we need to get behind them. I think it’s important.

[29:38] VSM: Well, let’s talk about Rand Paul in that instance, because he recently submitted an amendment on NDAA, an NDAA vote that was basically a restating of the Sixth Amendment. When that didn’t pass, the amendment didn’t pass, he still went ahead and voted for the bill that Nancy Pelosi put out there, and it wasn’t strong enough. Even Justin Amash, who we hold up as a standard bearer in the House, disagreed with Rand Paul’s vote in favor of that. Is this kind of what you’re talking about?

JH: Actually, it’s exactly what I’m talking about. The argument basically is that Justin says, Representative Amash says, that, and he has a very good point – and I even read it two or four or ten times myself, as did many people I know, because it can get very confusing some of the legalese, if you  will – his point was that the NDAA 2013 with the Feinstein-Lee Amendment which prevents indefinite detention for American citizens is somehow null and void because of the 2012 NDAA vote. But the point of Senator Mike Lee and Rand Paul and the people who voted for Feinstein-Lee is this is an annual event, NDAA. Every year it changes. So 2013 counts and so does 2012. So you can argue that back and forth.

The main point is, does anybody from our perspective doubt that Justin Amash is fighting against indefinite detention and for the Fourth Amendment? Does anybody doubt that Senator Rand Paul and Mike Lee are fighting against indefinite detention and for the Fourth Amendment? If you see what I’m saying.

VSM: Right.

[31:23] JH: Justin Amash put it perfectly. He goes, “I love that I belong to a Republican Party and a movement that we have enough people that we could even have these arguments amongst two people who are basically fighting for the same thing.”

He’s right. Because I can remember a time when none of this would’ve been happening and nobody knew who Ron Paul was. That’s what makes me excited about the future all the time. He’s absolutely right. But what does our movement do? “Well, one guy’s absolutely right and one guy’s absolutely wrong and he’s as bad as Lindsey Graham.” No, there’s actually a lot more nuance to it than that. And these guys are both pretty close to Ron Paul. Not exactly like Ron Paul on this issue. We need to learn to give them the benefit of the doubt.

By the way, Feinstein-Lee, I think Representative Amash did get that wrong. It does protect American citizens from indefinite detention. And we’ll find that out if somebody tries to pull the trigger. We’ll see how far Feinstein-Lee goes. Once again, it wasn’t an unreasonable question to ask, but I do think it’s unreasonable to throw all of these people under the bus. Immediately. The neocons don’t do that. They never do that. When they were jumping on the Sarah Palin bandwagon in 2008 because she sounded a little more pro-war, and then she would say something that might not sit well with them, you know, about maybe getting troops out of Afghanistan. Well, they wouldn’t just throw her under the bus and run away. No, they stick, stay by it, and they use it, and they see how it’s going to pan out. To the degree that we can learn to do that we’re going to be able to win. If we throw people who are just nearly perfect politically for us under the bus every time we turn around we’re never going to be able to accomplish anything.

[32:42] VSM: Yeah, we have something similar like that here at the state level here in Georgia, and you probably do in South Carolina. I’m sure most states do. We’ve got some representatives that weren’t necessarily Paul supporters, but they are doing the right thing when it comes to limiting the size and growth of government at the state level, trying to make our government more accountable, those kinds of things. And some of our Paul supporters are exceedingly hard on them because they weren’t Ron Paul supporters.

JH: That’s politics. You have to build those coalitions. You know that, Valerie, at the level you’re talking about, the state. These people are with you on these issues so you’re going to work with them on these issues.

You know what I would say to those supporters? And I’ve said this for a long time, most Ron Paul supporters I know love Dennis Kucinich. Would you agree with that?

VSM: Yes.

JH: Ok. Why do we love him? He’s great on foreign policy and civil liberties. He’d also take all of our money, redistribute it as he sees fit, and create a socialist hell if he had the chance. Am I, do I mis-view that?

VSM: No.

JH: I’m not trying to, Ron Paul is a friend of mine and Dennis Kucinich is a good friend of his. I’m not trying to be insulting. I’m just trying to talk about what his politics are.

The sort of contrarian nature within our movement, the impulse, allows us to say, “Well, he’s on the left. We have common enemies. So we like him.” Even though, really, half of his agenda, if not more, is something we find deplorable. But then people that are considered on our Right, who’d be considered on our Republican side, the people you’re talking about, or even the people like my friend Senator DeMint who’s very good on a lot of issues, but not perfect, and certainly needs to get better, you throw those people completely under the bus because they’re not perfect, even though they’re trending in your direction. That’s not how you do it. And it’s hypocritical when you look through the lens of leftists we like, like Glenn Greenwald…

VSM: Yeah.

JH: …who I consider a friend. One of the best, if not the best, writers definitely on civil liberties, but on politics period. When it comes to domestic spending we have a lot of disagreements. But that’s ok because we agree on some important things that need to be talked about.

And that’s how you do it in politics. You build those coalitions. When Ron Paul gets up there with Barney Frank for marijuana legalization, I think that’s a wonderful thing. Does that mean Barney Frank’s great on everything? Hell no. He’s terrible on most things. When Senator Rand Paul gets together with Democratic Senator Ron Wyden about industrial hemp legalization, does that mean Ron Wyden should not be, you know, we should not cooperate with him because he believes in Obamacare and whatnot? No. I think that would be foolish.

It’s just…it’s a maturity thing that we’re going to have to learn.

[35:10] VSM: Well, I think also it still shows that we haven’t discerned who we’re really fighting against sometimes, you know, and what the methods of our enemies may be. And I hate to use the term ‘enemies,’ but I’m just saying that the people that we want to challenge politically…

JH: Enemies.

VSM: …have been doing this a very long time.

JH: I’ll use it. Enemies. That’s how I see them. I don’t mean it personal. I can talk to some of these people on a personal level. Talk about their families and things. I’m talking about politically. That’s, I see the neoconservatives as my enemies. I did when I was 20 and I do now 20 years later. Yeah. That’s exactly what we’re going to have to do.

The other mistake is to do what the Christian Right did. They got a little bit, they got their foot in the door where they might have some influence and power through the Moral Majority in the 80’s with the Christian Coalition. And then they totally became the Establishment apparatus. I mean, it basically became, “Democrats and liberals are bad and anything Republicans do is good.” You don’t want to become that. That’s an awful mistake. At the same time, you know, basically, when most of what we’re doing is fight within the Republican Party, Rand Paul and Justin Amash and Ron Paul, these guys are fighting against other Republicans as much as they are Democrats. Don’t give those other guys, you know, the benefit by not helping our guys and getting our guys support. I think it would be a big mistake.

[36:50] VSM: Yeah, you know Jim DeMint, Jim DeMint got quite a bad rap for trying to bring more folks into the Senate like himself and Rand Paul. Does that have anything to do with why he left, do you think?
JH: Well, you know, I did help him with the book, and I do know that he hates Washington D.C. Probably even more than we do because he has to be there every day. And I don’t think his family, particularly his wife, is fond of Washington D. C.

Senator DeMint, even when we disagree on issues, and we’ve discussed that before, he is 100% sincere. He’s doing, his fights are for all the right reasons, even if some of the votes we don’t agree with.  He’s changed a lot on those votes because he’s seen the light on a lot of issues thanks to people like Rand Paul and Mike Lee.

He, I think, feels a lot better leaving Washington D. C. because there are others to carry on that fight and it’s not just him anymore. I mean, here’s a guy when Medicare Plan D was being pushed through, and guys like Paul Ryan were urging everybody to get on board, who told Karl Rove and Dick Cheney and Bush straight to their face in the Oval Office that he wasn’t going to do it, and Karl Rove said, “Well, we understand you’ve got an election coming up down there. We might look at some primary challengers.” And Senator DeMint looked at Rove and said, “Well, I’m sorry to hear that, but I’ve got to do what’s right here, and have conservative principles. Y’all do what you need to do.”

You didn’t have a lot of that during the Bush years. It’s no surprise to me that he now is sort of a Tea Party Champion, constitutional conservative, that he’s sort of risen above what the Republicans in general have been doing.

VSM: I was listening to Judd Gregg call him ‘irrelevant’ and ‘not a factor.’

JH: [Laughter]

VSM: Yeah! Seriously!

JH: Karl Rove is irrelevant and a non-factor more than Jim DeMint at this point, but OK.

VSM: Right. Right. How much of a threat is this movement of ours to people in power in Washington D.C.?

[38:49] JH: See, that’s what excites me the most. When I see people mad that Justin Amash didn’t call himself an anarchist on some forum or something, I’m actually looking at…I think of how flippantly…I’m just amazed at sometime the level of vitriol toward our own people about nothing. I’m excited by seeing some of the neocons who’ve sort of dismissed us and our movement and Ron Paul starting to get frightened. I will go to particular websites and see them calling Rand Paul ‘anti- Israel.’ And, you know, “He’s a real threat because we could marginalize his dad because he was crazy, but some people like this isolationist Rand Paul guy.” You see this all the time from the neoconservatives. I’m not talking about the guys who you might see on Fox News all the time who’ve been playing nice so far. I’m talking about maybe some of the intellectuals behind that, and some of the people, used to be AEI and the Project for New American Century. When they’re getting scared I know we’re winning. I’ve never seen them more frightened in my life. And I’m speaking as somebody who was a Pat Buchanan supporter in ’96 and 2000, and [Buchanan] talked about the neocons openly, and hated the neocons. I have not seen them this frightened or worried about their own position of influence in my lifetime. It thrills me to no end and I want to keep going and I want to stick the knife in and keep turning it.

[40:09] VSM: What do you think about Republican Pundits like Erick Erickson, blogger Erick Erickson, who has finally – and we’ll talk about FreedomWorks, too, if you want to, and a couple of other groups, The American Majority and a few other folks – that actually are condemning people in Republican leadership now for their stances on this budget deal?

[40:36] JH: I think it’s absolutely great. Erick Erickson, I’ve disagreed with him a lot. I was actually offended by many of the things he said about Ron Paul. He’ll lavish praises upon Rand Paul. A lot of this is identity. Rand can say what his father says just in different ways and Republicans say, “Oh, yeah. That’s great!” And Ron’ll say it his way and they’ll say, “Oh, we don’t know about that.”  I would say maybe [Erickson has] been guilty of that sometimes. But to the degree he’s willing to help our ideas and our movement, welcome aboard.

A group like FreedomWorks I think is absolutely wonderful in the sense that you’ve had all these hack GOP Washington establishment groups around for forever that are supposed to be the think tanks, or activists groups supposed to be doing conservative stuff, and all they do is just defend the Republican Establishment. FreedomWorks, on the other hand, actively challenges establishment Republicans at the congressional and state levels, excuse me, senatorial level, and other levels, and puts in anti-establishment candidates [like] Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz.  That’s what they do on a regular basis. They’re all about spending and the debt. And when they’re asked about issues of importance to us like, well, they’re actually very good on civil liberties, foreign commitment, they’re anti Patriot Act and whatnot. But even on foreign policy, when they’re asked.

There was a great interview by the Daily Caller’s Jamie Weinstein, who’s very neoconservative, and he asked FreedomWork’s Matt Kibbe, [Weinstein] said, “Well, you have two trends in the Republican Party in the Senate right now. You’ve got Senator Rand Paul and you’ve got Senator Marco Rubio. One is for a very robust national defense,” is how he put it, “and one is more isolationist,” which is what they call Rand Paul, and that’s absurd. It’s not true. Matt Kibbe answered and he said, “Well, we don’t take an official stance on foreign policy. We’re about spending and the budget, but we think everything must be cut.”

Now, reading between the lines there, if we’re going to cut everything, you’re automatically agreeing with Rand Paul. People on the neoconservative side, as you’ve seen, by saying we’re gutting the military, don’t want to cut a damn thing. They want to keep Pentagon spending just like it is.

A group like FreedomWorks, which is popular on talk radio and Fox News and in conservative grassroots, is about spending and the debt, has their trust. When it comes down to the wire, we’re looking at a Rand Paul budget or others who cut Pentagon spending and do what needs to be done. The neocons are upset FreedomWorks is going to be on our side. They’ve already been on our side with these budgets. Each and every time. So just because they’re not explicit about foreign policy doesn’t mean implicitly they’re not with us where it counts, when it matters consistently. I think it’s a beautiful thing within the Republican Party, within the conservative movement.

All this - I don’t need to remind you, Valerie, but we need to remember - all this comes from Ron Paul. None of this would’ve been possible without Ron, Dr. Paul. His example, running for President, and the movement we’ve built.

[43:18] VSM: Yeah, I agree with you on that, but I don’t know how soon they’ll give him credit for that. I would venture to guess that it’ll be a while before he’ll get the full credit he deserves for a lot of this, especially when the Tea Party Movement still wants to disassociate itself and its origins from Ron Paul. But a lot of that is OK with me right now because the Tea Party movement is not doing a good job at promoting itself, defending its positions right now. They are getting a black eye these days. A lot of people want to say that the 2012 presidential elections, and the House and Senate elections as well, were a repudiation of the policies of the Tea Party of 2010.

JH: Well, a couple of things there. Barry Goldwater didn’t get credit for his accomplishment until 1980, sixteen years later.  We’re only five years removed from when Ron Paul started running for President the first time as a Republican. I think in the coming years, I don’t know if it’s ten years, or, God forbid, when Dr. Paul’s no longer with us, I think history will look back on him as a major revolutionary figure in politics.

VSM: Yeah, I don’t want it to take that, though.

JH: I don’t either, but his accomplishment is there. It’s not going anywhere. And it could be bigger than what Goldwater accomplished in creating the modern conservative movement. I think it could be that big. That will remain to be seen.

As far as the Tea Party and what you mentioned, the original Tea Party was about spending and debt. I remember when Glenn Beck, who does some things I like and some things I don’t like, had that “Restoring Honor” Rally in Washington D.C. I wrote a column for The American Conservative and I was fearful that the Tea Party was going in a different and wrong direction. What I meant about that was, first of all, I don’t know what ‘restoring honor’ meant even to this day. But I have no problem with faith and values. I’m a Christian.

The beauty of the Tea Party Movement, any mass populist grassroots movement, is it has a singular focus. The [focus of the] anti-war movement in the 60’s was get out of Vietnam. [The Tea Party] was about spending and debt. To the degree that it became about many other different things, it loses steam, it loses focus, and it loses power. I think that’s what’s happened to the Tea Party Movement.
Now, there’s still that mass of people out there who will vote for candidates we like who are upset about spending and debt. Will they reemerge and do that again? I think they will. They haven’t gone anywhere. 

There are people that call themselves Tea Partiers that are all for all sorts of authoritarian nonsense, and pro-Patriot Act. Call themselves constitutionalists while hating the Fourth Amendment. Those contradictions have always been within the conservative movement. Our movement, the Liberty Movement, has been meant to address those, and target them, and take those head on.  That’s part of our job.

The Tea Party’s not this one singular thing that’s either all good or all bad.  It’s a mixture. And I still think it tends to be more good than bad and will be useful for our efforts moving forward.

[46:27] VSM: Yeah, sometimes it’s hard being on the fringe of the Republican Party. That’s where I consider myself right now. Because mostly what I’m doing is trying to hold my own party, the party I’ve been a member of – we don’t have to sign membership forms or anything – but the party I’ve been a member of for twenty years, I’m just trying to hold it accountable. That’s been less and less welcome in the five years that I’ve been extremely active. So I wonder about what’s next for us. How do we get people that think like you and I to win, to get them into office. How do they win?

JH: Well, I think that’s going to happen more and more. Once again, this is all thanks to Ron Paul. I don’t say that, like, he just revolutionized what is possible in our politics now. And if he’d not come along, we wouldn’t be talking, I wouldn’t be talking to you right now. We both know that. It’s just a different world.

What can we do moving forward? There’s going to be other candidates like Thomas Massie or Kerry Bentivolio in Michigan who are both Ron Paul guys. Justin Amash has been there. Senator Rand Paul. There will be others in two years. There will be others four years after that. People who are already up there on Capitol Hill who might have, in a closeted way, believed in some of these things, but had no Republican backup will now be more inclined to do it because they do. Raul Labrador, a Congressman, is one who immediately comes to mind who’s really good on a lot of those issues now,[who] feels a lot more comfortable that he has people like Justin Amash to back him up.

That’s the narrative we need to keep pushing. And not just in Washington D. C., but at the state level, the local level. I know there’s Ron Paul people running for local councils and for state house seats. All that, at every level, taking over the GOP apparatus, as Ron Paul’s presidential campaign has allowed us to do to a large degree, much to the chagrin of people in places like Iowa. That’s what we need to keep doing moving forward. Being politically realistic while still keeping our principles, and jealously so. That’s how we win. 
That’s how we’ve won thus far.

There’s going to be many different ways of doing that. There’s going to be many people with many different talents. And it’s not even a question – you mentioned earlier about anarchists and minarchists – we need radicals. They need to keep our feet to the fire. All that needs to be there. My only plea, I guess, is that different people with different talents don’t hurt each other working towards the same effort. If there’s practical, pragmatic people, let them do their thing. If there’s radical people that don’t want so much to do with that, let them do their thing, and just don’t hurt each other. And help each other where you can. That’s the way you do it.

When Barry Goldwater was running he had Carl Hess, [Hess] was one of his speechwriters. He actually wrote the line, “Extremism in defense of Liberty is no vice.” Carl Hess was an anarchist at various points in his life. He was a pretty radical guy.

When William F. Buckley founded National Review one of his mentors was a guy named Albert Jay Nock, which many libertarians might know. He was an anarchist. About as radical as you can get. There’s always been radicals within the conservative movement, even at the highest levels. Look at Judge Andrew Napolitano. That’s a pretty radically libertarian dude. He’s on Fox News. Murray Rothbard, who’s a hero to me and many libertarians, one of the most practical radicals I’ve ever encountered, or, you know, studied, in my entire lifetime.

It’s not a question about everybody has to be pragmatic. You wouldn’t want that. Or everybody has to be radical. You certainly wouldn’t want that. It’s everybody doing what interests them. As Dr. Paul says, having fun. What they like to do. Their passion. We can work together in conjunction as much as we can without hurting each other, without harming the larger movement. And that’s how we win.

I know that’s a little vague sometimes, but that’s exactly how we’re going to be able to do it. And that’s how we’re already doing it.

[50:20] VSM: Yeah, I’m often, this is funny, because when I tell people, “Yeah, I’m going to have Jack Hunter on the show,” I know you see it [on facebook], and they’ll be like, “Well, Jack Hunter’s an operative,” and I’m not really sure…

JH: What does that mean? Operative of what?

VSM: I think what they say is that you don’t ‘jealously guard our interests’ well enough.

JH: You know it’s funny. I’ve heard that before. I’m somebody who basically subscribes to Austrian economics, wants to end the Fed. I make no bones about the fact that foreign policy has always been my main thing. I just really, really don’t like the neocons and what they’ve done to my country. I really don’t like that at all. That’s always been a focus. But before I got in this movement, before Ron ran for president, Dr. Paul, I was a news junkie. I would scour the news looking for any sliver of anything going on that might be useful or helpful to the principles I believed in, which is basically Old Right, Robert Taft conservatism, Republicanism that Dr. Paul has mentioned in his speeches so many times, and there was hardly anything.

Well, now we’re at a point where there’s lots of things. I’m out there promoting them and defending them and whatnot. I really talk the way I always have. I’ve had the same interests I’ve always had.  But maybe because I don’t talk in a pure Libertarian language, or maybe talk about anarchy or something, which, that’s never been where I’m coming from to begin with, people assume things. Or think things that aren’t true. I don’t really know what to tell them.

I think it’s funny.  At this point I don’t really get offended by it, I just think it’s kind of silly and funny that, just knowing where I come from, how much the establishment types, whether in my home state of South Carolina or whatnot, really despise me, consider me a pain their ass. The idea that I’m them is pretty funny. And if it’s indicative of our success, then so be it. That would be great.

I want the Liberty Movement to be the Republican Establishment. We call the shots. What we think is a good idea is Republican orthodoxy. I think that’d be great. You can stamp an elephant on my forehead at that point.

[52:20] VSM: I’m pretty certain, Jack, that you’re going to be called an operative if you make any money supporting the Liberty Movement. I think that’s the criteria. If you make a living…

JH: If you earn a living?

VSM: Yes. If you earn a living…

JH: So is Ron Paul an operative?  Is my friend Tom Woods an operative?

VSM:  That’s the dividing line there. It’s really about if you are doing this and you’re actually getting paid by something, somewhere, somebody, then surely you’ve sold out somehow. Just like we talked about in the music, you know, the alternative…

JH: Right. Huh. I think it’s people maybe not getting, people who are taking advantage of what we built. I would certainly agree with that. Just normal people making money…

VSM: Well, there may be one or two that know how to do that. I think most people within this movement, and there are, like I said, one or two charlatans in the movement that are doing it strictly for profit motive, but I just, almost nobody does this for money, because there’s really not much money in it. If there’s any money, I don’t know. I mean, I’m not getting paid any right now, but I’m just saying if there is money in it it’s not like we’re getting fat off of anybody, I don’t think…

JH: [Laughter] No. No.

VSM: People who have figured out a way to do that. That’s the market, you know?

JH: If I wanted to make a lot of money I wouldn’t be in the Liberty Movement. I’d go be a neocon. I could’ve done that a long time ago.

VSM: Yeah, sure. With one of those PACs, super PAC…

JH: Look at all these hacks. They have these young hack writers that are absolutely stupid. Can’t piece two thoughts together. They carry water for these guys and they make them stars. We see it all the time. I’ve mentioned a couple of them on this call. That would be the easy route, but I couldn’t live with myself.  I might as well not go on because this movement and these ideas are my life.

My personal happiness, family, and friends is the most important thing and why we should care about any of this. But in my professional life, pushing these ideas forward in a bigger and better way than I ever thought possible, thanks to Ron Paul, and to hold it together the best we can. The beauty of this movement is that it’s so hard to hold together in the sense that everybody, I mean, a movement full of radical individuals are going to be radical individuals, and political success also requires working together. As a good friend of mine who’s worked for Dr. Paul for a long time said - you know, they say herding libertarians, getting libertarians together is like herding cats -  and he said, “No. It’s much worse because a cat won’t turn around to you and say he’s a sovereign individual.”


But, that said, look at how far we’ve come. We’ve got a lot farther to go. And to the degree that people can think about the big picture, the ideals that we share and the enemies that we share, that we can defeat and are already making nervous, we can really do some really great things. It should never be about the individuals, the personalities involved.

I care about this movement way more than I care about me or my name or what people think of me. I do what my gut and my heart tells me is right every time and if people don’t like…I let them say what they like, I bite my tongue. If I ever do say something, and I’m not perfect, sometimes I’ve regretted some of the things 
I’ve said, it’s always, even when I attack, it’s always for the benefit of the movement and what I think is best for the movement period.

[55:57] VSM: I want to ask one quick question before we have to go here, and it’s not Liberty Movement related.

Well, it is.

You know, what happened in Newtown, Connecticut, on Friday was a terrible, terrible thing. But I wanted to remind folks that back in 2011 Ron Paul had introduced a bill…

JH: Gun Free school zones. Get rid of it.

VSM: Exactly. Yes, to get rid of gun free school zones. Why do you think people just so misunderstand that premise?

JH: Gun control advocates, liberals, it’s like a religion to them. It’s not about common sense. It’s not about basic logic. It’s not about empirical evidence. I mean, common sense tells you that the only thing that could’ve stopped that shooter is somebody else with a gun. That’s what happened to Alabama. We also need to remember that the chance of people’s school children being under assault by a mad, crazed gunman is still very, very small. You probably have more chance of drowning in the bathtub tomorrow or something happening.

It’s an emotional issue, and liberals, “Oh, if we get rid of guns…” That’s like saying if we get rid of knives Jack the Ripper would’ve not existed. It’s just stupid. But it is emotional, it’s almost a religion-type position for them to hold, and they’ve held it for so long you can’t talk them out of it. What do you do with that? We keep making our arguments and they’ll keep making theirs.

[57:19] VSM: Yeah, but when their argument starts turning into a national gun control law that’s a serious, you know…are we saying that the Second Amendment is irrelevant then? I am always confused by people who don’t understand what it means when the Constitution says it “shall not be infringed.” We still have lots of laws on the books…

JH: Well, look, Republicans and Democrats hold up the Amendments they like and ignore the ones they don’t. Republicans historically, at least the last ten years, hated the Fourth Amendment and in some instances the First Amendment. Democrats have certainly hated the Second Amendment. They’re all hypocrites. And that’s the purpose of our, one of the purposes of our movement, to be constitutionally comprehensive.

As far as them passing national legislation, yes, that’s the fear. That’s why we’re here. We have to fight against it tooth and nail. I do think when tragedies like this happen, that we do ourselves a favor by being decent people, showing respect to families and the victims by not immediately going for the political jugular. Let the liberals look stupid and do that for a day or two, and then we’ll wait and that argument will be had.
I think we always do well to ask ourselves, and I’m not trying to be weird here, what would Ron Paul do in this instance. I think that’s a pretty good example to follow.

[58:41] VSM: I agree. So what’s next for you, Jack Hunter? Where are you going? What are you doing?

JH: Oh, I’m going wherever this movement is going. This movement is my life and we’ve got people to champion, we’ve got ideas to push forward, and we’ve got enemies to piss off and keep attacking. And I plan on keeping…doing that. This is the rest of my life. You’re looking at it right here.

If we go down in flames, I guess I’ll have to go do something else, flip burgers like I did once or something. That’s fine. That’s dandy. But I sure would like to see this thing take hold and us keep changing American politics, and for Ron Paul to look back on his own legacy and say, “Look what I’ve done. Look what I’ve accomplished.” He can already do that. Let’s make it bigger and better, not only for his satisfaction, but for the sake of us and future generations. That’s not some stupid Republican campaign rhetoric. That’s serious. 

We are really screwed if this doesn’t continue to take hold and we don’t continue to make progress with these ideas.

VSM: I feel certain that we will succeed, but I know that a lot of us get weary and feel like sometimes we have some…especially with the election and things like that. It’s hard to understand it and make sense of it all. Well, not really. I mean, we knew what was going to happen with the nominee we got on the Republican side, so anyway.

It’s frustrating when you feel like you’re saying the same things over and over again. I try to remind myself that we really are reaching new people every day and we can’t grow tired.

JH: And just so you said that, saying these things over and over that sound like old things to us are brand new to many ears. That we’ve been saying for five years or longer, especially grassroots conservatives, are like, “Hmm. I never thought of that, but I guess the Fourth Amendment is important,” that’s new to them. It’s old to us, but we just keep repeating it. We’ve got to drive it home. I think repetition’s a good thing.

[1:00:27] VSM: I agree. So where can folks find you online?

JH: SouthernAvenger.com. You can find everything I do right there.

VSM: All right, Jack Hunter. Thank you so much for spending so much time with me today.

JH: Thank you, Valerie. And I just want to say I do know it’s your last show today. And it’s because of programs like yours, which is an absolutely fantastic show, that this movement is what it is. You’re one part of a much greater whole. And if it wasn’t for people like you we wouldn’t be anywhere either. So I hope this isn’t the last we hear of you, Valerie.

VSM: I’m sure it won’t be. I appreciate that very much, Jack. Hey, and I’m sorry that I didn’t get to meet you personally when we were in Tampa. I saw you a couple of times, but the time I wanted to talk to you Ann Coulter was bending your ear…

JH: [Laughter] That’s funny.

VSM: …at a billionaire’s house. We were at Peter Thiel’s house at a party there.

JH: That’s right.

You know, I was actually mad that day. Justin Amash was there and she was, and she didn’t know who he was. And I walked out of there kind of angry. In my mind Ann Coulter, she knows who the hell Justin Amash is. And we’ve been talking about that the last hour. That’s exactly what I’m talking about, Valerie. He should be on her radar screen.

VSM: I agree. I agree. But we will eventually run into each other I’m sure. I thank you for what you do, and hopefully we can do something like this, if it’s not this radio show, something else similar in the future.

JH: Absolutely. Take care, Valerie. Hope to talk to you soon.

VSM: Thanks, Jack.

All right that’s Jack Hunter, Everyone. SouthernAvenger.com. Hope everybody will go check his work out. He is a class act. He’s a pro. I know where people’s disappointments lie, but I think that what he’s doing is bigger than that. And you’ve got to hold him accountable, sure, let’s do that. But let’s also give kudos where they’re due. And Jack’s worked really hard, and he deserves at least our respect on that front. I totally…he has my respect.

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