It’s seems like just a few days ago, Rand Paul was defending his new media director Jack Hunter, a former Charleston City Paper columnist, and, well, it should, because it was.

But today, Paul is no longer standing by his neo-Confederate cohort. In fact, the pair have parted ways — Jack Hunter has resigned — ending a fruitful partnership that helped guide Sen. Paul to Washington, D.C.  

A long-time Paul family acolyte, Jack Hunter co-wrote Rand’s 2011 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington, and throughout the 2012 presidential campaign served as Ron Paul’s official campaign blogger. In Hunter’s final months as a City Paper columnist, he wrote nearly exclusively about many of the topics that were at the heart of the family’s liberty movement platform. Sometimes, in fact, it was hard to tell where the Paul family philosophy began and Jack Hunter’s ended.

Which is why it’s particularly disheartening to see Rand Paul refuse to answer a reporter’s question today about whether his staff vetted Jack Hunter. Why? Jack Hunter didn’t need to be vetted. The Pauls knew Jack Hunter and Jack Hunter knew them. Hell, Hunter once even said that Ron Paul revolutionized his love life.

Which is why I seriously doubt they didn’t know about Jack’s past as a member of the neo-Confederate, pro-secessionist League of the South or his politically disastrous views on Abraham Lincoln, the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings, and John McCain (a man Jack once called a “terrorist” in one of Hunter’s numerous apples-to-oranges arguments. That column was written well after Hunter and Rand’s Tea Party book was released).

Of course, we all know why Rand Paul refused to answer the question. He knew exactly who Jack Hunter was before he hired him. There’s no doubt Sen. Paul knew exactly the message he was sending to the red-shirt wearing neo-Confederates and racists when he hired Jack Hunter: I’m on your side. Whether that was done because Paul shares a similar philosophy as the neo-Confederates, pro-secessionists, and white supremacists or simply because the Kentucky senator wants their votes remains to be seen. Truth be told, it could be both.

And this is precisely why Rand Paul may be the most dangerous man in American politics today.