The Republican takeover of the House put a chairman's gavel in the hands of Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, the gadfly GOP presidential candidate with a cult following. On Wednesday, he used that gavel for the first time - to remarkable effect.
The hearing itself was lively - based on Paul's desire to abolish the Federal Reserve and bring back the gold standard - but what really stood out was Chairman Paul's leadoff witness: a Southern secessionist.
The "short bio" the witness provided with his testimony omitted salient pieces of his resume, including his 2006 book, "Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed to Know About Dishonest Abe." But the subcommittee's ranking Democrat, William Lacy Clay (Mo.) did some homework and learned more about the witness, Thomas DiLorenzo of Loyola University Maryland.
DiLorenzo, the congressman told the committee, had called Lincoln "the first dictator" and a "mass murderer" and decreed that "Hitler was a Lincolnite." Worse, Clay charged, "you worked for a Southern nationalist organization." "The League of the South is a neo-Confederate group that advocates for a second southern secession and a society dominated by European Americans."
At the witness table, DiLorenzo scoffed and waved his hand dismissively at Clay. But neither he nor Paul attempted to refute Clay's allegations.
Approached after the hearing, the witness said: "I gave a couple of a lectures to a group of college students 15 years ago that are associated with this thing called League of the South." MORE