Rothbard had tremendous influence on Lew Rockwell, and the whole slice of the libertarian movement that adored Ron Paul.
But Rothbard and Rockwell never stuck with their alliances with angry white men on the far right. They have been willing to shift alliances from left to right and back again. Before this "outreach" to racists, Rothbard aligned himself with anti-Vietnam war protesters in the 1960s. In the 2000s, after the "outreach" had failed, Rockwell complained bitterly about "Red-State fascists" who supported George Bush and his war. So much for the "Rednecks." The antigovernment theories stay the same, the political strategy shifts in odd and extreme directions.
As crazy as it sounds, Ron Paul's newsletter writers may not have been sincerely racist at all. They actually thought that appearing to be racist was a good political strategy in the 1990s. After that strategy yielded almost nothing -- Paul's admirers abandoned it.
You can attribute their "redneck strategy" to the most malignant kind of cynicism or to a political desperation that made them insane. Neither is particularly flattering. Phil Klein of the Washington Examiner is correct when he writes:
Rick Perry and Mitt Romney have both attacked each other for what was written in their respective books. If either of those books had included a number of overtly racist statements, their candidacies would be over before they started.
This is undoubtedly true. The media seems to simply accept that Ron Paul has some oddities in his past and in his inner circle. They take his grandfatherly demeanor at face-value. In part this is because they believe he is not a serious candidate.
Winning the Iowa caucuses would change all that instantly. Undoubtedly the movement that Paul inspired has moved far beyond the race-baiting it engaged in two decades ago. Young people from college campuses aren't lining up to hear him speak because of what appeared in those newsletter about the 1992 L.A. riots. Rand Paul tried his hardest to place Paul-style libertarianism into the context of the tea party. And he will likely carry on the movement without this 1990s baggage.
But the questions remain. If Ron Paul is so libertarian that he won't even police people who use his name, if his movement is filled with incompetents and opportunists, then what kind of a president would he make? Would he even check in to see if his ideas are being implemented? Who would he appoint to Cabinet positions?
These are all legitimate questions. And the media is going to start asking them now. If there isn't already a "ceiling" on Ron Paul's support, widespread knowledge of the newsletters could build one quickly.