The Gentlemen from Kentucky: Inside the Partnership of Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell

The symbiotic relationship between Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul is a key to both senators' political futures.

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Ed Reinke / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Republican Sen. Rand Paul, right, greets Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at the beginning of the State Fair ham breakfast Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011, in Louisville, KY.

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell was watching a basketball game on TV at around 10 p.m. on March 6 when he flipped the channel to C-Span for an update from the Senate floor. At 11:47 that morning, McConnell’s Kentucky compatriot, Republican Senator Rand Paul, had launched an old-school filibuster to protest Barack Obama‘s nomination of counterterrorism official John Brennan as CIA chief. The soliloquy exploded across cable news and ricocheted around the echo chamber of Twitter. But 10 hours of holding forth had taken its toll, and now Paul was flagging. So McConnell slipped on a suit and headed back to the Capitol, where he took a turn spelling his junior colleague and praising Paul for “his tenacity and for his conviction.”

By the time Paul finally ceded the floor after midnight, he had become the Republican Party’s man of the moment. Libertarians lit up message boards with praise, heralding his principled stand. GOP message mavens marveled at his ability to wring every drop of publicity out of the event. Pundits began mentioning Paul’s name as a top-tier presidential candidate. Ten days later he won the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference. It took 13 hours of rhetoric on behalf of a doomed cause (Brennan was confirmed in a bipartisan vote hours later) to cement Paul’s transformation from Tea Party bomb-thrower to ascendant force within the party.

(MORE: Rand Paul Embraces Immigration Reform)

When he burst onto the political scene three years ago, few people expected Paul to become a savvy practitioner of the inside game. But since entering the Senate, he has soaked up the ways of Washington, learning to leverage Senate procedure and to channel ideas into influence. Behind the scenes, one of the key figures in his heady climb has been McConnell, the master tactician who tried to kill Paul’s political career before it began. Their improbable partnership has become one of the most important within the Republican Party, providing Paul the seasoning and connections he needs to broaden his coalition and offering McConnell political cover with conservatives vying to oust him in a 2014 primary.

The partnership got off to a bruising start. Back in 2010, the two men were on opposite sides of the GOP primary to replace outgoing Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning, whom McConnell had nudged into retirement. Paul was an unknown ophthalmologist from sleepy Bowling Green, lobbing bombs at his own party from under the Tea Party banner. His opponent was Trey Grayson, Kentucky’s sitting secretary of state. McConnell, like nearly every other member of Kentucky’s Republican establishment, endorsed Grayson. But local cachet proved no match for a Tea Party movement that had rumbled to life and adopted Paul as a national leader. He won going away.

By then McConnell had realized his mistake. “Mitch recognized early on, probably before the vast majority of people in this town, that Rand Paul had tapped into something,” says one senior Paul adviser. On the heels of the nasty primary, McConnell corralled Paul, Grayson, and every elected member of the Kentucky delegation for a “unity rally” at the state capitol in Frankfort. He dispatched key aides to provide guidance and beef up Paul’s campaign infrastructure during the rocky period that followed Paul’s disastrous interview with talk-show host Rachel Maddow. The two camps patched up their frayed ties. Meanwhile, Paul and McConnell began nurturing a relationship that has since paid off for both men.

On the surface, the two are an improbable pair: the libertarian political neophyte and the canny cloakroom operator. Paul, 50, earned his seat by railing against the apostasies of Washington stalwarts like McConnell, 71. “You’ve got one who obviously needs to keep the trains running on time, and the other whose identity in large part is to make sure the trains don’t run,” says a senior Republican Senate aide.

(WATCH: Mitch McConnell’s Campaign Office Made a ‘Harlem Shake’ Video)

But each offers the other important benefits. “I see two people who kind of need one another,” says Grayson, who is now the director of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. For Paul, McConnell is a valuable sherpa, steeping him in the Senate’s peculiar rituals, helping him navigate a fractious caucus and teaching him to make his stands without alienating colleagues. With the chamber controlled by Democrats, Republicans are allowed a limited number of amendments on legislation. McConnell grants Paul his fair share or more, which in turn leads to earned media and exposure and the chance to score political points. For a political rookie with presidential ambitions, Paul’s ability to win McConnell’s imprimatur is a crucial step to convincing the GOP establishment that he is more than a wild-eyed radical. “Having the Republican leader, who openly fought you in your primary bid, now showing he can work with you is an important step,” says Grayson.

On the other side of the ledger, Paul’s support helps shore up McConnell’s credentials ahead of what could be a difficult re-election campaign in 2014. For all his swat in the Senate, McConnell is on shaky footing in his home state; one survey, taken in December by the liberal firm Public Policy Polling, put his approval rating at just 37%. His relationship with Kentucky Tea Party groups has been uneven. David Adams, the Kentucky strategist who managed Paul’s 2010 campaign, is working to recruit a conservative to challenge McConnell from the right in next year’s Senate primary, with attacks cribbed from Paul’s old playbook. “A lot of blood will pour out as we peel that scab off,” Adams says. Paul’s support for McConnell, and his willingness to explain to the Tea Party why McConnell’s leadership position requires him at times to stray from pure conservative doctrine, is a valuable asset to the five-term senator.

To Adams, the alliance between Paul and McConnell smacks of political opportunism. “Mitch’s approach to ingratiating himself toward Rand and the liberty movement goes beyond the usual amount of political brazenness,” he says. As for Paul, “he’s in a bit of a box in terms of the grassroots effort to throw Mitch out on his ear.”

Allies of both senators stress the mutual respect between the two men, and by all accounts their working relationship is thriving. McConnell is a “mentor” of sorts, says one senior Paul aide.  The two sit together at caucus lunches. Their staffs swap multiple emails a day. Their wives are friends. They have worked together on issues ranging from industrial hemp to national right-to-work legislation to the fate of a gaseous diffusion plant in Paducah, Kentucky.

(MORE: Rand Paul Steals Show From Marco Rubio at CPAC)

From a political perspective, it is also a classic symbiotic partnership in a town where all relationships are in some way transactional. “It’s a pragmatic relationship, and it’s also a personal relationship. The two are inseparable from each other,” says Jesse Benton, a strategist who worked for both Rand and Ron Paul before McConnell tapped him to manage his re-election campaign.

It was Benton who served as the conduit when Paul sought McConnell’s approval to launch his filibuster. About two weeks before taking the floor, he broached the subject with Benton — who is married to Paul’s niece — during dinner at Paul’s home in Bowling Green. Benton conveyed the idea. The two staffs stayed in communication, and McConnell gave the green light. His approval gave Paul “a lot of cover,” Benton says. “Rand made sure this wasn’t just coming out of left field, and that made it a lot easier for allies all over the Republican spectrum to ride in and support him.”

It was, in other words, the kind of savvy gambit few would have expected of a man whose father was famous for ignoring the inside game of politics. Suddenly Paul was no longer just a Tea Party sensation. The hashtag #standwithrand began trending on Twitter. Politico anointed him “one of the two most potent forces in GOP politics today.” As for McConnell, he capitalized on Paul’s newfound publicity in his own clever way. Within days, he was fundraising off his colleague’s filibuster, urging supporters to “stand with Rand and Mitch.”

48 comments
georgie
georgie

I just don't understand how the people of Kentucky elected these two idiots.  Doesn't say much for Kentucky.

WahsUpDoc
WahsUpDoc

Here's what Mitch McConnell has done for us over the past 30+ years:

He's anti-public education...

He voted AGAINST extending low interest rates for student loans.

 He's anti-civil rights, He thinks it's okay to eavesdrop on Americans without a warrant, and he's an advocate of CIA's torture program,

He voted AGAINST prohibiting indefinite detention of American citizens; seems he thinks some American citizens don't deserve 'due process' and equal protections under the law as outlined in our US Constitution.

He voted AGAINST preserving rights for people with disabilities.

He voted AGAINST Violence Against Women Act.

He voted AGAINST Paycheck Fairness; seems he thinks women don't deserve to earn the same as men in the workplace doing the same job.

He thinks some people don't deserve the same protections and benefits under the law because of who they love!!

He's voted to secure the individual's right to burn the American flag but doesn't think women should have the individual right to make choices about their own reproductive health. "Freedom for me but not for thee." philosophy

He consistently votes AGAINST funding that keeps our children from being food insecure.

He' anti-American worker, thinks corporations should be rewarded for moving American jobs overseas.

He's pro-incarceration, against rehabilitation..wants to privatize prisons.

He's AGAINST comprehensive immigration reform, doesn't think Guest Workers should have a path to citizenship but votes to allow more foreign workers into the US for farm work.

He OPPOSES separation of church-state .. I thought this was one reason we broke from England??!?

He voted to deregulate the telecom industry and favors corporate media monopolies.

He OPPOSES progressive taxation; favors a 2-class system.

He voted AGAINST middleclass tax cuts.

He wants to privatize Social Security.

He favors tort reform even though medical mistakes is one of the leading causes of death in this county just behind heart disease and cancer.

He voted AGAINST export of cheaper FDAapproved drugs from Canada.

He voted with big pharma to delay lifesaving brand name drugs from going generic.

He OPPOSES negotiating bulk purchases for Medicare prescription drug program.

He consistently votes AGAINST labeling food that contains genetically modified organisms. Don't we have the right to know what's in our food particularly when recent studies have revealed GMO foods are causing health problems ?!?

His voting record actually demonstrates his opposition to energy independence,

He's AGAINST renewable energy and AGAINST energy conservation.

He's anti-environment,

anti-animal welfare,

anti-public health, anti-seniors, anti-women, anti-minorities !!!

He voted AGAINST Disclose Act; thinks Democracy works better when campaign donors don't have to disclose limitless amounts of money they contribute to politicians like himself.

Bonus.. McConnell FLIP-FLOPS on a GOP wedge issue, GUN CONTROL:

McConnell has supported several gun control measures put forth by Democrats back in the 1990's.. Crime Bill, national waiting period for handgun purchases, federal ban on semi-automatic firearms, Trigger Lock Amendment...BUT now,

shortly after the Newtown massacre....

Team Mitch got busy emailing gun-rights supporters telling them they were “literally surrounded” by those who want to take their guns away...AND

Team Mitch also launched a robo call campaign calling Kentucky voters warning "law-abiding Kentuckians" that "President Obama and his team are doing everything in their power to restrict your constitutional right to keep and bear arms."

He continues to obstruct efforts in the Congress to expedite economic recovery unless there's an earmark in it for a lobbyist or campaign donor.

It's ironic that just weeks after threatening to force the U.S. Treasury to default on its debts, Congressional Republicans led by our own Senator Mitch McConnell endorses a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. McConnell, railing about debt and deficits when he is the earmark King... sponsoring or co-sponsoring hundreds of millions of dollars each year in earmarks.. some of these millions he sponsors doesn't even go to KY..they go to NY, Utah, Alabama, TX !!! HOPE vs NOPE.. game on… GO ASHLEY JUDD!!!

WahsUpDoc
WahsUpDoc

Let's not forget Sen. Paul has stated that the sequester won't affect anyone... ironically, here in Sen. Paul's backyard, Paducah, KY & Owensboro, KY airport towers are scheduled to close due to the sequester unless he or others like him do something about it.

motherAlston
motherAlston

@michaelscherer They R both NUTS, TheY both hate PBO, They both waste the TAX payers money on Filibuster a bill that will NT pass.Gentlemen?

mydads1st
mydads1st

Inclusion, feely-touchy and definitely morphing into their new set pattern. John McCain will continue to use the term, "illegal Immigrant," and Virginia's Bob McDonnell signed a more restrictive Voter ID restriction into law. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, both TEA-type radical extremes have vowed to filibuster the gun control bill coming to the Senate floor. Bigotry, prejudice and intolerance has seeped into the pores of every TEA-Republican in Congress since the severe thumping of both McCain and Romney by president Obama. Jealousy has reared it's ugly head. By all means let's pay attention to the words written and spoken by these Senators and Representatives who want to hold immigrants hostage over their status. Every Senator and Representative, no matter which party they call themselves by, will be noted in up-coming votes in Congress. The voting Hispanic/Latino bloc, voters of color and women will make their views clearly and decisively in known in 2014, 2016 and 2018. The 2014 Mid-term is a-coming! And then 2016, Hillary takes the reins! Get registered and V.O.T.E.(Vote Out The Encumberances)

jmac
jmac

Where's Libertarian Rand Paul on Prop 8?  The pro-prop 8 lawyer  said  "the voters’ decision not only represented the will of the people, but furthered a legitimate governmental interest because it promoted procreation — a process that is biologically impossible for same-sex couples."

Since when does government get to tell us to procreate?  

PerryWhite1
PerryWhite1

The turtle and the hare? The political cartoons practically draw themselves!

jmac
jmac

Bruni's article (today's NY Times op) hits the nail on the head - McConnell is afraid of being "primaried".   He's more afraid of another Tea Nut knocking him off than he is of Ashley Judd.  Just as Texas' Cornyn has bellied up to Cruz.  

Good.  Let them run scared and right.    Maybe McConnell can hold on - and then be general - ed.  

patsyhaggerty
patsyhaggerty

%s %s %s Two weird, little men. What's in the water in Kentucky? and What's in the air in DC?

ZacPetit
ZacPetit

I'm glad that Rand is learning to play the game a bit. Dr. Paul's biggest failing was that he never created enough internal support to match the near-ridiculous grassroots support, which he has shown cannot win you the nomination alone.

I would prefer that Rand pick a better buddy than Mitch, but there is a good chance that will happen in 2014 anyway.

roknsteve
roknsteve

They exciting adventures of Turtle Man and Goony.  Watch them flag, filibuster, block, counter, doom, bomb, break and fray any positive action in the Congress.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

Gentlemen?  That's not quite the word I'd use to describe those two. They certainly don't act like gentlemen.

notsacredh
notsacredh

"From a political perspective, it is also a classic symbiotic partnership in a town where all relationships are in some way transactional."

What a novel way of saying "a marriage made in hell". 

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

Alex, thanks for your post and good insights. These two may need to cooperate and commiserate amidst falling GOP support. We'll need to see who challenges McConnell next year: Tea Party candidate in primary, and of course the D candidate in Nov. (I hope it's Ashley Judd; any other local no-name likely won't have the cachet to raise funds and attract votes, except for Gov. Beshear). 


But there is one minor error to fix...

On the surface, the two are an improbable pair: the libertarian political neophyte and the canny cloakroom operator.

Rand Paul is NOT a libertarian (lower or upper case). Nor is his dad. Libertarians are supposed to respect individual rights, and that includes abortion issues and other personal matters - the govt. is supposed to stay out of people's bodies and private lives. Rand does not support that. I've seen drive-by comments here now and then that try to weasel out saying "libertarians" leave these to the states ...but of course, this means RED states then intrude in personal matters, and thus the faux libertarians like Rand are enabling policies that violate true libertarians' stands. You're welcome.

bobell
bobell

Good Article, Alex, and kinda scary.  There's obviously a real synergy between McConnell and Paul.  I fear that the result is likely to be reinforcement of the worst tendencies of both.

Now playing: Mahler's Symphony No. 10, the revised Cooke version

drudown
drudown

@WahsUpDoc 

Reduced to its essence, when GOP puff pieces spin yarn about these corrupted officials being "principled", that is Washington-speak for "willing to sell out the People's interests" in order to appease Soft Money campaign contributors. 

DeborahRobinet
DeborahRobinet

@WahsUpDoc 

How about the government start by getting rid of the waste and abuse first.  Notice how no one ever brings that up, but we all know how they are.  It's time to hold them accountable for all their failures.  That's something everyone can get behind.

drudown
drudown

@WahsUpDoc 

What I find hardest to reconcile is that, despite the Libertarian view on austere spending cuts across the board for existing, tax-paying Americans....Rand Paul and his Big Business cronies are now pushing to "naturalize" 20,000,000 new recipients for the very entitlements they purport to loathe? Hmmm. 

Looks like the prospect of duping the newly created voting bloc is better than what the GOP has now, eh?

DeborahRobinet
DeborahRobinet

@jmac Why should the gov't be involved in marriage at all?  That isn't their role.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@jmac  It doesn't. Heteros are free to marry and remain childless, if they so choose. Marriage for the purpose of procreation only applies to teh gays.

jmac
jmac

@ZacPetit Dr. Paul's biggest failing is that he is a wing nut who cannot appeal to the general public.  His positions on the economy are mind-boggingly idiotic.  He's Glenn Beck.  

Laplarse
Laplarse

@bobell What a suprise! I like Glenn Greenwald's take on how the left is struggling to deal with Rand Paul:

"A large bulk of the Democratic and liberal commentariat -- led, as usual, by the highly-paid DNC spokesmen called "MSNBC hosts" and echoed, as usual, by various liberal blogs, which still amusingly fancy themselves as edgy and insurgent checks on political power rather than faithful servants to it -- degraded all of the weighty issues raised by this episode by processing it through their stunted, trivial prism of partisan loyalty. They thus dutifully devoted themselves to reading from the only script they know: Democrats Good, GOP Bad."

bobell
bobell

@deconstructiva Well said.  It's possible to agree with Sen. Paul about drones (as I do, more or less), and he was certainly clever in basing his filibuster on the liberal position on that issue.  But his views on economics and governance are so far from sensible as to be dangerous.

I suppose you could call Paul an "economic libertarian," in the sense that he wants to free us all from government control -- but the corollary is that he also wants to free us all from government protection and support as well.  As long as millions of people want government to butt out of their Medicare, he's going to get lots of votes.  History will judge us all on how far Paul is allowed to go.  Be very afraid.

mitkezob
mitkezob

 @bobelland it's going great right now? Healthcare costs expected to rise 65%? I'm afraid of what's going to happen before someone sensible who understands you can't borrow 120% of GDP sustainably is president. Eventually the wheels stop churning when you are printing 85 billion a month and forcing that money directly into the stock market. The liberal arguments I've been reading are horrendous. Don't get me wrong, republicans often make horrendous arguments too. How are we not in dangerous territory right now? Do you pay any attention to what is going on with our and the global economy? People are more concerned about whether or not Adam and Steve can get married. I hope to Buddha that they do allow it that way gay people can stop whining about it and crying for attention, and it is no longer a political issue for uninformed voters to make a decision off of.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@bobell Dear Glenn, if the script read more to your liking: "Democrats Bad, GOP Horrific," would it change the way people should vote?

The stunted, dyspeptic, prism of false equivalence isn't any smarter than what you criticize.

bobell
bobell

@Laplarse I agree with Rand Paul on some things, but from my other comments on this thread you can see that I am appalled by much of what he stands for.  As for Republicans overall, the party of Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul (not to mention Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle, Richard Mourdock ... and I could go on for quite a while) has much to answer for.  If the Dems seem to be using fairly extreme language in describing those folks, it's because they have been given much reason to do so.  Okay, sometimes they go overboard, and even a Republican occasionally has a good idea. But the party as a whole is in terrible shape, and the U.S. is suffering for it.

retiredvet
retiredvet

@bobell   I think the drone issue is a political sledge hammer aimed at the President. Obama didn't invent the drone tactics. Guess who did. He's under the gun now though for their continued use. My hope is he can somehow turn it around.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

@bobell  ...I agree. Apparently "libertarian conservatism" might be the latest catchphrase (per video), but this is dangerous territory for the rest of us.  

Laplarse
Laplarse

@jmac @Laplarse @bobell He doesn't appear to be a religious nut. He is, however. a politician, with a large percentage of his voters ticking that box.

Also, you can be a libertarian and follow a religion. Where is the dilemma there? What's impossible?

Laplarse
Laplarse

@PerryWhite1 @MrObvious @Laplarse @bobell That's extreme. An alarming number of people share this skewed view. Libertarianism is not Anarchism. It definitely advocates a smaller scope for government, but not the destruction of government.

In the US, if a Libertarian politician got into power the sky would not fall. There would be a focus on transferring some powers from the state back to the individual. There would still be a military, police force and justice system. A healthy national debate on which powers the government should surrender would take place.

The situation you describe is, at best misinformed, at worst fear-mongering. 

Sparrow55
Sparrow55

@Laplarse @bobell The GOP's predicament has been 30 years in the making.  The structural dysfunction the party currently has is not going to be undone before 2014, or even 2016.  The inflexible  base is too entrenched.  Attempts to re brand the party are just going to push the base further to the right.  Rather than becoming more attractive, the GOP is going to become smaller as it scares away some of it's establishment wing and what's left of it's moderates.  

PerryWhite1
PerryWhite1

@MrObvious @Laplarse @bobell Exactly. Libertarianism is only good for the wealthy, who can afford their own roads, their own police, etc. Under libertarianism, there would be virtually no commons -- no infrastructure, no functional military, nothing that requires a functioning society. The life of the poor would be ghastly. Libertarianism, like Ayn Randism, is simply a fancy label for selfishness.

jmac
jmac

@Laplarse @bobell "I think the more people are exposed to libertarian ideas...." 

RAND PAUL IS NOT A LIBERTARIAN.  You cannot be a religious nut and a libertarian.  It's impossible.  

MrObvious
MrObvious

@Laplarse @bobell

I think the more people are exposed to libertarian ideas, the more they will catch on.

I doubt it. Outside pot, no wars and marriage rights libertarians argue for a government less society of free market rule. It's a pipe dream. It's fully possible to enjoy liberty and a democratic process, but you can't marry full individualism outside society without a central core.

It won't work. What libertarians argue for will appeal to some and who doesn't like no war, but everything else is a corporatist wet dream. Few functional regulations  anything goes, a weak central government structure and often noneffective and failed states. The vacuum would be filled (as we see historically and around the world today) with chaos and abuse. 

That's why libertarian tickets always fail. They sound good on the surface but when the reality of the meat of the subject comes up no one like the egotistic nature of the libertarian philosophy.

roknsteve
roknsteve

@Laplarse @roknsteve @bobell I plead guilty to posting a "word salad".   Rand Paul is calling for another filibuster and I'm supposed to think he's serious and reasonable?  And I'm annoying and he's not? 

Laplarse
Laplarse

@roknsteve @Laplarse @bobell I was talking to someone reasonable. I have no interest in talking to you. "Libertarians want no govt." that is false, I can't be bothered explaining basic political theory to you. Go annoy someone else, someone on your level.

roknsteve
roknsteve

@Laplarse @roknsteve @bobell So it's OK for you to dump a garbage can full of word salad in the comments but on one can point to the smelly mess you made?  Libertarians want no govt. so most of us end up living at the river.  The GOP is a dead party, libertarians have old dead ideas and Rand Paul will be forgotten by summer.      

Laplarse
Laplarse

@roknsteve @Laplarse @bobell 

In case you missed it, this is the comment section of an article talking about Rand Paul, Libertarianism and the GOP.

Save us all, go empty the limited contents of your skull into the bathtub.

roknsteve
roknsteve

@Laplarse @bobell Blah Blah Blah GOP.  Yak Yak Yak libertarian.  Talk Talk Talk Glen Greenwald.  Read more nonsense about Turtle Man and Goony from Kentucky.  Now do it all over again with free barf bags.   

Laplarse
Laplarse

@bobell Yeah, the GOP have a horrible recent history. But it is changing from the grassroots. Thanks to the anti-democratic two-party system, new philosophies have to use one of these two platforms to manifest itself. This change in the GOP should be embraced rather than ridiculed.

I think the more people are exposed to libertarian ideas, the more they will catch on. Independents have no reason to believe that the Democratic Party are the transparent, anti-war, anti-wall st, pro-civil liberties party that they claim to be. It appears that the new GOP may steal that mantle. Combine that with the dismal state of the economy and the exponential growth rate of debt, and the GOP are getting more attractive with each passing day. Especially with Rand Paul talking about immigration reform, drug law reform, spending cuts, excessive presidential powers etc.

mitkezob
mitkezob

@retiredvet @bobell It is a political sledgehammer. When Rand Paul gets the nomination for 2016 he can use it against the democrats, virtually flipping the anti-war vote. In either scenario it is for the betterment of the people which is what people should be concerned about, not whether or not he is a republican or democrat. You would think people would be happy that someone is standing up for civil liberties, but instead they deflect the positive action and turn it into a negative bashing because they don't like the party affiliation. 

Sparrow55
Sparrow55

@deconstructiva @bobell The people who brought us "compassionate conservatism" are now giving us "libertarian conservatism."  We've seen this story before.  It doesn't end well.