Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jesse Benton: Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell are Inseperable

That's the latest word from Time.

Alex Altman writes for Time's Swampland:
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.”
LOL, McConnell spent three minutes "spelling" Rand during his 13 hour filibuster.

And if you don't think Rand has serious establishment backing, consider this juicy bit from Altman. It was McConnell, who cleaned up the mess when Rand flubbed a Rachel Maddow interview:

[McConnell] 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.
If you think McConnell did this out of the kindness of his heart, call me immediately. I have a fog making machine in San Francisco that I want to sell you.

Altman quotes David Adams, the Kentucky strategist who managed Paul’s 2010 campaign:
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. 
 And what's a Rand-McConnell piece without a quote from Jesse Benton:, Altman writes:
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.
And, of course, Jesse inserts his foot in his mouth to take some of the credit for the filibuster, even though it brings to the forefront that Rand had the blessing of the establishment, when he conducted the filibuster:

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.”
Keep in mind that Rand has promoted the idea that the filibuster was not planned and a spur of the moment thing:

  WSJ reports:
Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) said he didn't start his day with a plan to mount a filibuster, and hadn't even worn his most comfortable shoes to work.

But when opportunity knocked on Wednesday, the Kentucky Republican started talking and didn't stop until nearly 13 hours later, logging a historic, old-time Senate filibuster.
Jesse desperate to grab even a little bit of the credit for the filibuster spills the beans on how the Republican establishment had no problem with the filibuster  On wonders just how bold Rand would have been if McConnell said no.

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