The icy rift over the Patriot Act between one of the Senate’s oddest couples — Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul — isn’t about to break up their political alliance.
The split has brought the Senate to a halt and led to ugly infighting among Senate Republicans on the floor Sunday night , as Paul forced expiration of Patriot Act authorities.
But the Kentucky duo’s relationship is deeper than what happens on the Senate floor.
While Paul has dreams of the White House, McConnell is building two legacies: One in the Senate and one as an architect of the Kentucky Republican Party.
“Up until now, it’s probably been a strategic alliance that’s been mutually beneficial,” said Scott Lasley, an associate professor in the department of political science at Western Kentucky University and a central committee chairman of the state Republican Party.
Paul’s endorsement of McConnell during last year’s re-election was particularly valuable in limiting intraparty fire that could have turned on McConnell, Lasley said.
Paul, on the other hand, secured McConnell’s endorsement for his presidential campaign, as well as his support for changing the state party’s nominating process that allowed Paul to run for president and Senate on the same ballot.