A story about a "libertarian-ish" Republican congressman who has a decent chance to appeal to moderate voters of both parties in a presidential election? Maybe it's time to SMASH THINGS UP (on the cover of The New York Times Magazine).

Poynter reports that the inspiration for the art accompanying the Times Magazine's cover story on Rand Paul and the "Libertarian moment" came from its first few lines, in which former VJ Kennedy compares libertarian-leaning Republicans to Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Stone Temple Pilots.

Smells Like Swing Voters was too obvious. They needed something stronger, something to make the bourgeoisie drop its biscotti in horror, or at least something that would appeal to readers under the age of 40.

Times Magazine Editor Jake Silverstein “really wanted us to do a cover that conveyed the energy and spirit of the libertarian movement,” art director Gail Bichler told Poynter in a phone call.

They decided to “use that rock reference and twist it a little bit,” Bichler said. “Since it was a story about Washington politics, we wanted to appropriate the language of D.C. hardcore.”

Since Bichler has “very little experience” with that genre of music, she said, she did research online and looked at Bryan Ray Turcotte and Christopher T. Miller’s book “Fucked Up + Photocopied” for inspiration.

Although the headline evokes Minor Threat, Bichler was specifically inspired by an old Fugazi flier.

Silverstein, who was hired away from Texas Monthly to shoot from the hip, added the "all ages" part in the corner, because he's some kind of madman.

Yet the craziest part of today's cover, the part that shook the halls of power in the world's most influential newspaper, sits at the top. WAMU has that story:

But while the design crew did a swell job making the cover as distinctly crappy as possible, there’s another key element that’s subtle by comparison. It’s the little anarchy symbol tucked away in the magazine’s nameplate. Bichler says she had to run that one up the chain first. “Anytime you touch the logo, it’s a little bit touchy,” she says. Ultimately, it got approval from the Times higher-ups.

Bichler calls the circle-A her favorite component of the design. ”We were trying to make an editorial point,” she says, “and it definitely makes it more authentic with that.”

Maybe we're being too harsh.