The New Republic, a magazine that leans heavily to the left, has released a profile on Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) titled, “President Rand Paul: Watch out, he’s becoming a better politician every day.

The article, a dense and thorough piece, discusses everything from the young senator’s rise to GOP stardom to what his political future may hold. And perhaps because the article is so vast in its scope, the magazine’s editors decided to make it July’s cover story.

The following cover, shot by the photographer Platon and titled “The Real Rand Paul (Can’t be Trusted),” is what you’ll see next month [note the senator’s crossed fingers]:

Sen. Ran Paul Poses for The New Republic With Fingers Crossed

TNR.

“His views are extreme. His political skills are fierce. That’s why he’s so dangerous,” TNR’s front page reads.

Soon after the above cover photo was released, many assumed that the image had been doctored to make it look like the young Kentucky senator had his fingers crossed in a lie.

But, according to Noam Scheiber, senior editor at The New Republic, the photo is all Rand Paul. Nothing has been doctored. He crossed his fingers all on his own.

So now the question remains: Why?

Offer your theories below.

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    Featured portrait by Platon. This post has been updated.