As you’ve probably read by now, David Corn posted a recording on Mother Jones that was made at a meeting of Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign team on February 2nd.
The meeting was on Ashley Judd and how to neutralize her should she run for the Kentucky Senate seat held by McConnell. You can read the recording’s transcript here. However, if you’re pressed for time let me summarize the three areas that McConnell’s team was going to focus on in order to discredit Judd:
1. Her mental health: Judd has admitted to suffering bouts of depression, mostly in her 2011 book All That Is Bitter & Sweet.
2. Her religion: Even though in the same 2011 book, Judd states that she’s a Christian and often talks about church and prayer, McConnell’s team was planning to attack her on the religion front.
3. Her party affiliation: The team spent a long time presenting evidence that Judd is a Democrat who supports President Obama. I’m not joking.
Mother Jones reports that it seems that McConnell’s team was going to push the mental health issue to an extreme by making Judd seem “a true weirdo.” One way to do this would be to focus on her more intellectual statements (I’m guessing because these can be easily taken out of context), like the one that she made about American consumerism and the corresponding culture shock that she experiences when coming back from an overseas stay:
I call it the American anesthesia. You know, I come back to this country. I freak out in airports. The colors, the sounds, all those different ways of packaging the same snack but trying to, you know, make it look like it’s distinct and different and convince consumers that they have to have it. I mean all of that. The last time I came home from a trip, I absolutely flipped out when I saw pink fuzzy socks on a rack. I mean, I can never anticipate what is going to push me over the edge.
But in a few weeks, you know, I’m driving along smooth roads and I think nothing of it. I’m, you know, choosing between four different brands of cereal from plastic dispensers so that I don’t have to have, you know, ugly, mismatched boxes on my shelf, and I don’t think anything of it.
Apparently, the pink fuzzy socks were going to be a mother lode for the McConnell’s team woman-on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown anti-Judd campaign.
I have a couple of things to say about this story. The first is that I’m shocked about not being shocked that McConnell’s team was planning this kind of defamation work against Judd. It could be that it’s because I’ve watched too many dirty-politics movies like The Ides Of March, or that I’ve actually seen dirty politics play out in real life as in the Andrew Breitbart/Shirley Sherrod case. In any case, it is clear that we now accept dirty politics as the status quo.
The second is that I’m surprised about Jesse Benton’s (McConnell’s campaign manager) statement, “We’ve always said the Left will stop at nothing to attack Sen. McConnell, but Nixonian tactics to bug campaign headquarters is above and beyond.” Someone should remind Benton that Nixon was a Republican President whose historic legacy is one that is indivisible from dirty politics. For a campaign that was ready to go to untold lengths to paint Judd as a crazy, associating McConnell with Nixon (even when using it to blame the Left) is crazy indeed.
By the way, McConnell has asked the FBI to start a criminal investigation into the recording. So don’t blame me for calling this story McConnellgate. After all, they started it.