David Corn at Mother Jones has once again tipped up the rock and caught some Republicans being themselves.
Last fall it was Mitt Romney and the 47% at Boca. This time it is Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his staff doing opposition research on Ashley Judd if she had decided to run against him in 2014. They discuss everything from her views to her history of dealing with depression.
The aide who led the meeting began his presentation with a touch of glee: “I refer to [Judd] as sort of the oppo research situation where there’s a haystack of needles, just because truly, there’s such a wealth of material.” He ran through the obvious: Judd was a prominent supporter of President Barack Obama, Obamacare, abortion rights, gay marriage, and climate change action. He pointed out that she is “anti-coal.”
But the McConnell gang explored going far beyond Judd’s politics and policy preferences. This included her mental health. The meeting leader noted:
She’s clearly, this sounds extreme, but she is emotionally unbalanced. I mean it’s been documented. Jesse can go in chapter and verse from her autobiography about, you know, she’s suffered some suicidal tendencies. She was hospitalized for 42 days when she had a mental breakdown in the ’90s.
There’s a lot more, including digging into her views on religion, her patriotism, living overseas, whether or not she’s a resident of Kentucky, and so on.
Every politician does this sort of research; it would be political malpractice if they didn’t know everything about their opponent. But this crowd seems especially energized about being bullies, and they relish finding things about her that will appeal to the paranoia and the prejudices of the “low-information” voter. In other words, they’ll go for the gutter because they think the people that will vote for Mr. McConnell are hicks. It will probably work. Chances are this revelation won’t change the race.
This tapes, however, clearly touched a nerve; Mr. McConnell has asked the FBI to look into who made the tape and whether or not laws were broken in obtaining them. Mother Jones denies any wrongdoing on their part.