There have been two basic reactions
to the news that members of Mitch McConnell's campaign team were recorded discussing potential tactics against Ashley Judd. Liberals have screeched: "How dare they attack her on the grounds of religion and by smearing her as unbalanced?" Meanwhile, conservatives have screeched: "How dare anyone bug those offices?"
This may surprise you, but -- even though I despise
McConnell -- I'm with the conservatives on this one. Team Mitch has asked the FBI to investigate the facts behind this recording, and I imagine we'll know the truth pretty soon.
As for the anti-Judd tactics revealed by this recording -- well, frankly, the transcript
reveals nothing more than the usual oppo research bullshitting session. This kind of material always gets bandied about during such meetings, by both Republican and Democratic strategists. The possible lines of attack described here strike me as being somewhat self-defeating -- for example, I don't think that Ms. Judd is unbalanced, and any campaign-season attempt to make her seem so probably would have backfired.
This recording did, however, contain one revelation that bothered me. At one point, Team Mitch plays a recording-within-a-recording of Judd saying the following words:
Judd's voice: I still choose the God of my understanding as the God of my childhood. I have to expand my God concept from time to time, and you know particularly I enjoy native faith practices, and have a very nature-based God concept. I'd like to think I'm like St. Francis in that way. Brother Donkey, Sister Bird. [Laughter.]
A member of Team McCaonnell reacted thus:
Male voice: The people at Southeast Christian [Church] would take to the streets with pitchforks. [Laughter.]
Is this true? Maybe. But it strikes me as terribly sad that a woman who reveres St. Francis -- and who speaks the kind of language one might expect to hear from a lay follower of that saint -- would, on that basis
, have an impaired shot at elected office.
Could author David Corn and Mother Jones magazine bear legal responsibility for this surreptitious recording? Based on the discussion here
, I think not. Seems quite possible that someone on the team made the recording.
Personally, I don't think Corn should have drawn attention to this recording. All he did was give the McConnell campaign a boost
. Talk about backfiring!