The political world is a-twitter over an audio tape obtained by Mother Jones of a private campaign meeting involving Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell and his 2014 re-election staff in which the past public statements — and mental health — of his one-time potential opponent Ashley Judd is discussed.
The reality: This is much ado about not much.
Yes, if you are predisposed not to like McConnell then his voice on the tape saying “This is the ‘Whac-A-Mole’ period of the campaign…when anybody sticks their head up, do them out” will make you like him even less. And, yes, the fact that the McConnell team talked about Judd’s mental health — “she was hospitalized for 42 days when she had a mental breakdown in the ’90s” — will further enrage the McConnell-haters.
But, this — as any campaign operative will tell you — is the basic blocking and tackling of opposition research that every candidate does both against their potential opponents and against themselves. And, the average voter won’t a) follow this story or b) care all that much if they do — especially since this news is breaking on the day after the Louisville Cardinals won the NCAA basketball tournament.
What’s lost in the fuss over the McConnell-Judd tapes — but shouldn’t be — is what the meeting reveals about Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, the candidate Democrats are trying to recruit into the race.
“With Alison Lundergan Grimes it’s sort of more traditional issues, as far as, you know, needle in a haystack sort of the inversion of that,” said one of the attendees of the meeting, adding that “the best hit we have on her is her blatantly endorsing the 2008 Democratic national platform.”
Translation: McConnell doesn’t have much on Grimes.