The story, briefly, is that back on Ground Hog Day someone recorded Team McConnell huddled to discuss the points of attack they’d likely take against various Kentucky Democrats positioning to run against their man, Sen. Do Nothing Ever, Oppose Everything Always. Whether the whole meeting was taped we don’t know. But the first eleven and a half minutes, where the team rattled off actress Ashley Judd’s vulnerabilities was and it was given to Mother Jones’ David Corn, the guy who also received the video of Mitt Romney’s now-legendary 47% comments.
The Mitch Machine immediately made a big show of calling in the FBI … the FBI! … to root out the criminal low-life who would make such a nefarious assault on the Senator’s precious constitutional freedoms. (The FBI is required to consider investigating, but hasn’t exactly jumped on it yet.)
Mother Jones and Corn are protecting their source, saying only that the recording was not the result of a “Watergate-style” bugging. Since I presume Corn is hip enough to media cons to have verified that the tape isn’t a slick composite of out-of-context remarks, the only explanation is that it was done by … one of McConnell’s team, which given the rat-fucking mentality of the GOP’s tactical apparatus today, seems completely plausible.
Legally, Mother Jones is in the clear under almost any scenario, since virtually anything discussed by a public official meets the definition of “public interest”. Moreover, all taint of “criminal activity” evaporates if one person in the room — the recorder — was aware of the machine.
This is of course juuuuust a bit different from the now familiar conservative-Breibart-James O’Keefe tactic of misrepresenting yourself to an ideological opponent, recording that conversation, then editing it to distort the intent and meaning of what the other party said and getting humiliated in court for your trouble.
A couple of things that semi-amaze me about the McConnell incident:
On the tape you hear Team Mitch talking about Judd’s myriad points of weakness, including her bout with depression … which, and they did a lot of heavy research here … she freely discusses in her autobiography. Better though, is that Judd has gone on record, and by that I mean in front of cameras and microphones that she knew were there, talking about being a rape victim as a girl, and how that trauma haunted her well into adulthood. Point being, Team Mitch probably is so completely cynical and clueless that they would dare take the GOP brand — now roughly equivalent to a toxic waste dump — back into a fresh round of tone-deaf “rape talk” by attacking an actual rape victim.
That would not surprise me. I suspect the Team has numbers proving that smearing rape victims for battling depression is a win-win strategy among McConnell’s aged white male, evolution-denying, Bible-clutching, gun-stroking base.
That said, what’s remarkable about the McConnell tape is that … nothing all that remarkable is said. I seriously doubt Judd or any Democrat was surprised to hear what team Mitch was talking about. Opposition research in the spit-balling phase, liberal or conservative, always includes a consideration of every conceivable factor. The problem for the GOP today is that since they have no intention of making any substantive legislative proposals beneficial to the middle-class, misguided, shoot-your-feet-off “social” and “cultural” strategies are pretty much their whole game.
It’d be funny if they weren’t such a damned millstone around the rest of our necks.
But the best part, really –McConnell invoking Richard Nixon to characterize liberal criminality, in the context of McConnell discussing smear tactics aside — is the cesspool of intra-mural intrigue that the new conservative movement has wrought. Here in Minnesota we have Michele Bachmann under multiple ethics investigations, originating from former employees. We are still watching fall-out over the Michael Brodkorb era on our local Capitol Hill, where rat-fucking was elevated to a kind of prime directive. This includes senior GOP (white males) conniving against Amy Koch. We also had Tony “The Chairman” Sutton elevated and then abandoned by the GOP’s elders and money-handlers. And then we move off to the national scene … .
The obvious aphorism here is, “There is no honor among thieves” … and much less among those who serve institutional cynicism.