The American Left is at it again. This time, Mother Jones Washington, D.C., correspondent David Corn reported that last February 2, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell held a private meeting with his aides to discuss in particular how to develop attacks against possible Democratic contenders for his Senate seat, especially the actress Ashley Judd. How did the magazine know this? Corn reveals that they received a tape of the meeting from an anonymous source. The campaign aide who began the meeting started this way:
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.
They had many reasons to oppose Judd. As a self-proclaimed “radical,” Judd is pro-choice, for gay marriage, and, as the aide said, “anti-coal.” But what Corn sees as the real scandal is her well-known mental health issues. As the aide continued to state:
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.
This is hardly a surprise, since, as the aide notes, the information comes from Judd’s own autobiography. As Corn himself writes, “In her 2011 memoirs, All That Is Bitter & Sweet, Judd recounts her past bouts with depression, noting that she had considered suicide as a sixth-grader and that as an adult she had checked into a rehab center for depression.” One might rightfully ask, “What’s the big deal?” Is it that Corn revealed the tape of a secret meeting, thereby getting himself and his magazine publicity? Or is it that he told the world that in any political fight, the McConnell campaign would bring to light the question of Judd’s mental stability as an issue for the electorate to consider?
If the latter, is this not a just issue to be raised? Do people voting for a senator to represent them want to elect someone prone to hospitalization for depression? Indeed, Corn even reprints Judd’s own words about how she felt returning to the United States from abroad which, he writes, McConnell would have made public to make Judd seem like a weirdo. Here’s what Judd herself said:
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.
Well, it does make Judd seem rather weird, and she said this herself in a speech. If a Republican said this, wouldn’t any Democratic opponent jump at the chance to make this public? Is it so outrageous? Of course not.
What is outrageous, however, is that David Corn and the other MJ editors see nothing wrong in releasing a tape of a private strategy session of Republicans. How did they get this? Clearly, a trusted aide would not jeopardize his or her job to secretly tape a meeting and then give it to a major left-wing publication. And that is precisely why McConnell has accused the magazine of possibly bugging his headquarters, and has asked the FBI to investigate.
“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,” campaign manager Jesse Benton said in a statement reported by the Washington Post.
Benton is on solid ground. Moreover, it is the same David Corn who, in a previous life, was in the forefront of those on the Left who condemned secret wiretapping as a violation of American’s civil liberties. Writing at The Lid, a Jewish website, Jeff Dunetz points out that Corn wrote the following regarding NSA wiretaps of suspected terrorists:
It’s not every day a former deputy attorney general testifies that the White House violated the law–and did so knowingly. But that seemed to happen this morning when former Deputy Attorney General James Comey testified before the Senate judiciary committee about the once-secret NSA warrantless wiretapping program that targeted citizens and residents in the United States.
So Corn is concerned about secret wiretapping of those who might be our very real enemies, and who might use their power to harm us in a terrorist action. Their civil liberties are being violated, and Corn is upset. But obviously his concern does not extend to violating the rights of political activists preparing for a campaign, even though every side, Democrat and Republican, engages in opposition research.