Congress Ethics Senate

The Ugly McConnell Tapes

In another big scoop for David Corn of Mother Jones, a recording of Mitch McConnell and his aides has surfaced featuring each of them discussing how they would attack Ashley Judd had she chosen to challenge him in 2014.

The recording has been broken up into multiple parts, which you can find here, but this one stood out the most to me.

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.

These tapes clearly demonstrate that the campaign against her could have been incredibly ugly. They laugh and muse about her views on religion, her trips overseas, her views on family, and apparently they find her scholarly knowledge irresistibly funny. It’s as if they’re a group of bullies laughing at a nerd on the playground as he tries to find his glasses.

There’s nothing unprecedented about this. After all, if we had recordings of Romney staffers discussing how to attack President Obama, I’m sure they would be similarly egregious and more enlightening than even the 47 percent tape. But using her past illness and trouble with depression as campaign fodder crosses a line wherein she is portrayed as an emotional wreck. This plays into the misogynistic idea that women are naturally more emotional than men and thus unfit for office.

The fact that Judd decided not to run for office makes these recordings seem even worse to me because at this point their release can only drag the McConnell campaign down and it’s bound to have an impact on the way his campaign is perceived over the next two years.

Mitch McConnell has reportedly asked the FBI to investigate how the recordings were obtained.