COMMENTARY | Senator Mitch McConnell is seeking an FBI investigation into leaked audiotapes recorded during an apparent re-election strategy discussion, which were published earlier Tuesday by the liberal blog Mother Jones.
No doubt on the lookout for the next “47 percent” exposé, Mother Jones published an audio recording of a Mitch McConnell re-election strategy session, which seemed primarily focused on researching the Senate Minority Leader’s potential competition. The tape seems to be from a while back, as it primarily concerns Ashley Judd (Judd announced she would not be running at the end of March).
Judd’s Senate-run-that-wasn’t has been a source of speculation in recent weeks, with some theorizing that she was actually pushed out by Democrats. Still, from the tapes published by Mother Jones, it seems clear that McConnell’s team was getting ready for her. And by “getting ready for her,” we mean “digging up dirt.”
Now, we can talk all day about whether or not “smear campaigns” and the like are appropriate or ethical, but it’s a separate conversation. The fact of the matter is, they’re used every election by both sides of the largely partisan political system. Idioms like “Obama is a socialist” and “the GOP wants to push grandma off the cliff” become so familiar, you could write a jingle to them. It sucks, it’s immature, but it happens.
McConnell’s talks are just that – you’re watching sausage being made. You’re seeing one of untold hundreds of conversations just like it happening all over the country. When you read about McConnell’s team looking up embarrassing quotes, mental health history, and the like of Ashley Judd, remember that even though it may shock you, every campaign on every side of the aisle has strategy sessions just like this.
Of course that’s a bigger problem, but not one we can address here. The issue at hand isn’t that politicians are all mean-spirited and cold-hearted during election season, it’s quite frankly that: Who cares? From where I’m sitting, Mother Jones turned itself into Breitbart pupil James O’Keefe to make a largely meaningless point. It’s the proverbial mountain out of the mole hill.
The McConnell campaign is in danger of falling into the trap laid for them by demanding an FBI investigation into the exposé and wagging their fingers at “Democratic sabotage,” but a wiser move would be to rhetorically play the media by just asking “where did they get the tape?” It does matter.
Wiser still, they could, and should, just ignore it, because this doesn’t reek of scandal. It’s always disturbing to catch a glance behind the curtain of American politics, but we’re kidding ourselves if we think it’s only a problem on one side.
Mother Jones’ David Corn is playing coy about the tape’s origin, simply remarking “This story speaks for itself.”
The false implication is that the story says something worth listening to.
But judge for yourself. You can listen to the audio tapes of the exposé here. No tape exists in full, you’re only treated to clips a few seconds or minutes a piece at most. Chances are, if you are in a position to vote for or against McConnell, your mind is made up. If you’re an Independent, it probably means you’re smart enough to look at the issues and not the mudslinging.
[Image via: Wikimedia Commons]