The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Mother Jones Bugs a Lot of People.


From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

Mother Jones Bugs a Lot of People.

Don’t read the Morning Jolt out loud, because for all we know, David Corn and Mother Jones could be listening to us right now.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accused opponents Tuesday of bugging his headquarters and asked for an FBI investigation after a recording from an internal campaign meeting surfaced in a magazine report.

The 12-minute audiotape released by Mother Jones magazine reveals McConnell and his campaign staff at a Feb. 2 meeting lampooning actress Ashley Judd — then a potential Senate candidate — and comparing her to “a haystack of needles” because of her potential political liabilities. Judd has since decided not to run.

“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.

An FBI spokesman confirmed that the agency was investigating the incident following a report filed by McConnell’s office.

First of all, I had better audio quality holding up my cassette recorder to our home stereo to make mix tapes. In fact, I’m pretty sure Billy Joel is singing in the background.

I mean, right there on the tape, you can hear McConnell make really incriminating, scandalous statements, like, “Mmmrrrhg mmm rhgmmm rghmmm brmmm crm” and “mmmrgh hrrgnm mrrgh hrgmm rghghgrmm.”

David Corn posted this; he and Mother Jones posted the secretly-recorded video of Mitt Romney making his “47 percent” comment. Boy, he sure got past his Bush-era qualms about secret wiretapping, huh? Jeff Dunitz lays out Corn’s shock and horror at the violation of privacy presented by the government attempting to listen in on the conversations of terrorists… privacy that is apparently utterly irrelevant if you’re just some lawmaker that Mother Jones opposes speaking in a private meeting. Perhaps Corn resents the competition from the National Security Agency, or maybe he’s just jealous that they have better equipment. 

Of course, Mother Jones was particularly shocked and horrified that some unidentified presenter declared about Ashley Judd:

“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.”

I’m sorry, is the argument from the shocked-and-horrified Mother Jones crowd that if a candidate had a mental breakdown, that was none of the electorate’s business?

Obvious joke: “Of course, it’s Congress, perhaps no one would notice.” Hey, a candidate’s mental illness never affects their ability to perform their duties, right? Just ask former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

Congressman David Wu, do you have any thoughts on this?


Thank you, Congressman.

Kevin Williamson writes, “One sympathizes with people who suffer from mental illness. If you have ever been around somebody with psychological problems of the sort that necessitate hospitalization, you appreciate what a grim business that is. And if you breathe oxygen and possess a dozen or more functioning neurons, you also know that if Sarah Palin had spent a month and a half in a mental hospital, Mother Jones — which took a notably indulgent attitude toward Trig trutherism — would have led the chorus of jeers rather than write oh-so-sensitive headlines about the awfulness of using somebody’s mental health as “political ammo.” And as for the legitimacy of using somebody’s religious beliefs as a campaign issue, maybe we should ask Rick Santorum about that.”

But Judd isn’t running, so her mental health history and nuttier statements are all moot. Let’s hope she has a long, happy, and mentally healthy life, and that she and Morgan Freeman will finally uncover the conspiracy.

Our Dan Foster wonders what Mother Jones expected to hear at a strategy session, and puts the shoe on the other foot.

Where did Mother Jones get the tape? They’ll only say, “we were recently provided with the tape by a source who wishes to remain anonymous. We published the article on the tape due to its obvious newsworthiness. We were not involved in the making of the tape, but it is our understanding that the tape was not the product of any kind of bugging operation.”

My guess is that it was delivered to them by a woman named Lucy Ramirez,  who directed Bill Burkett to get them from a mysterious unidentified man at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Tags: Ashley Judd , David Wu , Mitch McConnell


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