Spare me the phony outrage about Mitch McConnell’s considering how to use Ashley Judd’s ineffable loopiness against her in an election. The Mother Jones headline reads: “McConnell and Aides Weighed Using Judd’s Mental Health and Religion as Political Ammo.” Other outlets have bemoaned the planned “smear.”
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.
The thing about Judd’s statements on religious questions is this: They are hilarious. Savor: “I still choose the God of my understanding as the God of my childhood. I have to expand my God concept from time to time, and you know particularly I enjoy native faith practices, and have a very nature-based God concept. I’d like to think I’m like St. Francis in that way. Brother Donkey, Sister Bird.” “I enjoy native faith practices” may be the perfect encapsulation of the soy-latte approach to religion: vague, condescending, and at its heart consumerist, a question of what you “enjoy.” And what exactly is a “native faith practice”? Native to where? When?
And a Hollywood celebrity’s comparing herself to Saint Francis is grotesque.
The faux outrage already is well under way: The L.A. Times headlined its report “The Anatomy of a Smear.” McConnell, and conservatives in general, should not back down and accept the double standard at work here. Ashley Judd is a fruitcake who says utterly bats things in public. There is no shame in saying so. Ashley Judd’s batty beliefs are thoroughly representative of a certain strain of American liberalism. There’s no shame in saying that, either.