As we all know, a few days ago MoJo’s David Corn scored yet another scoop based on a secret recording when he published a story about an oppo meeting held by Sen. Mitch McConnell’s staff back when Ashley Judd was considering running against him. As it happens, the meeting wasn’t really a big bombshell unless you’ve been living in a serious state of innocence about how politics is conducted in America—the participants mostly talked about using material from Judd’s own autobiography against her—but it created a firestorm among McConnell and his supporters, who immediately charged that someone had bugged their campaign headquarters.
(QUICK DISCLAIMER: I know nothing more about this stuff than you do. The first time I learned about it was when it appeared on the MoJo website, and I haven’t spoken to anyone at MoJo about it since.)
Anyway, it turns out that the recording was apparently made by one or two (it’s not entirely clear) guys from ProgressKY—a “heaping pile of uselessness,” in Dave Weigel’s words—who stood outside the door of the meeting room and recorded the conversation. Or maybe they stuck their iPhones down near a vent. Or something. It’s not totally clear yet. But they were ratted out by a Democratic Party operative who didn’t want to be tarred by their amateur-hour theatrics, and the two guys have now apparently turned on each other. It’s a real soap opera, and Ed Kilgore makes an interesting comment:
It’s illuminating, of course, to see liberals in and beyond Kentucky distancing themselves from the would-be guerillas of Progress Kentucky; you rarely see conservatives do that when a Breitbart-inspired stunt backfires. Some people on the left see that as a sign of weakness. But I’d say it’s better understood as a sign of understanding that what you get from skullduggery is rarely as effective as publicizing the outrages committed by people like McConnell every day, in public, as proud examples of everything they believe in and represent.
True dat. Conservatives love them some James O’ Keefe-style guerrilla warfare, but liberals more often seem vaguely embarrassed about it. Not always, though: certainly there was nothing but praise for the Romney 47% video last year. Still, there’s definitely a difference. Whether it’s a sign of weakness or something else is your call.