The Septegenarian Ninja Turtle’s conspiracy theory does not hold water

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Mitch_mcconnell_frown-cropped-proto-custom_2The Septegenarian Ninja Turtle, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), wants to run against the mean "librul" media rather than on his dismal record, a tried and true tactic of conservative demagogues running in red states.

Our boy Mitch is claiming that his campaign office was illegally bugged by lefty "librul" media out to get him — the McConnell campaign has not offered any evidence the recording was the result of an illegal bug — and has asked the FBI and U.S. Attorney in Kentucky to investigate. McConnell's campaign offices were swept by a private security detail, which did not find a bug. Mitch McConnell seeks FBI investigation.

Something about this seems all too familiar. Is this possibly a Karl Rove operation? Karl Rove – Wikipedia:

In 1986, just before a crucial debate in campaign, Rove claimed that his office had been bugged by Democrats. The police and FBI investigated and discovered that the bug's battery was so small that it needed to be changed every few hours, and the investigation was dropped. Critics, including other Republican operatives, suspected Rove had bugged his own office to garner sympathy votes in the close governor's race.

It is obvious that the surreptitious recording was made by someone in the room, either one of McConnell's own Senate staffers or campaign staffers (did Karl Rove drop by any time before this meeting?). Was there any waitstaff in the room à la Mitt Rommney? Simply denying that "No one at the meeting leaked this” is naive at best, and designed to impugn David Corn and Mother Jones at worst (David Corn and Mother Jones published the "47% tape" widely credited with unraveling the Romney campaign).

"Team Mitch" successfully manipulated the Beltway media villagers yesterday with bright shiny objects to distract them from the real story, but that can only last for so long. Steve Benen writes, The dust settles on McConnell's furious P.R. push:

There are competing schools of thought in political crisis
management, and different methods are applied to different
circumstances. Sometimes it's better to ignore a controversy, deny it
oxygen, and wait for it simply wither on the vine. Other times, it's
preferable to use overwhelming force to crush a story on day one, before
it spirals and does real damage.

When David Corn reported
yesterday on Mitch McConnell's opposition-research strategy regarding
Ashley Judd, the Kentucky Republican and his aides obviously chose the
latter — lashing out wildly,
concocting a [conspiracy] theory about nefarious liberals bugging the senator's
office. The p.r. push was intended to create a distraction from the
story itself, while positioning McConnell as a victimized martyr — whom
far-right donors should reward with cash.

To a large extent, the strategy played out in a predictable way — BuzzFeed applauded
Team McConnell's ability to spin the media — but a day later, there
are some lingering questions. Is there any proof at all that McConnell's
office was bugged? Isn't it possible the recording came from within
McConnell's own team? And do the recordings point to possible ethics lapses?

Much of the news coverage focused on the McConnell team's comments
about Judd's religious views and her mental-health history. But the tape
might raise ethics questions for McConnell and his staff.

Senate ethics rules prohibit Senate employees from participating in
political activities while on government time
. But the tape indicates
that several of McConnell's legislative aides, whose salaries are paid
by the taxpayer, were involved with producing the oppo research on Judd
that was discussed at the February 2 meeting.

Mother Jones sought an explanation from McConnell's team about this, but for some reason, the aides were reluctant to talk about it.

It's
one of the reasons I wonder whether McConnell would have been better
off ignoring the story, rather than turning it into a major national
controversy.

There was a real possibility that David Corn's story would have been
largely overlooked by the political world. After all, it shared details
about a campaign strategy targeting a woman who isn't even a candidate,
and while the recordings point to some ugly tactics, those plans weren't
illegal and have been rendered moot.

It was, in other words,
likely to be a one-day flap. It made McConnell's team look a little
desperate, and arguably a little sleazy, but the Kentucky senator and
his aides looked pretty desperate and sleazy anyway.

But by
turning this into a five-alarm fire, McConnell took a risk. If, for
example, we learn that there was no secret bugging, this wasn't done by
liberals, and the senator misused taxpayer-paid staffers for campaign
purposes
, this will prove to be much more embarrassing than if he'd just ignored the story in the first place.

Yet another Republican playing the victim card, a martyr persecuted by the mean "librul" media. These guys are always acting out some "passion play" fantasy in their mind like they are Jesus Christ.

UPDATE: Yet another Republican demonstrating Godwin's Law, always with the Nazis:

"This is Gestapo-kind of scare tactics, and we're not going to stand for
it," Jesse Benton, McConnell's campiagn manager said on Mike Huckabee's
radio show. McConnell Campaign Staff Meets With FBI.

UPDATE: “Both Kentucky and the federal wiretap act are one-party consent
statutes,” said Jeff Hermes, director of the Digital Media Law Project
at Harvard University. “If the recording was made by a party to the
conversation, even if it was made secretly, that person won’t be liable
under state or federal law. If it was a bug that was placed, or hidden
by someone who wasn’t a party to the conversation, then there’s both
potential civil and criminal liability.” Was The Secret Recording Of The McConnell Campaign Illegal?

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