How worried is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell about protecting his Senate seat in 2014? According to a new attack ad published today by McConnell's campaign staff, very worried. Titled "Obama's Kentucky Candidate," the 3-minute-long spot mocks one confirmed candidate (businessman Ed Marksberry) and three potential ones (Alison Lundergan Grimes, who serves as Kentucky's Secretary of State; Matthew Barzun, the former U.S. ambassador to Sweden; and actress/philanthropist Ashley Judd) as bumbling fools favored by Obama to defeat Mitch McConnell. On several levels the ad is to be expected: McConnell is literally the least popular Senator in the country, he is already the subject of several attack ads over his stance toward gun violence; and, as Senate Minority Leader, he more or less personifies partisan obstruction. But none of this context makes the ad any less bizarre:
Relying on spliced footage of old Obama campaign events, the ad borrows several tactics from Karl Rove's attack-ad blitz against Judd — who, like Grimes and Barzun, hasn't even announced whether she'll run — by making a bunch of vague preliminary cases against people who may not even challenge McConnell without making a positive argument for McConnell himself.
Indeed, the ad mocks the cadence of Grimes:
And an incident where Barzun wore a top hat:
And, using an out-of-context quote, Ashley Judd's philanthropy:
And, of course, President Obama himself:
And President Obama giving Judd the "whoa whoa whoa" splice treatment, complete with hands around the breasts area, before cutting to Judd at, you know, the Democratic National Convention.
There's plenty of Obama pointing to the "young woman" just "over there," but nothing whatsoever about old man Mitch McConnell! You'd be hard-pressed to say who this ad is for were it not for the notice from "Friends of Mitch" at the end. Yes, it's notable that all four potential challengers are Democrats, who have a built-in handicap in deeply-red Kentucky. But the ad doesn't challenge any policies they or their party may espouse, and instead focuses, by way of verbal tics and personality quirks, on tying the candidates to President Obama. (And not even very well.) That's a mildly amusing method of mocking Democrats, but, hey, it's probably too early for actual policy, right?