Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sen. Mitch McConnell feels the need to defend his record on mental health issues

By Richard K. Barry

Whatever one thinks of the secret taping of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) campaign strategy session, the words captured on tape have not helped him. The characterization of once potential Senate challenger Ashley Judd's mental health issues as a campaign opportunity has left some unimpressed.

Clearly, McConnell felt the need to do some damage control.
In response to those who have called him “insensitive to Americans suffering from depression or mental illness,” McConnell says in the op-ed, published in the Lexington Herald-Leader, that ”nothing could be further from the truth," citing his legislative record, including his support for a 2004 youth suicide prevention bill, the creation in 2000 of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and a 2008 bill to improve mental health care for veterans, among others.

The Hill writes that "some critics have called for him to apologize to Judd and other sufferers of mental illness because he remained silent during the meeting as an aide outlined her battles with depression, as chronicled in her autobiography."

The Senate Minority Leader has consistently criticized "those 'far-left partisans,' accusing them of trying to tear him down through inappropriate tactics."

What is interesting here is not the substance of McConnell's defence, but the fact that he felt the need to respond at all. I can't defend the tactics of Progress Kentucky, the group that secretly taped the meeting, but McConnell is hoping voters will focus on how the comments were obtained instead of what the comments were.

McConnell's actions suggest he doesn't believe they will.

(Cross-posted at Phantom Public.)

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