Last week, apropos of nothing, Karl Rove's operation, American Crossroads, rolled out an attack video targeting actor Ashley Judd. Rove, fearing Judd may run against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2014, apparently isn't done.
"We are making fun of her," Rove told Fox News. "She is way far out on the left wing of the Democratic Party, which is not very far out left in Kentucky."
"She's going to get to know that she's not going to be able to wait until the screenwriters from California and producers make her look good and prepare the ads and give her lots of lines to memorize so that she can handle these things," Rove said.
Soon after, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) added, "When I heard Ashley Judd might run for office I thought maybe it was Parliament since she lives in Scotland half the year." The Republican senator added, "Ashley Judd's a famous actress. She's an attractive woman, presents herself well and from what I understand is articulate. But the thing is, she doesn't really represent Kentucky."
At this point, I have no idea if Judd intends to seek elected office or whether she'd fare well as a candidate if she ran. But when was the last time Republicans freaked out at this level about an inexperienced Democrat in a "red" state more than 20 months before an election cycle?
Post script: I'd be remiss if I didn't laugh a bit at Rand Paul's concerns about Senate candidates who "represent Kentucky." I remember writing a piece in August 2010 about Paul, a self-accredited ophthalmologist who seemed to have almost no familiarity with the basics of the state he was running in.
But in the same interview, Paul said something else of interest. A reporter asked that summer about the significance of Harlan County, Kentucky, which seemed like a fairly easy question for anyone, even those with only passing familiarity with the state. "I don't know," the then-candidate replied. Noting that the town of Hazard is nearby, Paul added, "It's famous for, like, The Dukes of Hazzard." When an aide tries to steer him towards the truth -- Harlan County was home to generations of deadly labor disputes -- Paul ignores him, and says, "Maybe the feuding."
The Lexington Herald-Leader's Larry Dale Keeling noted at the time that Rand Paul "seems to know dangerously little" about Kentucky.
People who "live" somewhere for 17 years will pick up a little knowledge through osmosis even if they don't bother to get out and learn about their surroundings. A person who merely "resides" somewhere is more like the little knickknack that "resides" in the bric-a-brac case hanging on the wall.
A person who has "lived" in Kentucky for 17 years might know how "Bloody Harlan" got its name and that The Dukes of Hazzard was set in the fictional Hazzard (two Z's) County, Georgia, not the Kentucky city of Hazard (one Z).
A person who has "lived" in Kentucky for 17 years might know the community of Fancy Farm is in a dry county and the picnic put on annually by the old folks of St. Jerome Parish is a family affair where no one has to worry about having beer or anything else thrown at them.
Those are just a few items someone who has lived here for several years might know. But there are some things a person who has lived in this state for any amount of time can't help but know.
Adding insult to injury, Paul also said Eastern Kentucky's drug problem is not "a real pressing issue," despite the fact that it's been ravaged by an epidemic. Keeling explained, "Only someone who is totally clueless would say that."
And now Rand Paul feels confident talking about who is and is not capable of "representing Kentucky"? Seriously?