Ky. GOP seeks Democratic lawmakers to back McConnell over Judd using Judd's quotes as fodder

03/04/2013 10:23 PM

Democratic state lawmakers will receive letters Tuesday from the Kentucky Republican Party outlining past statements by potential U.S. Senate contender Ashley Judd and suggesting that the lawmakers back U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

“Before you are pressured to offer your support for Ms. Judd’s potential candidacy, I wanted to make sure you have a partial list of some of Ms. Judd’s views,” said the letter from Kentucky Republican Party Chairman Steve Robertson. “This may help you consider whether her candidacy would best represent your constituents.”

Robertson went on to write that the GOP will “be building a large coalition of Republicans, Democrats and independents for McConnell” and is encouraging the lawmakers and their constituents to join.

Judd’s publicist said the actress had no comment on the GOP’s opposition research.

An attachment to the letter, obtained by cn|2, includes Judd’s views on issues, such as mountaintop removal mining, as well as Christianity and her perspective on women’s issues, such as having children and whether having fathers walk their daughters down the aisle at weddings represents male domination of women.

The quotes come from a mix of sources: past interviews, her tweets and a 2006 lecture that is posted on her website AshleyJudd.com.

Click here to see the attachment to the GOP Letter to Democrats.pdf

The first quote outlined in the GOP memo came from a 2006 article in the Sunday Mail from Glasgow, Scotland, in which Judd said: “It’s unconscionable to breed … with the number of children who are starving to death in impoverished countries.”

Her larger point, outlined in her 2011 memoir, was that she doesn’t feel compelled to add new children to the world just to have her “own” when so many are suffering and need care. The conservative Daily Caller wrote about that last week as well.

Her public comments about coal also have been well-documented. And some House Democrats have expressed concern about her candidacy because of that. Although, House Speaker Greg Stumbo said last week he would encourage Judd to run and he, himself, viewed mountaintop removal as a “dinosaur.”

The Republicans’ document also describes some of Judd’s other remarks as being “against traditional Christianity.”

Specifically, it cites a passage from remarks she made Nov. 2, 2006, at the University of Kentucky. She posted the text of the lecture on her site.

The Republican document focused on this passage:
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“Patriarchal societies are organized in terms of the experience of men as they have been able to define and elaborate on it. Patriarchal religions, of which Christianity is one, gives us a God that is like a man, a God presented and discussed exclusively in male imagery, which legitimizes and seals male power. It is the intention to dominate, even if the intention to dominate is no where visible.”

That part of Judd’s lecture focused on what she called a culturally-embedded effort to control women’s reproductive rights.

“Our child bearing capacity became commodified, considered an asset to be traded forward in marriage in which the girls being given, bought, and sold had, until very recently, no choice and no voice,” she said in the lecture. And she went on to say that she believed such a system “gives boys and men just as raw a deal as it does girls and women, even as it gives them power, legitimacy, entitlement, and authority.”

As part of that same lecture, Judd also said subversive traditions continue today.

That, too, made it into the Republicans’ memo under the heading that she “objects to fathers walking their daughters down the aisle.” Here’s the passage the GOP cited:

“The complete reification our reproductivity was in place and it became institutionalized for all of us to live this way. To this day, a common vestige of male dominion over a woman’s reproductive status is her father ‘giving’ away her away to her husband at their wedding, and the ongoing practice of women giving up their last names in order to assume the name of their husband’s families, into which they have effectively been traded, in an interesting twist, cancelling out their own lineage, even though it is their father’s name with which they most likely have been raised.”

And tucked in the middle of the lecture was a line underscoring her recognition that what she had said — and how she had said it — could be used against her politically.

“You know, I am asked a lot if I will someday run for office, often enough, in fact, that if I had a nickel for each time I’ve been asked, I could fund a campaign,” she said. “But a speech like this, such an unguarded chunk of my truth is very likely to completely disqualify me.”

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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