Whether or not film star and progressive activist Ashley Judd decides to challenge Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for his seat in 2014, conservatives seem to be gearing up for a fight. On Tuesday morning, right-wing website The Daily Caller compared Judd’s unabashed feminism and environmentalism to former Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), whose campaign failed after he claimed women couldn’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape.” Akin’s comment was not only medically wrong, but also insulted and dismissed rape victims. Judd’s “most stunning comments,” according to the Daily Caller, range from harsh rhetoric against mountaintop removal to criticism of patriarchal institutions:
She has spoken out against having kids, saying it is “unconscionable to breed” while there are so many starving children in the world.
She has criticized the tradition of fathers “giving away” their daughters at weddings, calling that practice “a common vestige of male dominion over a woman’s reproductive status.”
She has even compared mountaintop removal mining to the Rwandan genocide, and has criticized Christianity as a religion that “legitimizes and seals male power.”
By getting in the race with this sort of baggage, Judd runs the risk of being portrayed as a Todd Akin-esque candidate – meaning voters simply decide she’s unqualified to serve as a senator, because her comments are so outrageous and extreme that people can’t bring themselves to vote for her.
The Daily Caller equates Judd’s and Akin’s comments as gaffes. But Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment cost him the election not because it was “outrageous” but because it shed light on his radical anti-choice voting record. Judd is certainly outspoken about her policy positions on the coal industry and women’s rights, and thus far has not tried to disown them. But conservatives are already trying to portray her as “too liberal” for Kentucky. Karl Rove’s American Crossroads SuperPAC recently unleashed an ad attacking Judd as a “Hollywood liberal.” Still, Judd’s “liberal comments” don’t seem to be scaring Kentuckians; two surveys, including McConnell’s own internal poll, found the progressive actress trailing him by just 4 points.