Howard Fineman Should Apologize for Saying McConnell's Staff Might Have Bugged Their Own Office

With Friday's admission by liberal activist Curtis Morrison for having bugged Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) office in April, there are some liberal media members that owe the Senator an apology.

One is certainly Howard Fineman, the editorial director of the Huffington Post, who on April 10 wrote the following (emphasis added):

To understand what the Republican Senate leader is up to these days, you need to remember that he now lives in fear less of his home-state Democrats -- whom he has essentially neutered in his nearly 30 years in the U.S. Senate -- than of tea party and other Republicans who hate his grip on the GOP in Kentucky and his record of talking a better conservative game than he plays.

Working on that resentment is how now-Sen. Rand Paul managed to defeat McConnell's handpicked GOP candidate for junior senator from Kentucky in 2010. And even though Paul now pledges support for McConnell, and Paul's former campaign manager is now on McConnell's team, the five-term incumbent can't be sure that he is a lock in the May 2014 GOP primary.

That is one reason why McConnell took the unusual step (for a party leader) of joining a list of other senators who vowed to filibuster any and all new gun control legislation.

That is why McConnell hit the floor the other day to roundly denounce -- in far more caustic terms than those used by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) -- the president's new budget.

And that is why McConnell is screaming bloody murder about what he claims was the involvement of the "left" in the "bugging" of his campaign office in Louisville last February.

McConnell and his minions have no proof of who was responsible for the recording and the gifting of it to Mother Jones. He may turn out to be correct.

But it is equally possible that the guilty party was a disgruntled Republican -- or even that someone on McConnell's team tried to emulate the tactic allegedly used by GOP strategist Karl Rove in a Texas gubernatorial race in 1986. Rove was widely suspected by the Texas press, and many Republicans, of having bugged his own office so that the device could be "discovered" and he could denounce the Democrats.


Fineman went on to say, "The idea that a Kentucky Republican might have gotten hold of the recording and leaked it is not so far-fetched in a state party that has begun to feel stale and discontented after decades of control by the Louisville-based McConnell."

He offered the same speculation - "It reminded me of the 1986 episode involving Karl Rove, when he was alleged to have bugged his own office" - on MSNBC's Hardball the previous day.

So in Fineman's view, the bugger could have been a Kentucky Republican or even a member of McConnell's team.

Let's hear the truth from the actual bugger:

Earlier this year, I secretly made an audio recording of Sen. Mitch McConnell, the most powerful Republican on the planet, at his campaign headquarters in Kentucky. The released portion of the recording clocks in at less than 12 minutes, but those few minutes changed my life.

And the money sentence?

"I’m a liberal activist in Kentucky."

You were saying, Howard? Should McConnell and his team expect a public apology from you soon, or would that require too much integrity?

Of course, Fineman wasn't alone in making such an accusation.

Fakakta South over at the perilously liberal Wonkette speculated that McConnell's campaign manager was the one to turn over the tape to Mother Jones. The liberal blog BlareShare offered a view similar to Fineman's.

I'm sure McConnell will be receiving apologies from them as well, although I don't suggest he hold his breath.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.