Some observers are wondering why American Crossroads, the Karl Rove-inspired superPAC, would bother to run a political attack ad against Hollywood star Ashley Judd, an outspoken supporter of President Obama who has said she's mulling a 2014 run against Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
Here are six reasons:
1) The ad reportedly cost just $10,000, but has already gotten disproportionate attention because it features a lot of Judd video and is connected to Rove. It has generated more than a quarter million views on YouTube since it was uploaded on Wednesday. Mission accomplished.
2) American Crossroads' President and CEO Steven Law was McConnell's chief of staff during the 1990s. He also managed McConnell's first re-election campaign in 1990. Additionally, he did a stint as executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, whose purpose is to get GOP senators elected and re-elected. So the ad is right up his alley.
3) In politics, it's a good idea to discourage potentially significant challengers from running if you can. So the ad is a warning to Judd that she can expect no quarter if she were to enter the race against McConnell, the Senate minority leader.
4) It's also a good idea to define your opponent before your opponent defines himself or herself (if you have any doubts, ask Mitt Romney). So an ad alleging that Judd — who spent much of her childhood in Kentucky, attended the University of Kentucky, and traces her roots in the state back 10 generations — is a carpetbagger from Hollywood (and Tennessee) and who walks in lockstep behind Obama is meant to cause Kentuckians to say: "She's not one of us."
5) American Crossroads can also use the ad in its fundraising efforts.
6) You have to get back in the game at some point, and Judd gives American Crossroads an opportunity to do just that after a very disappointing 2012 election, which included Rove's infamous election night performance on Fox News.