Rob Simmons’ Questions to Linda McMahon: Once More With Feeling

Yesterday’s letter to Linda McMahon, with ten spot-on questions about her record as CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, came from the campaign of Rob Simmons, but it went out over the signature of Simmons’ campaign manager, Jim Barnett. In reporting on the letter, I did not bother with what I consider a distinction without a difference. (Similarly, I would not waste bandwidth debating whether the December 2007 testimony of Vince and Linda McMahon to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform constituted “statements by World Wrestling Entertainment.” Of course they did. Are you nuts?)

But in political campaigns such nuances get sliced and diced. A package express-delivered from Simmons headquarters in Mystic to McMahon headquarters in West Hartford is not just a message from Corporate Simmons to Corporate McMahon, but possibly an attempt by the candidate on the offensive to hide behind a surrogate. Or so was one interpretation yesterday. Some in the Connecticut media thought Simmons’ gentility, bordering on boringness, at the Tuesday night debate was hypocritical when, as soon as it was over, his office resumed circulating attack pieces via cyberspace and postal mail. Ed Patru, Linda McMahon’s spokesman, picked up on that theme.

So today Simmons has resent the letter — over his own signature this time.

It’s what’s known as “getting a second bite out of the apple.” And I, personally, hope, there are third, fourth, and fifth bites, as well. The questions about the drug-and-death pandemic in pro wrestling under the McMahon family’s watch need to be asserted and reasserted in every possible forum, until this dirty business is cleaned up and performers stop dying systematically for no reason other than all-the-traffic-will-bear profits.

The wrestling media, which enjoy tweaking the McMahons but in my view often don’t go nearly far enough in their criticisms of them, have been giving the Simmons letter — or the Barnett-Simmons letter — good reviews. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and Bryan Alvarez of Figure Four Weekly were especially strong on their website radio program last night. I look forward to Meltzer’s comprehensive dissection of the Ten Questions in his next issue of the Observer.

Irv Muchnick

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