Why Richard Blumenthal Isn’t Complaining That Much About WWE’s In-Kind Corporate Contributions to Linda McMahon

Today the story that no one in Connecticut is telling is that the Senate race is over. Richard Blumenthal has won and Linda McMahon has lost. Dick could develop a terminal case of gout or be caught on video in his Harvard swim team Speedo while oil-wrestling with the founder of Craigslist; otherwise, the $50 Million Woman is done. No number of “Stand Up for WWE” Facebook scribblings, or footage of Bob Barker and Florence Henderson gushing about how great it was to guest-host Raw, can change the fact that the female vote is breaking 2-to-1 against the female candidate.

I don’t blame my journalistic brethren for their reluctance to go out on a limb as much as I just did. Predictions are fraught. Besides, there are only 13 days left, and the denouement of Vince and Linda McMahon’s invasion of national politics is just so much fun to watch unfold. Linda2010 makes the World Bodybuilding Federation and the XFL football league – their most spectacular past  failures – look like warm-up acts.

Two things strike me about the current mainstream coverage. One is the story of World Wrestling Entertainment’s in-kind corporate contributions to the Linda campaign, which have transformed in recent days from latent to blatant. Yet the Blumenthal campaign has hardly raised a peep.

Why? Because Blumenthal knows that “Stand Up for WWE” is a net campaign loser, putting WWE “back on the front burner,” as the report on WTNH television well put it. The Blumies are not about to take the bait of helping a bit of contrived tinhorn populism become the real thing. In a response that could have been written word for word by your humble blogger (if I may say so myself), Blumenthal spokeswoman Mindy Myers said, “There is nothing that will hide or change [Linda McMahon’s] record of forcing her wrestlers to sign death clauses, canceling steroid testing to improve her bottom line, and paying lobbyists to get her out from under health and safety rules. The people of Connecticut have good reason to be concerned about that record, and now about her corporation’s attempt to influence this election.”

The Linda McMahon campaign itself has a hopelessly convoluted and desperate two-pronged approach to the remaining time before Election Day – a strategy captured in Paul Bass’s article in the New Haven Independent on Linda’s “stealth” tours of business districts. The vaguely patronizing tone of stories about how well-spoken and charming McMahon is on the ground in one-on-one conversations with ordinary people tells you all you need to know about which candidate is poised to win only the booby prize on November 2.

Irv Muchnick

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