Sunday, August 1, 2010

Linda McMahon’s Opponents Think the Women’s Vote Is Her Kryptonite. Her Market Research Knows It’s Her Secret Weapon.

[posted 7/22/10 to]

One faith I try to keep with blog readers is clearly acknowledging whenever I don’t bring to the table unique reporting or insight. This post is an example of that spirit of (hopefully) educated speculation.

Rick Green’s CT Confidential blog at the Hartford Courant has linked to a new Linda McMahon commercial playing off her dismissal of any negativity associated with her pro wrestling “soap opera,” and indeed attempting to turn that into a positive. The ever-intriguing Green snorts at the spot’s “Stepford wives” actresses, as well as at the SUV driven by one of them and the “Hermes scarf” doffed by the other.

See “McMahon Ad Targets Women Uncomfortable with WWE,”

The tactic points to a familiar motif of the McMahon campaign. Her opponents seem confident – overly confident, I’ve always felt – that the “values” represented by World Wrestling Entertainment program content were toxic to her political ambition. We can see, however, that Linda – backed by the best consultants and focus-group machinery money can buy – has always been and continues to be just as certain that a businesswoman running on her business experience has a significant gender-gap advantage. Her TV ads and her mailers have been almost fetishistically female, and that is no accident.

And this all comes back to something I’ve been shouting toward Connecticut, from 3,000 miles, for months. Women don’t want to be told whom they “should” be supporting any more than any other unhomogeneous group does. Freud didn’t know what women want and neither do I. If women, or Republicans, or Christian rightists, are keeping two sets of moral books on Linda McMahon, that’s their problem. Hypocrisy isn’t what’s killing people in the wrestling industry Linda and her husband Vince supervise. What’s killing them are disgraceful, if not nonexistent, occupational health and safety standards.

So that’s one takeout for me. I’ve said it a lot of times in a lot of different ways, and I won’t belabor it here.

My second takeout is this: Green, raising his electronic eyebrow in what has become something of a tick of his political coverage, says of the new McMahon commercial, “Somehow, this has the feeling of something planned long ago.”

Green expressed the same suspicion of lack of spontaneity about the still-unidentified front group “Mothers Opposing McMahon.”

As Linda McMahon said back in January on Face the State, she is proud of her success “in a very testosterone-loaded business.” Those who scoff at this, just like those who underestimate the McMahons for any other reason, do so at their peril.

Irv Muchnick

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