To read Kevin Rennie, the Linda McMahon mouthpiece columnist for the Hartford Courant, is to confront, with twisted admiration, realpolitik at its coldest and most articulate. “You’ll see a lot about Vietnam and fallen wrestlers between now and Nov. 4,” Rennie writes today, adding ominously:
Blumenthal’s listless campaign has state Democrats moving from alarm to despair. They are clamoring for him to shine his spotlight on the use of steroids in professional wrestling, the source of McMahon’s fortune. In the sad tales of departed wrestlers, they believe, is the Kryptonite that will halt McMahon’s steady ascent.
Maybe, but her rise has come by eroding Blumenthal’s reputation with the public....
No wonder McMahon has accepted eight invitations to debate Blumenthal.
See “Foley, Blumenthal Still in Their Corners,” http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/hc-op-rennie-foley-blumenthal-0905-20100905,0,1796912.column,
For those who dislike Linda McMahon, such as the editorialists at the Connecticut Post, her relentless propaganda about Blumenthal’s small and insignificant misstatements of his Vietnam-era military service record is all she has going for her: “This race will be a good test of people’s true feelings on negative ads. If people really disapprove, they will send McMahon packing.” See “Don’t like negative ads? Prove it,” http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Don-t-like-negative-ads-Prove-it-23733.php.
Regardless, the battle is joined about as clearly as it’s going to be in this year of free-floating economic fear and political nonsense. The level of published data on McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment death mill has approached critical mass. The opinion-makers have decided that character is king. From afar, I can’t find myself disagreeing with Rennie’s assessment that Blumenthal must debate McMahon face-to-face and, if he can, spontaneously puncture a balloon inflated by controlled television advertising, slick mailings, and easily manipulated journalists and leaks.
Is there “more” on McMahon? Of course there’s more; there’s always more. Today brings this front-pager from Ed Stannard in the New Haven Register: “McMahon slammed in deaths of wrestlers; Blumenthal, others say her firm is at fault,” http://www.nhregister.com/articles/2010/09/05/news/doc4c830375dfb70636128115.txt.
On this blog, I’ll be sharing whatever more I learn in the remaining eight weeks of the campaign. As the Michael Caine character says in Miss Congeniality, I know stories that could curl your hair – and I don’t even know anything close to half the stories in the Naked City that is the McMahon family’s sleazy billion-dollar business empire.
But as the traditional final phase of the campaign season kicks off on Labor Day, the whole shootin’ match likely will come down to the debates. If Blumenthal can’t make a difference there (I started to type “if he can’t wipe the floor with McMahon,” but I’d settle for making a difference), then he will deserve the sobriquet “Martha Coakley in pants.”
And if Blumenthal can’t, then the people of Connecticut will be stuck with Linda McMahon as their next senator, whether they deserve it or not.