Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Connecticut Governmental and Political Dysfunction a Recipe for Linda McMahonism – And Vice Versa

Look, gentle readers, I don’t believe the Connecticut Labor Department’s audit of World Wrestling Entertainment independent contractor misclassification practices is more urgent than public employee union concessions – which Governor Dan Malloy either did or did not negotiate, and which in turn either are or are not meaningful for the resolution of the state’s current budget mess.

I’m not that stupid.

Still, I can’t help reiterating that Linda McMahon, co-founder and ex-CEO of WWE, was the Republican nominee for one of Connecticut’s U.S. Senate seats last year, and by some accounts she is the presumptive nominee for the other Senate seat next year. And from my critical distance – a commodity obviously in short supply among the Nutmeg State chattering classes – I happen to think that the Government and Politics 101 fumbling of the state WWE investigation is a useful microcosm of general dysfunction.

People in the state that exported the WWE franchise across the globe are showing us, to a fare-thee-well, how WWE values rule that world, as well as theirs. They were shocked, shocked, by the tawdriness of the campaigns waged in 2010, both by McMahon and against her. Then the victors, to whom go the spoils and, with great reluctance, the responsibilities, proceeded to do absolutely nothing of substance about the most meaningful policy issue exposed by the McMahon family’s entry in the electoral arena.

Now all of them – Governor Malloy (former mayor of Stamford, hometown of WWE); Senator Richard Blumenthal (who squashed McMahon by double digits in last year’s election, evidently for the privilege of bringing Google Maps to its knees); Labor Commissioner Glenn Marshall (who supports misclassification crackdowns except when they’re real rather than theoretical); and whomever the Democratic establishment will put up for retiring Senator Joe Lieberman’s seat – are ready to do it all over against Linda McMahon in 2012.

I suspect they like it that way: the easy win on Election Day, the lack of results afterward, and above all the smug sense that the joke about wrestling is on everyone except them.

Irv Muchnick

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