Is Linda McMahon the Ideal Moderate Republican?

Linda McMahon is almost every moderate Republican's ideal candidate -- except for her family's controversial business, the WWE. Can she win over Connecticut's blue-leaning voters?

Voters in Connecticut’s recent Republican primary chose Linda McMahon to run against Democrat challenger Chris Murphy in November’s election for U.S. Senate. Barring any unforeseen events, either Murphy or McMahon will occupy the retiring Senator Joseph Lieberman’s seat – and the race, once thought to be a shoe-in for Murphy, appears increasingly up for grabs.

Last week, many readers reminded me that – hey! – isn’t Patch about local news? So, mouse in hand, I decided to learn everything I could about Mrs. McMahon in preparation for this week’s column. As I read campaign website fluff pieces, political blogs and just-the-facts websites such as OnTheIssues and FactCheck, I realized that this candidate is the embodiment of the years-long internal Republican Party battle between the social moderates and social conservatives.    

Undoubtedly, party leadership gets it -- the odds of a far-right-winger winning our traditionally blue state are slim to none. And, up until recently, most pundits never even gave McMahon a chance – and her double-digit loss to Richard Blumenthal in the 2010 Senate race appears to bear out that assertion.

To McMahon’s credit, she didn’t give up – and she’s spent millions of her own money in the process, waging a public relations campaign that paints her more as everyone’s favorite grandma rather than the professional wrestling CEO who once kicked her husband in the groin for television entertainment purposes and whose company, the WWE, came under investigation for allegedly promoting steroids abuse among its wrestlers.

On my plus side: Linda McMahon understands business and the economy. She understands what it’s like to struggle financially, unlike many modern candidates. She supports abortion rights but doesn’t believe the federal government should subsidize it. She supports openly-gay military service, and believes same sex marriage should be a state’s rights issue.  (See? Something for every far-right and far-left advocate to hate! But that’s about as much social compromise as Republicans are willing to offer.)

The Greenwich-residing McMahon family has donated millions to education, literacy and non-partisan voter-registration charitable efforts. Linda herself donates her time to a variety of causes I believe in, including the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the Special Olympics and more. She’s also earned many service awards, on behalf of herself and the WWE.

Nevertheless, as the former CEO of WWE, Linda McMahon made millions objectifying women and glorifying violence -- although she brushed off that criticism by calling WWE events a “soap opera.” Plus, in addition to the steroid abuse problem, 2010 campaign foe Richard Blumenthal criticized McMahon and the WWE for accepting Connecticut tax breaks while putting 10 percent of the WWE employees out of work.

The WWE also faced criticism that it didn’t provide health care or disability benefits to its wrestlers, who sometimes sustain serious injuries – although they are independent contractors, and the WWE is under no legal obligation to do so.

Regardless, McMahon's business background is fair game and voters will decide how much the company's image really matters. Many have speculated that McMahon cleaned up the company's image years ago for political rather than moral reasons. 

Regardless, I think McMahon represents a real-world-savvy viewpoint. I think she will attract moderate voters – especially young Republican voters, if The New York Times is to be believed. Even Paul Ryan, the ultra-conservative VP selection of Mitt Romney, is downplaying his extreme views on issues such as abortion and same sex marriage in favor of focusing attention on where it should be: the economy.

A Republican polling expert for Romney-supporting super PAC called Crossroads Generation told the Times, “just as young people don’t have to buy a whole album on iTunes and can pick and choose just the songs they like, they can customize their political views – and they do.”

A Pew Research Center study found that young Republicans view increased marital and workplace diversity as positive changes for the better – a marked shift from even 10 years ago. The shift that independent-right voters report is one toward decreased government, a stronger economic focus and increased personal (social) freedoms.

And, cheesy televised plotlines notwithstanding, McMahon appears to best represent those ideals.

Amused August 28, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Crusader, You deride WWE as being a form of inappropriate entertainment that features rape and the brutalization of women, and this is associated with McMahon. I mentioned that liberals, in their quest for entertainment and laughs, also make funny with rape and brutality towards women. If McMahon, as a candidate, is to be found guilty of such things, then those attached to liberalism who do the same things, need to be taken into account as well. McMahon is one person; liberalism is a political ideal shared by millions.
Carl August 28, 2012 at 07:15 PM
With the exception of Family Guy, kids would find all those shows about as entertaining as the Farm Report. Kids love wrestling. WWE is also singularly different from all those examples because it exists at the nexus of reality and fiction (also occupied by 'reality' television, but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone advocating Snooki for senator). Most children past the age of reason can tell that the bad guy on Law and Order :SVU is just an actor pretending to be a bad guy, not so much with the 'talent' on WWE. Moreover, nobody cheers for the SVU bad guy, but I'm sure plenty of people were cheering for Triple H in that clip above.
Crusader Rabbit August 28, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Michael, um no -your argument is specious. That would be like holding all republicans or conservatives liable for the comments of Jesse Helms, Todd Akin, Sarah Palin or any other dim bulb affiliated with that party or conservatism.
Paul Improta August 28, 2012 at 07:36 PM
That's your opinion, Carl, that's all it is; and I'm guessing you nor the Crusader would have been voting for a Republican anyway, right?
Amused August 28, 2012 at 07:47 PM
"McMahon is one person; liberalism is a political ideal shared by millions." I figured this would stump you, Crusader. McMahon is one person running for an office. She is more than the sum total of all her parts, and can change. Liberalism, however, cannot change and will continue to be offensive and hypocritical.
Crusader Rabbit August 28, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Sorry Michael, I'm not stumped and your argument is still specious. Let's see if you can understand this (I'll paraphrase): "Legitimate rape rarely results in pregnancy" - Todd Akin, conservative republican "Giving birth of of wed lock is like giving birth from a pregnancy resulting from rape" - Tom Smith conservative republican candidate for US Senate from PA This two characters are both morons, ignorant of biology and members or the conservative republican movement. By your (il) logic, all conservatives and/or all republicans are ignorant and offensive and there really is a war on women. Wait, maybe your correct.
Paul Improta August 28, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Crusader - why are you people so fixated on peripheral issues? I suspect you are of the male persuasion. Does anyone think if the Republicans get in that anything will be done with abortion? No. It's a Red Herring dangled by the liberal press and their surrogates, including you, Crusader Rabbit to distract from the fact that Obama is a failure. When it comes down to it, the war in our society is not against women, but it's a Democrat war against children of every stripe. First, they want to be free to kill their children before they emerge from the womb, and it's not just in the event of rape, incest or the life of the mother, it's also for genetic disease and for gender selection; and in the case of Obama himself, he voted to kill babies that survive a botched abortion! Then they want to laden all those that survive birth with all sorts of debt right out of the womb. They are prepared to let Medicare go into the red, they already have let Social Security go into the red and they just keep piling more and more debt on children with no end in sight. Talk about a spiritually and socially bankrupt party, but we just want to talk about Todd Akin, and Rush Limbo calling some promiscuous grad student who doesn't want to pay for her own birth control, and obviously she is engaging those as broke as she is, a slut. Thes are important issues to the guy who has been out of work due to poor fiscal and economic policies, and the president plays golf, goes on vaca and makes speeches.
johnqpublic August 28, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Whatever you think of the WWE, they employ 660 and support other jobs and our economy with those who work to support their events. They've also paid 40 million in taxes past 4 years: http://www.hoovers.com/company/World_Wrestling_Entertainment_Inc/ckxhci-1-1nji3j-1njhft.html
Crusader Rabbit August 29, 2012 at 12:50 AM
@Paul, it's only a peripheral issue until it's your wife, daughter or sister and you're correct - I am indeed a guy. Do I think the republicans would try and outlaw abortion? Just look at the record in those states where they have complete control of the legislature and governor - that's exactly what they try to do. Up to and including trans-vaginal probes - practicing medicine without a license at the least. By the way, your repetition of lamebaugh's ignorant comment betrays your own ignorance. Have you never thought of the inequity of an insurance company paying for your pecker pills but not for a women's birth control?
Paul Improta August 29, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Crusader - Until it's my wife, daughter what; wanted to kill the baby for gender-selection purposes? Don't lecture me about people and their irresponsible behavior. My wife was adopted, her birth mother was 16. The Catholic church took her mother in. If Abortion had been legal, she would never had been known, and my children would never had been born. As for you statement about pecker pills proves your ignorance. Pecker pills treat a bodily dysfunction, since pregnancy is the expected and foreseen outcome of intercourse then female prescribed contraception causes a bodily dysfunction. Only in the minds of the self-absorbed can a deliberate illness be considered medically necessary.
Amused August 29, 2012 at 02:27 AM
@Paul, "As for you statement about pecker pills proves your ignorance. Pecker pills treat a bodily dysfunction, since pregnancy is the expected and foreseen outcome of intercourse then female prescribed contraception causes a bodily dysfunction. Only in the minds of the self-absorbed can a deliberate illness be considered medically necessary." Pregnancy isn't a bodily dysfunction, Paul: President Obama says it's a punishment, remember?
Crusader Rabbit August 29, 2012 at 11:27 AM
@Paul, I wasn't talking about your family specifically of course but of course you're think is that rigid and so without imagination and empathy you took it that way. And somebody needs to lecture you as you and so many republicans seem to think you have the right to impose your beliefs on others. Smaller government indeed, just small enough to intrude into the most personal parts of a person's life. Hypocrite.
Paul Improta August 29, 2012 at 12:30 PM
You asked me a question about wife, daughter, sister - if you weren't asking about my family, then who would these people be?
Mary McGovern August 29, 2012 at 01:22 PM
CT GOP delegates treated as outcasts among the rabid right-wing conservatives who dominate the republican party. Sounds like the war on women folks are in control http://www.newstimes.com/local/article/CT-delegation-often-alone-at-the-party-3822399.php
Paul Improta August 29, 2012 at 02:03 PM
What constitutes a "war on women" folk? Why don't we talks about the Democrats war on children, shall we? In a group of people who are more concerned about killing their inconvenient child for any reason including that it is of the wrong gender, with a president who voted three times to kill the survivor of the botched procedure - he's there in spirit with an ice pick to the forehead to assure it has no chance of survival, and if a child is lucky enough to survive pregnancy under the Democrats, it could then emerge into a world where the Democrats have saddled the poor child immediately with $50,000 in federal debt and with no plan to save Social Security or Medicare. War on women? A red herring that proves the party of JFK is reduced to petty causes and class envy, and is bereft of any constructive ideas. Yeah, defend that agenda. The party of baby killers and debt enslavers.
Mary McGovern August 29, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Paul, you want to defend these GOP racists also? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2195088/2012-GOP-Convention-Race-row-brews-CNN-claim-black-crew-member-nuts-thrown-her.html?ITO=1490
Paul Improta August 29, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Yeah, Mary, who was the alleged "perpetrator"? It doesn't say. It could've been made up, or ot could've been the janitor that has nothing to do with the convention, but the media - in this case CNN - is using the alleged incident as a launch point to throw water on the RNC's attempt to reach minorities, and when 97% of blacks say they are voting for Obama, one must consider this whole episode suspect and possibly contrived. It can also be part of potential collsion between various press outlets to suppress access to minorities, or to shape opinion by conjuring up a caricature to veil the truth. Want to see racists? How about MSNBC? They are guilty of censorship and journalistic malpractice. http://www.redalertpolitics.com/2012/08/28/msnbc-cuts-every-speech-made-by-a-minority-from-rnc-speech-coverage/
Mary McGovern August 29, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Come on Paul, spin away, but it happened. Just shows the racial bigotry and ignorance of the delegates involved. Sometime Tuesday afternoon, an attendee at the Republican National Convention in Tampa threw peanuts at a black female CNN camerawoman and shouted at her "This is how we feed animals," according to David Schuster of Take Action News, who's attending the RNC and first reported the incident on Twitter. CNN confirmed to Talking Points Memo that an incident indeed occurred and that a person was booted from the convention, although the identity of both the CNN worker and the person who made the slur (and may have also committed an assault) has not yet been revealed. CNN wrote in a brief statement to Talking Points Memo: “CNN can confirm there was an incident directed at an employee inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum earlier this afternoon. CNN worked with convention officials to address this matter and will have no further comment.” Update: The Secret Service, which has jurisdiction inside the convention venue, told the Washington Post that it's referring questions about the incident to the Republican National Committee. In other words, it's horrible, but not criminal.
Paul Improta August 29, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Yeah, David Shuster- Keith Olbermann's buddy, right? CNN camera woman - CNN Talking Points. Mary, you're losing credibility. An MSNBC hack and a black CNN camerwoman in close proximity to each other at the "other people's" convention. Sounds like fertile ground for a conspiracy. And, who was the alleged perpetrator, Mary? Was he the janitor, was he the union-required venue handtruck pusher? Was he the union-required venue electrician? Was he a food service employee? They're not telling. It might dillute the value of the story. And, what about MSNBC's "blackout" of minority coverage, Mary? Do you have an answer for that?
Paul Improta August 29, 2012 at 05:13 PM
And, by the way, Mary, even the Mail covered their butts by refering to the "alleged" incident.
Carl August 29, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Really, Paul? Cutting away from floor speeches by back benchers who happen to be minorities = throwing food at a woman and calling her an animal. That's what you want to put out on your shield? Your attempt at false equivalency is stretched so thin you can see right through it. If they cut Dr. Rice's speech, who is actually notable, then we'll talk.
MBP August 29, 2012 at 05:24 PM
MSNBC and Fox chose not to show the exact same speeches (with one exception), so by your reasoning Fox news is also racist. http://www.mediaite.com/tv/msnbc-falsely-accused-of-purposely-omitting-minority-republican-speeches/
Paul Improta August 29, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Did you and Carl and Mary all get on the red phone? I know how much you libs love a mob scene, that way you can shout down your opponent. Then you could give each other "high fives" for successfully bullying. Media -a -ite - now there's a credible news source. And David Shuster - the Obama sycophant who was tossed from MSNBC until he was made to apoligize because even he was over the line violating the PC rule that you can only talk ill about Conservatives and Republicans, but not fellow sojourners. Obviously Shuster thought he'd score some points when he accused Hillary Clinton's campaign of "pimping out Chelsea Clinton" who had been campaigning for her mother in 2008.
Carl August 29, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Paul, No red phone needed. Can't speak for them, but I'm sick of the phony 'both sides do it' meme. Sorry your buddies Bill and Donny aren't around, then we could make it a proper royal rumble. Maybe next time. Also too, Protip: And if you want to look down your nose at a news organization, it's best not to post a link to some backwater blog. Google (Ranks 1 in page views) Mediate (Ranks ~ 6,000 in page views) Redalert politics (Ranks ~ 240,000 in page views) http://www.webstatsdomain.com/domains/www.mediaite.com/ http://www.webstatsdomain.com/domains/www.redalertpolitics.com/
Paul Improta August 29, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Not looking down my nose, just questioning the voracity of their claims, after all, we know what sort of audience they attract.
Mary McGovern August 29, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Paul - The convention confirmed the incident in a statement late Tuesday.!!!!!!!!! Two people were ejected from the Republican National Convention when they threw nuts at a black CNN camera woman and said "this is how we feed animals," the network said Wednesday. "CNN can confirm there was an incident directed at an employee inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum" on Tuesday, the opening day of a gala at which former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will accept his party's nomination to challenge President Barack Obama in November's election. "CNN worked with convention officials to address this matter and will have no further comment." Several witnesses observed the exchange, CNN reported, and convention security personnel immediately removed the two people from the forum. The convention confirmed the incident in a statement late Tuesday. "Two attendees tonight exhibited deplorable behavior. Their conduct was inexcusable and unacceptable. This kind of behavior will not be tolerated," organizers said. The incident is surely not what Republicans wanted 10 weeks out from the election. Romney has struggled to attract African American voters as well as Hispanics, and he is also on the wrong side of the gender gap, with polls consistently showing women voters preferring Obama to Romney.
Paul Improta August 29, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Carl, more evidence of a vast left-wing conspiracy to inject race in the RNC http://bit.ly/OuC8g7 Listen to David Chalian, Washington Bureau Chief for Yahoo News have a chuckle, unaware he was on mic, that Mitt Romney "isn't concerned at all" refering to Hurricane Isaac, "they are happy to have a party while black people drown". Funny, I seem to recall the RNC was postponed a day, a Bobby Jindal (R) Louisiana chose to cancel his attendance at the "party" to mind his state. I also noticed the only one who was out campaigning and shaking down contributors while Isaac was making landfall was none other than the huckster in-chief, Barack Obama, who is out on his "piss on their fire" tour, hoping to distract people from focusing in on his hapless 4 years, while the media does everything it can to help with tabloidism and unsubstantiated allegations, and now an apparent collusion to inject racism into the mix.
Paul Improta August 29, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Who were they? It's as credible as an "unnamed source". And another opportunity to repeat the talking points
PJ August 29, 2012 at 09:18 PM
If 97% of african americans are voting for obama I would hope that 97% of white people of European heritage vote for Mitt Romney.
Bill Hillman August 30, 2012 at 12:32 AM
I'd be happy if 97% of all eligible voters voted!


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