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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.

CuriousOrange August 31, 2012 at 12:13 PM
The phrase "moderate Republican" is a 20th-century anachronism and a 21st-century oxymoron. As for "ideal," she would have to have a record of public service -- rather than self-service -- before I could begin to contemplate her as a candidate.
Jim Ravis August 31, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Linda will be no more effective as a Senator than a mosquito getting blood from a marshmallow. She says she is for the American worker, but created wrestling dolls to add profits to her company. I don't think the dolls were made by American Workers. I haven't heard anything about the famous "Tip-Off Memo" that she wrote after the steroid scandal hit WWE. That memo seemed to part of her demise when she ran in 2010. I wonder if she encouraged to usage of the drug?
Anne K. Mulligan August 31, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Before you vote, have a look at what passes for family entertainment at the WWE. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8HMvjQIz5w
Shirley B. Backus September 01, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Before you vote, read Linda McMahon's campaign material. If you think she's going to give tax relief to the middle class, think again. She thinks the middle class earns an average of $125,000 a year. I just read on a website that the median family in Stratford earns about $53,000 per year. How much of a tax break can the middle class expect if those earning $125,000 a year get $6,000 in tax breaks that the rest of us will have to make up for?
Job NOW - not more welfare September 02, 2012 at 12:18 AM
I guess 0bama record of public service as a community organizer (what is that?) and voting present qualified him for exactly what?
Job NOW - not more welfare September 02, 2012 at 12:21 AM
and Murphy'a accomplishments are what? Collecting a paycheck from the government? Let's here more about his magnanimous job creation. Brick sidewalks in Devon?
Job NOW - not more welfare September 02, 2012 at 12:29 AM
I'm not looking at a politician for family entertainment. If you were, perhaps the Weathermen Bombers Dorhn & Ayres would be relevant - that was real entertainment. I vividly remember that Townhouse that exploded in NYC & those campuses bombs. How about Rev. Wright & Farakeen (sp?) that's even more entertaining. How about those Kennedy's raping & whoring around. What fine examples of entertainment. Remember this ... IT'S THE ECONOMY STUPID
Job NOW - not more welfare September 02, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Tax relief in Stratford needs to be Property Tax relief to escape the excessive compensation and even greater pensions & benefits provided to the Public Service Unions. Public servants = an oxymoron. Ask not what you government can do for you - yadda, yadda, yadda Self reliance & the Family unit is the answer to most of these problem ... not gimme, gimme like state workers collecting SNAP benefits. Free loaders all
OpportunistWatch September 02, 2012 at 12:56 PM
She will continue to sellout American labor to low cost overseas MFG. She made millions upon millions off of cheap CHINESE WWE accessories. Whats bad is that the Chinese pump millions of dollars in counterfeit WWE items into America as well. She is a no friend to the American worker because for every job she claims to have created in at the WWE she put 10X more to work overseas. Sneaky Linda would fit perfect in the seat next to Blumenthal and Rosa Greenberg who is one of the fifty richest congressman from Connecticut and have abused her seat for over 20 years like Joe LIEberman the Iraq war hinge voter.
DenyWelfareBums September 02, 2012 at 07:06 PM
How about those 600 jobs created by her company? And Murphy created how many? One by my tally - HIS So where are all the 0bama bobble head dolls made? Give me a break. 600 to 1 I'll take any day. Get off the couch, do something, create something.
Jim Ravis September 05, 2012 at 04:59 PM
"Last month, McMahon ran an ad suggesting her tax plan would cut the average Connecticut family’s federal income taxes by $6,000 a year. Among a number of problems we cited in that ad was the fact that it failed to disclose that the purported savings did not represent a drop from what families currently paid in taxes, but rather was a comparison to what they would pay in future years if the Bush tax cuts were to expire at the end of December, leading to a jump in tax rates." from... http://courantblogs.com/investigative-reporting/claim-check-chris-murphy-on-linda-mcmahons-business-and-political-plans/

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