ZELINSKY: McMahon bodyslams Conn. GOP

On Point

Come November, Connecticut may have a Republican senator. And that prospect has me — a registered Republican — deeply troubled.

Surprisingly, the Senate race between Republican Linda McMahon and Democrat Chris Murphy is close. Now, this isn’t McMahon’s first attempt for a Senate seat. She ran, and lost, against Richard Blumenthal in 2010. It is quite possible that McMahon’s defeat cost a qualified Republican, Ambassador Tom Foley, the governorship, as Republican voters deserted the party ticket and Foley lost by a handful of votes. McMahon may now beat Murphy, a conventional and uninspiring liberal.

In August, McMahon trounced her primary opponent, former Republican Congressman Chris Shays. She outspent him with her own fortune; McMahon ads blanketed radios and televisions. And Connecticut’s once-proud Republican Party apparatus got behind her because of Shays’ record of moderation and bipartisanship. Poor Chris Shays never had a chance.

So what’s the problem with McMahon?

Linda McMahon’s wealth comes from her company, World Wrestling Entertainment. WWE pits personas like “The Dudley Boyz” against “The Undertaker,” ostensibly to wrestle. What actually goes on? Well, in one fight, McMahon herself kicked a guy in the groin. Scantily-clad women are the norm. Other Connecticut pundits have termed WWE’s sexualized brutality “borderline pornography.” That’s a pretty tame description of some pretty bad stuff.

McMahon built a business that teaches young boys two lessons: Violence is okay, and women are objects for brutal sex. The moral seams of the American middle class are fraying for a number of reasons, from declining marriage rates to poor education. And McMahon’s WWE may simply be supplying folks with the entertainment they already want.

But that doesn’t make it any better. WWE is filth — pure and simple. It’s the stuff sensible mothers (social conservatives, feminists and just plain moms) forbid their sons from watching. Just because people watch it willingly doesn’t make it any better.

McMahon and her values do not belong in the United States Senate.

Now, her campaign has an interesting argument. Linda, they say, just handled operations. She never controlled creative content at WWE. She’s just an ordinary CEO. Never mind the fact that she once body-slammed another woman on video.

But, in the August primary, Republicans voters bought it, convincing themselves that McMahon is a job creator, and that’s what matters. They managed to ignore WWE and the message it promotes.

Bizarrely, bigwigs in the state GOP also got behind McMahon, nominating her at the state convention. The Connecticut party is weak and generally ineffectual, but Republican pols could have stopped McMahon. So why did they support her? Because she is an outsider, not a “lawyer or a career politician,” as one her ads so proudly claims.

With the Tea Party came a new mindset for many Republicans: Any current or former public official is suspect, until proven otherwise. And any compromise, any bipartisanship, any deviation from the party line is intolerable. Unfortunately, the thoughtful Chris Shays flunked on both counts, only voting with the Republicans about 80 percent of the time in Congress.

Here’s the ironic rub: On the issues, McMahon is actually fairly moderate, even to the left of Shays in some of her rhetoric. Tea Party Republicans were not getting a more conservative candidate when they nominated her. But they still wanted an outsider.

Some national Republicans warned about McMahon’s unsettling credentials. To their credit, Karl Rove and John McCain both weighed in for Chris Shays. But other conservative mandarins, who should have known better, were noticeably silent. National Review’s Rich Lowry took some well-justified swipes at McMahon in 2010, but the magazine has apparently made its peace with the Nutmeg State’s Hugh Hefner this time around. So has The Wall Street Journal. And the list goes on.

If Connecticut Republicans want to stand for values, they need to disown Linda McMahon.

Nathaniel Zelinsky is a senior in Davenport College. Contact him at nathaniel.zelinsky@yale.edu.


  • River_Tam

    Pro wrestling is “borderline pornography”?

    You’re just showing how out-of-touch you are with “Middle America”. I remember a year when I couldn’t go ten feet without seeing someone wearing an Austin 3:16 shirt.

  • LauraC629


    Obviously you have never watched a current WWE show or you would know that there are just as many women (moms) and children in attendance as there are men. I for one enjoy taking my children and I have a master’s degree from GWU; obviously not Yale but still a pretty decent school. Your elitist point of view on something you obviously know very little about is insulting.

    All you have to do is conduct a simple search on Google on WWE and Moms and you will come across many blogs where Mothers have taken their children to live events and loved it.




    You really should do some research next time you write on a topic–it may help you further your journalism career. There was much worse on TV when WWE went through its attitude era in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Regardless, today’s WWE is TV-PG when most shows are still TV-14. The one thing that has been constant is the fact the WWF/WWE has always been enjoyed by families across the country and world.

  • NG16

    Right on, Nathaniel. Ignore those other people.

  • RexMottram08

    I agree with your concern over WWE’s content.

    But I am supportive of the Tea Party’s anti-incumbency efforts.

  • molly

    I am a Republican, but will be voting for Chris Murphy this election. I met and spoke with Linda McMahon and was appaled at her ignorance. She has no depth on any of the issues we face in CT. I also came away with the feeling that she is not a decent human being. When I pumped her on health insurance she didn’t seem to know much and became quite snarky. Plus anyone who owns a 3 million dollar yacht named “Sexy Bitch”, kicks men in the groin on WWE, tells parents that her WWE programs are family friendly, and never paid back her creditors after she filed for bankruptcy is an immoral person. I am a teacher and don’t want my students to follow her example. Plus, with all her money she has been a bully and I feel her attacking Murphy is only so she doesn’t have to talk about the important things. She is a creation and puppet of Cory Bliss. Maybe he should be the candidate – but he’s a loon. Sorry Republican – she’s classless!

  • River_Tam

    Ah, the political shills start coming out of the woodwork now.