In the race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Chris Dodd, Connecticut voters should remember that they’re choosing someone to represent them on every issue, not just one.
Linda McMahon, the former WWE CEO, has made it clear what she’s running on. To borrow a phrase from a very successful politician, “It’s the economy, stupid,” and on that front she has very strong views: cut taxes in all forms, reduce regulations on businesses and stop deficit spending. Her successful background in the business world gives her a leg to stand on when it comes to these issues, whether you agree with her or not. However, on other issues, such as health care, education, energy and the environment, she lacks the kind of plans and vision that her opponent, Richard Blumenthal LAW ’73, has laid out.
That said, Blumenthal is far from the ideal candidate. This newspaper is disappointed by the lack of integrity shown by his false claims to have fought during the Vietnam War, which is exactly the kind of political cynicism that alienates so many young voters and harms the public trust.
Blumenthal has also shown a tendency to overemphasize the power of government to influence the economy. When asked in a recent senatorial debate, “How do you create a job?” Blumenthal waffled. His opponent answered the same question in a clear, concise sentence.
But that’s not to say Blumenthal doesn’t have ideas for pushing the economy forward, which will ultimately be his job as a senator. In fact, his progressive plans are precisely the kind of ideas that don’t seem to be getting through to legislators in Washington. Growing the green energy industry and reforming education in America are right up there in Blumenthal’s platform. It is initiatives like these, and not just tax and regulatory policy, that will play an enormous role in strengthening America’s economy not just now but decades from now. We also applaud Blumenthal for his particular dedication to defending the Long Island Sound from development by oil and gas companies, demonstrating his commitment to advocating for Connecticut issues on a national level. McMahon, on the other hand, places energy and education at the bottom of her list of priorities. Despite her focus on the economy, she devotes more space on her website to ragging on Obamacare than to either of these critical national issues.
This lack of coherency is the biggest fault in McMahon’s platform. While she has a broad range of economic proposals, we have little faith she will be a strong advocate for Connecticut on anything else. The fact that Blumenthal, on the other hand, is a career public servant, having served as the state’s Attorney General since 1990, is almost refreshing in a political climate where it seems anyone associated with government is shunned by the electorate.
The bottom line is that no one senator can do anything on his or her own, and building consensus is likely to only become more important when the results of today’s elections are tabulated across the nation. Richard Blumenthal has spent decades working on behalf of Connecticut taxpayers — he knows how to be their voice in the national debate. Linda McMahon might offer some valuable input on economic issues, but her experience in business is overshadowed by her lack of it in politics.