As Alanis Morrissette sang, “Isn’t it ironic?”
Who could have guessed that the major candidate in Connecticut this year who is driving the most discussion of real things would be Linda McMahon of World Wrestling Entertainment?
True, it’s about politics, and the Tipper used to remind us that all politics is local. But there’s no denying that while many standard-brand candidates represent only onanistic gamesmanship themes (think Bysiewicz’s opportunism, Blumenthal’s grandstanding), McMahon is finding that her dubiously touted career as a billion-dollar businesswoman places her in the crosshairs of specific policy debates.
Now, I’m not trying to imply that Linda wanted it this way. It’s inadvertent, a law of unintended consequences. Without a doubt, she would prefer to dazzle the rabblement with weepy TV ads and seduce the media with talk of her wealth, her gauche husband’s yacht Sexy Bitch, and their joint generation-long project to drive deviancy down on television and drive traffic up on YouTube. She doesn’t want to get confronted about WWE’s federal tax breaks or its licensees’ outsourcing.
Whatever. McMahon buys the commercial time but she doesn’t drive the conversation bus. Everywhere she turns, her “fictional” entertainment empire has yielded the actions and reactions of real-world physics, which her candidacy ensures will be daily sifted and considered by a kicking-and-screaming public.
Thus, the Nutmeg State isn’t only pondering whether Triple H will be Linda’s chief legislative counsel. Voters are also hearing about the high school athlete concussion bill in the Connecticut legislature – a piece of statecraft inspired by the research by Dr. Bennet Omalu on the brains of prematurely dead WWE wrestlers Chris Benoit and Andrew “Test” Martin. In between studying Q polls as obsessively as Tiger Woods’ cell phone address book, newspapers every once in a while take up who killed Congressional investigations of WWE drugs and death, and how they did it.
And did someone mention that “health care” was in the air?
Then there are independent contractors. The abuse of this classification is costing workers insurance, vacations, and sick leave, and governments payroll tax revenues. For decades, WWE has been getting away with the legal legerdemain that its tightly controlled, benefit-free performers were independent contractors, and now President Obama has taken on the issue, partly to reduce the federal budget deficit.
Right on cue, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal – who would be Linda McMahon’s general election U.S. Senate opponent in the fall if she gets past fellow Republican Rob Simmons – has jumped on this bandwagon. “AG would boost fines for firms that misclassify workers,” headlines The Connecticut Mirror at http://www.ctmirror.org/story/5197/ag-would-boost-fines-firms-misclassify-workers.
“This is cheating, plain and simple,” Blumenthal said.
If World Wrestling Entertainment has a foreign policy, I’m sure we’ll find that out before too long, as well.