The occasion of Memorial Day has intensified the dissatisfaction – in some quarters, disgust – over Richard Blumenthal’s occasional puffing up of his military record. Properly so, I think.
I also think Linda McMahon is taking extraneous darts over random and often pointless gotchas in her business record at World Wrestling Entertainment, when she should be facing howitzers for central elements of it.
Blumenthal has been loose with his language about serving in the Marine Reserves “in” rather than “during” the Vietnam War.
McMahon, for her part, has erected a no-credibility stone wall in front of her memory of a possible criminal act – obstruction of justice – and no one is calling her on it.
In December 1989, based on a tip she now says came from the U.S. attorney for the middle district of Pennsylvania, McMahon told an executive of her wrestling company to tip off their steroid connection, Dr. George Zahorian, that he was under federal investigation. Her accounting for this so far has consisted of this statement to Ted Mann of The Day in New London: “I don’t pretend to remember to go back, to revisit all the aspects of that case.”
There is a double irony in Linda McMahon’s refusal to “pretend to remember,” since just about everything about her qualifications for public office is based on pretend: it seems that she only pretended to be involved in highly profitable television sleaze; and she pretended to have a degree in education when Governor Jodi Rell appointed her to the state board of education.
But, of course, her assertion of a faulty memory alone deserves howls of derision. If McMahon can’t remember central facts of the central crisis of her business career, then how can she hold herself up as a serious candidate to discharge the public’s business?
This all reminds me of one of the three conversations I’ve ever had with Linda’s husband Vince McMahon, and the only substantive one. In 1992, as a stringer for People magazine, I broke the story that Hulk Hogan, licensor of a children’s vitamin line, was a steroid abuser and a druggie. (Shocker!) On deadline, Vince agreed to a damage-control phone interview.
At one point I asked him how much his then-World Wrestling Federation had had to pay to get ABC’s John Stossel to drop a lawsuit after wrestler David Shults slapped him silly on camera.
“I don’t remember the amount,” Vince replied.
I persisted. “I find it hard to believe that a CEO wouldn’t remember a number like that,” I said.
“Don’t insult me,” Vince said. “I said I don’t remember.”
This time it’s Linda who doesn’t remember. And the insult is on the people of Connecticut.