Muchnick Assesses the Stakes in Tomorrow’s Election for Issues Near and Dear to

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If President Obama wins, as I expect, maybe it will give him some spine in his second term to speak out about traumatic brain injury in football more coherently than he has so far done.

Then again, in this age of the Jock-in-Chief, maybe not. Obama comes out of the Punahou Prep School in Hawaii, one of the most athletics-centered institutions in the country, and the president appears to believe deeply in all the bull he espouses about the primacy of sports. Let’s at least hope he doesn’t appoint fellow Punahou alum Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as chair of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.



For me, the big question is whether the Democrats regain a majority in the House. Most centrist pundits believe they will not.

In 2009-10, spearheaded by voices like Congresswoman Linda Sánchez of California, House Judiciary Committee hearings exposed the National Football League’s manipulated and captive research on concussions. That momentum was lost when the Republicans gained control in the mid-term elections. The Commerce Committee of the Senate, where Democrats have had a steady majority (which most predict will hold tomorrow), has been ineffective — content to leave the mess of national mental health deficits of our male population at the doorstep of claims of “false advertising” by helmet manufacturers. Just accept NFL grants to the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control (and campaign donations from the NFL’s Gridiron PAC), and live unhappily ever after.

With the recent lovefest between the NFL and various female “safe football” bloggers — to which I need to return in depth soon — even a House Democratic majority might not get anything going during the brain-addled silver age of the American empire. See “Presidential election,” above.

Another issue that will be affected by the House elections is prospective investigations of the child sex abuse scandal in our Olympic swimming program. Another California representative, Mike Honda, has suggested that he might seek hearings on this subject, but such an initiative would have no chance in a Republican-controlled House.



If the Republican Linda McMahon, the Aunt Blabby of World Wrestling Entertainment,wins, then my critics will say it proves I am wrong.

If the Democrat Chris Murphy wins, then my critics will say it proves I am wrong.

Also if Murphy wins: I get to harangue him over his moral obligation to fight against the secondary market in film tax credits, which helped line McMahon’s pockets for her combined $100 million expenditure in two Senate races (roughly equivalent to the size of the losses sustained by WWE in staging the disastrous single season of XFL football on NBC in 2001). Richard Blumenthal, who defeated McMahon in 2010, hasn’t done jack about either concussions (see Senate Commerce Committee, above) or independent contractor abuse (a 2010 political-season audit of WWE by the Connecticut Labor Department fizzled weeks after the election).

The Las Vegas odds are long on my likelihood of success with a Senator Murphy, too. His Connecticut Senate predecessor, Chris Dodd, is now chief lobbyist for the Motion Picture Association of America, whose bipartisan membership finds glorious consensus in the sanctity of the tax credit scam. And I think Dodd can pour a lot more piss into Murphy’s ear than I ever could.


Irv Muchnick

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick