Thursday, June 24, 2010

McMahon And Blumenthal

Linda McMahon, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, presents a problem for her opponents, both those within the Blumenthal campaign and their sympathizers in the media.

It is very difficult, for various reasons, for them to plot an effective campaign of attack. Politically, McMahon has no past. She is a tabula rossa, unlike Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who has a record in office, a highly flattering account written mostly by himself, with the help and concurrence of much of Connecticut’s media. Lately, Blumenthal has taken some wacks concerning his fictitious and highly romanticized record of service in the Marine Corp. Many of the people writing about Blumenthal more or less concede that the attorney general will weather a storm that has caused other politicians to loose their positions. There is little security in stealing the valor of heroic Marines. But according to the prevailing calculus, Blumenthal has, over a period of 20 years, accumulated favors enough to overcome such demerits.

When Richard Hine, who had worked in the attorney general’s office for more than 23 years, publicly accused the attorney general of having lied about his service in the Marines, it was hinted that Hine was an ingrate. Hine’s letter begins by commending Blumenthal for having offered to help him and his daughter during a period of great difficulty. Soon to be divorced and facing the prospect of being shipped off to the Persian Gulf, Blumenthal had generously offered his private phone number to Hine’s daughter should she need advise or consolation. At almost the same time, Blumenthal told the USMC Judge Advocate that he would not have as difficult a time as the attorney general -- who had served in Vietnam. Hine knew this to be untrue. He kept silent about the matter from a sense of obligation. But when Blumenthal finely was caught by the New York Times in what Hine knew to be a lie, competing obligations came to the fore, and he tried to release to the press a letter in which he apologized for the attorney general on the part of marines whose valor Blumenthal had stolen. Hine recalled that the attorney general had made the false claim at various venues on about five different occasions.

Hine’s charge, by this time, simply confirmed other reports that Blumenthal had padded his service record. Three or four commentators, some of whom had in the past warmed up to the attorney general journalistically and were not given to exploring the psychology involved in Blumenthal’s several “misspeakings,” both defended the attorney general, whose account by then had been thoroughly discredited, while attacking the Times and Hine. The Hine narrative, one journalist commented, seemed strange, very odd. Why had Hine not maintained the stoic silence he had preserved for 20 years? Why speak out now? A report that Hine had been written up by Blumenthal’s office years earlier suggested a possible motive: A disgruntled employee saw Connecticut’s Achilles hobbling about with an arrow piercing his heel and thought – strike now!

Hine said he had just gotten fed up with Blumenthal’s artful lies. The time had come to pull the burr from beneath his saddle: Enough was enough! And Hine pointed out that he had been promoted after his write-up, disarming suggested motives of vengeance.

Blumenthal has yet to deny Hine’s narrative.

Most of the arrows aimed at McMahon thus far relate to her activity as a former CEO of World Wide Entertainment.

Wrestling is not everyone’s cup of tea, and some of the narratives constructed by McMahon’s husband and daughter would make a saint blush. Besides, the visuals – men built like monster-trucks stomping other men; hints of betrayal and skullduggery within the McMahon clan; intimations of sadomasochism and worse -- though certainly not as distasteful as Madonna videos, were perfect as campaign slings and arrows. That old campaigner and destructor-elect Lenin use to say that if you could discredit an argument, or by extension a political opponent, it was not necessary to dispute it. And here was putative proof at hand -- UTube clips no less -- showing that McMahon was not, as was her worthy opponent, a saint George, lance in hand, rushing upon greedy capitalistic dragons and running them through. A public gooder only in the sense that she had provided employment for the valiant soldiers of WWE and other collateral enterprises, surely refined Republicans in this bluest of blue state would not choose McMahon as their nominee to the U.S. Senate?

They would, and did.

Following the Republican nominating convention, the leftward leaning media was grievously distressed.

McManon’s latest ad – She has lots of money to sink into ads – opens with a scene showing a caped monster-truck man about to descend on a prostrate victim, followed by McMahon’s dulcet voice, a hint in it of a mint-juliped Old South, saying she had a regular job as CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment before she entered politics: “Okay, maybe not a regular job… a soap opera that entertains millions each year. That isn’t real, but our problems are…”

La, la,la…The lady is not going to get pushed over by larval Leninists hoping to discredit her by means no more real than WWE ads, themselves unreal.

So far, McMahon’s in the running, still brushing up against the commoners, some of whom watch wrestling, while St. George appears to be hiding under his bed, not a proper posture for a prospective U.S. Senator.
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