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Monday, November 5, 2012



The race between Democratic Congressman Chris Murphy and Republican super-wealthy businesswoman Linda McMahon for Connecticut’s U.S. Senate seat has drawn intense national attention. Its fate, along with a few other key senate races (such as the Massachusetts counterpart between incumbent Republican Senator Scott Brown and Democrat challenger Elizabeth Warren), could prove instrumental in shifting balance of Senate power from Democrat to Republican.

Voters in Connecticut have been bombarded with a relentless (if not shameless and baseless) snail mail assault against Murphy by McMahon in this tight race. (Murphy has estimated that McMahon, the former wrestling executive, will loan herself over $70 million before the campaign is over.) McMahon’s seemingly inexhaustible personal fortune may buy a blitzkrieg of negative advertising (the majority of which mentions nothing of her own platform) relative to Murphy’s modest repudiations, but it can’t buy her credentials. Connecticut’s prominent legislative seat demands a Senator with experience, bipartisan inclination and ability to relate to every-day constituents beyond token gestures and manufactured platitudes.

Regarding her foray into senatorial politics two years (when running against Democrat Richard Blumenthal), Providence Journal columnist Froma Harrop observed: “Linda McMahon poses in her campaign ads as a tweedy suburban matron. But she and her husband made their fortune on World Wrestling Entertainment, which traffics in steroids, dirty language, sex and violence . . . We’ve seen the video of husband Vince McMahon in the ring, ordering a female wrestler to disrobe, get on her knees and ‘bark like a dog.’ We’ve seen Linda herself kicking a man in the groin. That the couple named their yacht Sexy Bitch is an especially nice touch.”

If being super-wealthy confers McMahon’s self proclaimed but highly dubious job-creator status, voters may wish to question the type of employment in which she has engaged. Business acumen which might otherwise prove an asset in some circles doesn’t necessarily translate to senatorial firing power.

To his credit, Murphy doesn’t share McMahon’s trickle-down economics view and zeal for repealing or substantially diluting provisions in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act aimed at regulating Wall Street in the wake of the 2008 recession. While McMahon’s emphasis is on further corporate tax benefits while furthering those which principally benefit America’s rich, Murphy’s moderate approach would not attempt to undo legislation designed to spare us from the precipice of financial meltdown. (Recall the legacy handed to President Obama from Republicans upon his inauguration.) Likewise, McMahon has said she supports repealing the health care law, calling it a waste of money. Murphy and others have said that’s not the case and the law would provide portable health care coverage for millions (along with innumerable other benefits yet to be realized as implementation renders specious, politically-motivated arguments academic). If portions of the Affordable Care Act need refinement over time, so be it. As Murphy avers, repeal is not the answer.

Murphy’s four years in Congress do not make him a long-term insider. However, they have inculcated insight — credentials critical for consideration of international policy as well as pragmatic vis-à-vis advancing legislation aimed at improving the economy, jobs, infrastructure, energy and myriad policy discussions on Capitol Hill.

Unlike McMahon’s corporate “Smack Down” experience, wrestling with political issues and coming out the victor in many rounds is Murphy’s strong suit. We endorse Chris Murphy for U.S. Senate.

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