By Lori Acken
If this is a stunt, even by WWE standards, it’s a doozy.
Reports are starting to trickle out that Linda McMahon, CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment and no-nonsense better half of its chairman Vince McMahon is seriously — like, “99% sure” seriously — considering a run for the Connecticut Senate seat currently held by longtime Democratic Senator and current chair of the Senate Banking Committee Christopher Dodd.
Though a quick Google of “Linda McMahon+Senate” reveals traces of the plan as far back as mid-August, the word came from the offices of the WWE — the same folks who fooled plenty of mainstream media outlets (but not me, I would like to point out real quick) with the June announcement that Donald Trump had “purchased” one of its TV shows. So you can’t blame most folks for just letting the whole Linda Goes Government thing drop. Like a jobber in the hands of Triple H. Like a folding chair on the Spanish announce table. Like the ratings when Stone Cold, The Rock and Cena left to make movies.
But this time, I am buying it.
And not just because the McMahon machine has already kinda sorta churned a man into political office in former Minnesota governor Jesse “The Governing Body” Ventura.
Though the brunt of what little discussion there has been about the subject has thus far focused on McMahon’s considerable resources and ability to outspend her opponents, McMahon ostensibly has plenty going for her beyond her bottom line.
For one, though it rarely made the news outside of her home state (until now), she has been active in both the Connecticut and national political scene for years, contributing time and money to Republican and Democratic candidates and causes alike — and her avid support of Gov. Jody Rell led to a spot on the Board of Education, a move that was well received in both the House and the Senate.
For two, there is little arguing McMahon’s business acumen, working side by side with her husband to turn his dad’s wrestling promotion into a $500 million-a-year, mega-job-providing, multimedia conglomerate with an arm of charitable programs and initiatives as muscular as its talent. And she has done so quietly and creatively, amid the din of people who can’t find enough adjectives to denigrate the worth of her life’s work.
And perhaps as crucial to this juncture in her career path, she is the only member of the McMahon clan who has appeared onscreen enough to be a recognizable figure to the WWE’s gajillion fans without ever sacrificing her dignity to the delight of its detractors.
Of course, there are plenty of folks who can’t draw a breath fast enough to poke fun that the 9/12 rally-ers and the WWE audience are surely one and the same, and that since this is the era in which the little guys with the big mouths — the not-exactly-a-plumbers, the town hallers and the Tea Partiers, the Truthers, the Birthers — are the most sought-after constituency out there (well, for us media sorts, anyway) … so McMahon should be a shoo-in.
There’s my funny husband who wonders if McMahon’s candidacy would mean that debates would be held LIVE on Pay-Per-View for $39.95 … and filibusters settled in steel cage matches.
And then there’s me. Junior-varsity political junkie and non-demo WWE fan.
Though that election is a year away, not in my state and maybe not even going to involve McMahon at all, from where I sit now, a few minutes into considering it, I’d like to see Linda, er, throw her hat in this brand new ring.
Photo credit: WWE