It’s about … [Part II]
The last time there was an open US Senate seat in Connecticut up for grabs, we looked at the pretensions of the Republican candidate for the position.
Two years later, namely now, there is another position, thanks, sincerely thanks, to the realization by Joe Lieberman that no one in the Nutmeg State had the stomach for another 6 years for the Likkud Party senate candidate. And the Republicans, the party of tradition, however dysfunctional and short-term, have nominated the same person, Linda McMahon.
The utter lack of qualifications of McMahon, not to mention the lack of intelligence and even basic decency, was shocking even by modern Republican standards. It should have been an easy case for Republicans to reject the “entertainer” McMahon’s claim in favor of a serious, if rather bland, Yankee Republican like Rob Simmons. Connecticut, after all, is not Alabama. Republicans in Connecticut believe (if grudgingly) in paying for decent public education, one where there’s ne’er a qualm about teaching Darwinian evolution, even though, of course, sports takes priority over academics as everywhere in the blessed land of Reagan. Now it is true that people of Connecticut, both Republican and Democrat, have very little use for cities or urban policy. Nevertheless, even as wacko of a local right wing wingnut as Toni Boucher, limited, dimwitted and reactionary as she is, didn’t really throw her short but stocky weight against the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of gay marriage, as Republicans in less blue states are want to do. (Toni saves her ire for marijuana and taxes, the twin killers of Republican dreams.)
But even in a state where the crazies are kept on a short leash, the Republican faithful cannot help themselves when a true, know-nothing, rich, obscene reactionary is available to lead the party. So Linda crushed Rob two years ago in the Republican convention and later primary and went on to have her somewhat useless head handed to her by Richard Blumenthal in the general election.
She spent $40 million of her (or her husband’s, there’s some dispute about that) fortune on this crusade. And it had some effect. She made one point against Blumenthal. She harped incessantly that Blumenthal falsely claimed that he served in Vietnam. He did no such thing. But The New York Times, ever anxious to show its bipartisan cred, picked up the charge and mulled it over sufficiently that when the warm spittle of the conclusion (that he did not such thing) was arrived at, no one wanted to look at The New York Times on this point. (This is how The New New York Times works, it seems. But that’s another story.)
The surprising thing about the quixotic campaign of the disreputable, embarrasing, unqualified and disinterested McMahon showed was that even real Yankees, the blue bloods and nouveau riche of the gold coast really liked this candidate. They preferred her over Rob Simmons and even over Blumenthal in the general election. I’m talking about those towns where rich investment bankers thrive, like Weston and New Canaan (where Glen Beck and Ann Coulter live) and Wilton (where AIG’s financial services division was located). These Republicans actually preferred McMahon over Simmons. So, it seems, Republicans from Alabama to Connecticut really aren’t that different. They all start from a basic contempt of the process and enjoy throwing a wrench into the system in the form of an ideologically rigid and intellectually limited politician, so long as there is sufficient loyalty to plutocrats. Public interest be damned.
Linda is running this year against the last Republican who ever served in the U.S. Congress from anywhere in New England. Christopher Shays is a time-server from the days that Republican Yankees meant something in New England. He waffled away his last term as representative, and was blown away by a younger and more vigorous center-right politician, Jim Himes, the Democrat. (Himes became a favorite of Fox News when he lead the charge in 2010 to retain the Bush Tax Cuts. To maintain his “liberal” façade, he claimed it was for Keynesian reasons.)
Shays, of course, has no chance. He has already lost the state convention to McMahon, and that’s made up of party regulars and elected officials who presumably have more of an incentive to avoid candidates that will crash and burn with resulting wreckage strewn all over the party. So he has no chance in the primary where the ordinary Republican votes. Nevertheless, the GOP creed (the 11th Commandment of Reagan, who didn’t really believe the first 10), is that Shays should shut up, lay back and enjoy it. But he refuses and according to the New Haven Register he described his Republican opponent as follows:
“I have never run against an opponent that I have respected less — ever — and there are a lot of candidates I have run against,” said Shays, who was a congressman for 21 years and served in the state legislature before that.
“I do not believe that Linda McMahon has spent the time, the energy to determine what a senator really means,” he said.
. . .
“She is a storyteller, that’s how she made her money,” he said of her background as an executive with World Wrestling Entertainment.
. . .
“I thought she was embarrassingly clueless” in the second and last television debate he had with McMahon, which took place in the studios of Connecticut 30 NBC, he said.
“I think it is like the story of the emperor with no clothes,” he said.
“You have a candidate who is basically giving the finger to all the editorial boards.
“She is not willing to come before you and respond to all your questions.
“She is basically saying … and it is a huge distortion to say, she is out there meeting the public and that is the better way to do it — bull—-,” Shays said.
And he doesn’t let his foot off her throat:
“As soon as Chris Murphy spends $500,000, not $1 million, and shows who she really is, she will be back down in the tank,” Shays said. “Chris Murphy he is not going to be secret about it. People will know Linda McMahon not as she wants to be known, but as she is.”
. . .
“I think she is a terrible candidate and I think she would make a terrible senator,” Shays said.
Well, I suppose there is credit to be given one waffling, extinct moderate Republican. But before we get all dewey-eyed over him, and try to figure out if we can get a person who will never be elected to the Senate into Profiles in Courage, consider that after all this, he said he wouldn’t vote for her opponent, the Democrat. He simply would not help defeat the worst candidate for Senate in his lifetime. Because there are more important things that having a good Senator. I guess there still is some honor among Republican plutocratic thieves.