The 2010 elections may be remembered as the year of the self-funded Republican female candidate. As every American who has not been living in a cave or in a locked basement knows by now, billionaire Meg Whitman of eBay fame is self-funding her run for governor of California to the tune of $100 million so far. She is expected to plunk down another $50 million, mainly on TV and video ads, between now and Election Day.
But Whitman’s business background is as thrilling as a dial tone, when compared with the circus-like, soft- (or not-so-soft) core porn and violence-riddled empire that gave Connecticut Republican senatorial wannabe Linda McMahon the financial freedom to self-finance her run. She made her fortune by locking arms with her calculatedly lowbrow wrestler husband Vince McMahon. Together they made millions by converting World Wrestling Enterprises into a font of sexually-charged, violence-tainted, “entertainment” supposedly about wrestling. After all, would you want your children watching it?
I absolutely adore BeyondChron writer Irvin Muchnik’s take on WWE’s financial success as follows:
I have described the creative genius of Vince McMahon, Linda’s husband, as that of cutting out the middle man, ending any pretense of dignity, and giving the people exactly what they want: homophobia locked in mortal combat with homoeroticism.
How McMahon intends to live that down in the general election is beyond me. She’s already spent $26 million of her own fortune to grab the senatorial nomination (which she did last night). During her campaign, she bragged about turning the former squalor of TV wresting from pander to PG (for the last two years the network has gained a PG rating). But there are still all those earlier years of McMahon ownership to live down.
For one, according to ABC News:
In 2001, McMahon appeared on stage, forcing WWE wrestler Trish Stratus to get on her knees and bark like a dog.
For another, for many years the McMahons exploited independent contractor status to avoid having to pay wrestlers as staff employees:
For decades, armed with the best lawyers money can buy, WWE has gotten away with the fiction that its wrestlers are not employees--not only cheating these sweat-of-the-brow assets out of basic protections and benefits, but also stiffing governments out of payroll taxes.
Her Democratic opponent, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, has some self-created vulnerabilities of his own. He has been forced to correct a statement that he served “in” Vietnam as a Marine reserve, to say that he served “during” the Vietnam War.