Feel the love! - Photo courtesy of wtnh.com
Everyone wants Linda McMahon to pack her political ball up and go home; the Connecticut Democrats she dug dirt on and outspent, her Republican colleagues for betraying them, the voters for filling up their airwaves with negative ads for months on end, the local media for her political ignorance... and even her husband Vince, for pissing $100 million down the drain. But Linda doesn't seem to have given up on the dream, just yet.
Last night proved to be one of the most humiliating moments in the McMahon family's checkered history. Spending bad money after good, Linda McMahon crashed to another comprehensive defeat in her second Connecticut U.S Senate election in two years.
It only took about half an hour after polls closed for the media to pronounce her opponent, Chris Murphy, the victor. And after waiting about 90 minutes to make sure, Linda graciously conceded after an acrimonious race (a video of her concession speech can be seen above).
Having called the Public Policy Polling poll, which was released four days before voting, a desperate stunt by the Democrats when it showed her 9 points behind, she actually lost by a wider margin than it indicated, and even slightly more than she did in 2010 against the popular Richard Blumenthal. With 95% of precincts called, it looks like Murphy will end up with 55% of the vote to McMahon's 43%, winning by over 170,000 votes.
Linda got absolutely annihilated in the urban, working class areas of Connecticut once again, despite spending big money to target these places with deceptive palm cards, T-shirts and ads that suggested she endorsed Barack Obama, or would work with him.
In the three biggest cities in the state, Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport, she only picked up 10%, 14% and 17% of the vote, respectively; where the message that McMahon was a greedy business owner trying to buy an election, again obviously resonated.
The question now is, will Linda take the go away heat hint, which came from all quarters?
Obviously, the Connecticut Democrats, like Murphy, Blumenthal and former state Senator Andrew McDonald, all hope they've seen the last of her big pockets, which can dig up their dirt and pump it like manure onto the airwaves nonstop.
Those three all got their well-rehearsed barbs in, mentioning how, "what matters most in life is the measure of your ideas, not the measure of your wallet", that Chris Murphy withstood "a $50 million negative attack machine", that the Connecticut electorate proved that "Senate seats are not for sale", and how Linda had spent "one hundred million and [got] nothing to show for it".
Even the mere mention of her name brought big boos from the partisan crowd that was on hand to celebrate Murphy's much harder than anticipated coronation. They don't want to be singing from the same expensive hymn sheet in four years time all over again.
Many Connecticut Republicans want to see the back of her too, after she ditched her conservative principles to chase votes in the most undignified manner possible and was wholly unsuccessful in doing so.
Amazingly, on the same night that Maine, Maryland and Washington voters all approved gay marriage, Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, blamed Linda's flip flop on DOMA for her loss:
"Linda McMahon lost the election for Connecticut's U.S. Senate not because she reached out to social conservatives, but because her outreach was poorly executed and, on same-sex "marriage," she betrayed it altogether."
If this was such a key issue in Connecticut, then she would have won two years ago, anyone thinking otherwise is deluding themselves. The more reasonable Republican blogger, The King, had similar thoughts on Twitter:
"Tisk, tisk... 36% of the vote. Teachable moment >>>> NEVER EVER BETRAY YOUR BASE #ctpolitics #ctgop"
He got the lesson he wanted sent to McMahon, and the rest of his local party officials, as hours earlier he had implored his blog followers to spoil their U.S. Senate ballot papers, while voting for all other Republican candidates:
"The King also urges voters to "Leave the Line Blank" in the Connecticut Senate Race. Linda McMahon has lost The King's vote, and the vote of so many of the Party faithful for her betrayal of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan by supporting Barack Obama in her campaign commercials and literature.
"Moreover, she has intentionally hurt several federal and local candidates by pushing the Independent line, which has been detrimental for both federal and state Republicans. Let's pray this is the last campaign that we will ever have to see Linda McMahon a part of in The Nutmeg State."
Which demonstrates what an awful job Linda did walking the fine line of courting independents and moderates, while keeping her base sweet.
Even Jerry Labriola Jr., the state Republican chairman, was distancing himself from Linda after such a dire performance at the polls:
"It is no secret that I always had my reservations about the formula of running a self-funder without any prior political experience. Perhaps the age of massive self-funders in Connecticut is over."
Well, he wouldn't want to be blamed for this unholy mess, would he now?
As we mentioned last Saturday, when we correctly predicted it was already game over for the McMahon matriarch, voter fatigue at her carny tricks and negative ads had long kicked in, repeating the same mistake that cost her dear in 2010 too. This frustration was mentioned by many voters when asked at the polls about whom they voted for and why, like Joyce Lange who voiced what many others were surely thinking too:
"If I ever have to see another ad of hers again, I'll screech."
That, combined with the inability to shake off the corporate greed, due to the appalling, nasty tone of her campaigning, made her unfavourable to the majority of the electorate, and I doubt they'll forget that over time.
The local media has also had their fill of Mrs. McMahon. David Collins of The Day hoped this was the last they would see, of not only Linda, but also her breed of wannabe politician:
"Imagine the spending spree hangover Linda McMahon must be nursing today. No matter how much money you have, the estimated $100 million McMahon spent over two campaigns trying to acquire a U.S. Senate seat was an enormous fortune to fritter away...
"Party leaders, sucked in by her money, turned their backs on traditional Republican candidates who have succeeded in winning elections in the past. Now they've lost twice with the let's-buy-a-Senate-seat strategy. Let's hope that's the last we have seen of that strategy in Connecticut for a while."
The Courant was more kind in branding her "a pleasant and charming rich person trying to buy a hobby", but we're clearly fed up with her political ignorance, which caused her to stick to "an increasingly tedious and wishful script about having a six-point jobs plan" and intelligence insulting, hypocritical personal attacks. I'm sure they are all hoping for a fresh Republican face to cover in the future, who at least is knowledgeable enough to willingly spar with them on the issues, face to face, more frequently.
Even her husband, Vince McMahon, who knows how to put on a show for the cameras, couldn't be bothered to put his poker face on for the love of his life, Linda, when the media glare was at its most intense, to spare her even more blushes.
Vince looked more deflated and humiliated than the many times he's been embarrassed as Mr. McMahon on WWE television, even when Hornswoggle was revealed to be his illegitimate child or Triple H relieved him of his duties as WWE chairman.
Thankfully, Vince was so far from her side that Linda missed the death stare and eye rolling when she thanked him for his support.
Linda made light of the obvious distance and tension between the couple by dryly joking that "He's very shy, he doesn't want to come out," which may have been her best off the cuff remark of both campaigns. I can imagine Vince was thinking, "I came back from the UK early and missed the SmackDown tapings, for this?"
So surely, this is the end of Linda McMahon's political career, when her main benefactor obviously wants to pull the plug and cut his losses? As The Connecticut Mirror details, this was the big question on everyone's lips, whether there would be a third tragic act to this epic melodrama? Though Linda ruled out running for Governor in 2014, she still seems to be leaving the door open for a third time lucky U.S. Senate run in 2016:
"I don't know. I'm going to give some thought to as what I'm going to be doing," McMahon said, stopping when she reached a gaggle of reporters. "I haven't made any specific plans."
She was pressed:
"I do not have any plans to run for office at this time," McMahon said.
She was pressed again. Would she specifically rule out running against Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in 2014?
"I'm not considering running for governor. I looked at that. We have some really good candidates to run for governor," McMahon said. "That's not an office that I'll be seeking."
Mark my words; even if she comes to her senses on that pure fantasy, we have not heard the last of Linda McMahon on the local political scene, as evidenced by her concession speech:
"It is our responsibility now and listen to me please, everyone listen to me for a minute, it is our responsibility to charge them, to challenge them, to make sure they hear what we say and to make sure they are doing what we need because they work for us. And if we let them forget that, shame on us, because we need to voice our concerns and say what we need, and I'm looking forward to being helpful in that regard."
Or here at Cageside Seats, as we'll continue to hold her to account for squandering a significant portion of her family fortune on a vanity joy ride. They may regret pissing that 100 million dollars down the drain one day, especially if the WWE Network becomes their next white elephant project.