Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Slugger vs. The Slug

Over the past few weeks, I've been struck by the bizarre nature of the campaign here in Connecticut for the U.S. Senate seat soon to be vacated by Chris Dodd.

In one corner we have Leaping Linda McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment who has vowed to spend up to $50 million of her own money to buy a seat in a dysfunctional and paralyzed legislative body.

The Republican is a real fighter who once kicked one of her ringside employees in the cojones. And Linda and her husband Vince even have a yacht called "Sexy Bitch."

In the other corner we have Cautious Dick Blumenthal, who apparently is only a fighter when instructing the lawyers on his staff at the state AG's office to file lawsuits against everyone in sight.

On the campaign trail, the Democrat is subdued and a little out-of-sorts -- traits exacerbated by the fact that he hasn't had to run against a serious opponent in 20 years and has had consistently good press during that time. That would explain Blumy's rustiness on the campaign trail, but how does it explain that only a few days ago, I spotted my first Blumenthal lawn sign of the season in Salisbury?

Early polls showed Blumenthal with a 32-point lead. Recently, however, Linda's millions have pulled her to within 3 or 4 percentage points, causing the Blumenthal campaign to wonder whether they should be in full-scale panic.

But the Blumenthal campaign has picked up a shot in the arm, not by something their candidate has done, but by a gaffe committed by Linda, who said she wasn't sure if we needed a minimum wage or not.

I think you can make a plausible case against the minimum wage, but the concept is very popular with voters who are convinced that without it, old ladies will be swinging pic axes on rock piles for a dollar a day. So Linda had better find a good way to explain that statement away.

This is going to be a difficult choice for me. McMahon has shown little interest in public service until now. The ethics of her company, which she is too ashamed to mention by name, are highly questionable. I would have preferred either of her primary opponents, especially Peter Schiff. But more than anything else, it sounds to me like McMahon is simply bored of being rich. Not very compelling stuff.

Blumenthal is a nice man who has done some good work for the people of the state. I also think some of his actions have harmed our competitiveness in attracting jobs to Connecticut. But I would have had a lot more respect for him if he had taken advantage of one of the several opportunities he had to run for governor.

Governor is a powerful job in which you actually run things and can make a huge difference in the lives of your residents. Alas, it is also a job in which you have to make unpopular decisions about what to cut and whom to reward. I think Blumy just felt a little too comfortable suing corporations and other miscreants.

Who, after all, could object to going after the bad guys? Wouldn't it be ironic if that same reticence cost him the cushy Senate seat he has coveted all these years?


  1. "This is going to be a difficult choice for me. McMahon has shown little interest in public service until now. The ethics of her company, which she is too ashamed to mention by name, are highly questionable. I would have preferred either of her primary opponents, especially Peter Schiff. But more than anything else, it sounds to me like McMahon is simply bored of being rich. Not very compelling stuff."

    It's worse than that Terry. She and Vince declared bankruptcy and never paid back their creditors. They didn't pay property taxes for years as well as income taxes. Think of all the people who have defaulted on their mortgages but are still trying to pay back what they owe.

    ""While the McMahons are now wealthy, with an estimated net worth of up to $370 million, it's unclear whether all her creditors were ever paid. A campaign spokesman said recently it was "impossible" to pay creditors at the time of the bankruptcy filing. The campaign declined to say whether all of the debts were paid or if the McMahons felt a moral obligation to make good on those bills once their business fortunes took a dramatic upswing in the early 1980s."

    And she wants to cut the minimum wage for the weakest people? What a !@#$ I won't even tell you the B.S. they pulled with my current employer and a group of disappointed kids, since they are my current employer but it was sleazy and involved one of her employees not backing her.

  2. First of all, she never said anything about "cutting the minimum wage for the weakest people." As I wrote above , there is a plausible argument against the minimum wage (see link). The problem is you can't actually say that and get elected.
    It's really a non-issue anyway since Congress always passes a proposed increase overwhelmingly.
    Secondly, declaring bankruptcy and then stiffing your creditors is nothing new. The difference here is that there's a lot more money at stake than in your garden-variety bankruptcy.
    Now if the creditors were not paid back even after the McMahon's financial fortunes improved, then the creditors have legal recourse. They should use every available avenue available to force the McMahon's to repay.
    It is sleazy, however, and will no doubt affect my decision on whom to vote for.

  3. Yes, there certainly is a plausible argument against the minimum wage. It's called enslavement.

    AlexKees1973, you rock!

  4. Read the link, Fred, before you leap to conclusions -- and prove that you don't know what you're talking about:

    "If you want to transfer income to the working poor, there are fairer and more honest ways to do it. The Earned Income Tax Credit, for example, accomplishes pretty much the same goals as the minimum wage but without concentrating the burden on a tiny minority [i.e employers]. For that matter, the EITC also does a better job of helping the people you'd really want to help, as opposed to, say, middle-class teenagers working summer jobs. It's pretty hard to argue that a minimum-wage increase beats an EITC increase by any criterion."

    So it has nothing to do with "enslavement" and everything to do with finding a better way to help the working poor.

  5. I think there is a flaw with the EITC argument. If the employer has no wage floor, it could lead to occasional, or not so occasional, VERY low wages. Either desperate workers, or the ill-informed, or kids, whatever, might find themselves getting $2 or $3/hour. I don't want to get into someone else's argument here about enslavement, but there might be some exploitation. What I think is more plausible is to use the EITC as an alternative to a min wage increase.

  6. The real losers in this choice for United States Senator...the voters of Connecticut.

  7. She is a pimp and an embarassment.

    Dlck Blumenthal has done a find upstanding job of holding Connecticut companies accountable - if you call that bad for business, that's OK with me.

  8. Peter, I agree completely with your last statement. Indeed, that's what Landsburg was getting at. Adjusting the EITC is better than INCREASING the minimum wage -- not replacing it altogether.
    Anonymous, I guess you find no room for disagreement on Blumenthal. You would concede that we can reach a point in lawsuits against businesses where it becomes counterproductive? Then I guess it's a question of where you draw the line. In my humble opinion, Blumenthal has crossed that line occasionally. There is a reason why the state has trouble attracting companies that provide jobs and why we have such a high out-migration rate.
    Why, for example, did Blumenthal try to prevent AT&T from laying off workers the company did not need? That sends a great message to companies that might relocate to CT: "Come to the Nutmeg State. We know how to run your company better than you do."

  9. Have you seen the comments in the Torrington Register after the debate? Comment after comment, and they're unbelievably nasty. I personally thought she came off better than he did.I hope the people of Connecticut are as fed up with this type of politics, because I sure am. “Take a look at these comments. This is the DNC at work. If these comments don't totally disgust you then you had better figure out why. In other words they do this for a reason so it's up to each and every one of us to see it for what it is, otherwise it just might be working the way they want it to. Once you analyze the workings of this method of mass manipulation then it’s up to you to decide to reject this offensive approach of swaying the mind of the voter, and emphatically say I will not be a part of that. Just remember once they succeed, then it’s back to the same old, same old. Now those disgusting pieces of garbage are still telling us what to do. I urge you all to read these comments objectively, because they’re telling us who, and what they really are.”