Imagine this: You are the opposition researcher for Sen. Chris Dodd, the embattled and not so popular Democrat from Connecticut. You just found out that your boss may face an unlikely Republican candidate in the fall. Linda McMahon, the matriarch of a family behind World Wrestling Entertainment, America’s last great traveling circus act. So what research do you choose to dig up?
Perhaps the moment in 2001 when Stone Cold Steve Austin confronted Linda in a parking lot, shouting “You are making my life miserable,” before telling her to “go do what women do”? Or the time that she was “tombstoned” by Kane? Of the time that Austin kicked her in the crotch and hit her with a stunner after downing a couple beers?
Certainly, you would not highlight the more serious side of McMahon’s career, an accomplished CEO who as long been active in politics, even bringing her wrestlers to the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. And you would likely avoid mentioning her addresses to the women business leaders, and various philanthropic pursuits.
The truth is that McMahon is a serious person who excels, with her family, in an unserious indusrty. And her announced run for senate is unlikely to be a lark, though it remains to be seen how well she can transition into serious, high-stakes politics. As her home state Hartford Courant introduced her Wednesday: “Linda E. McMahon is a mother, philanthropist, member of the State Board of Education, and CEO — as well as occasional performer — of the multimillion-dollar World Wrestling Entertainment empire.” Not a bad start.
She is also rich, and willing to spend. According to the Courant, McMahon plans to make her mark in a crowded Republican field by bankrolling her candidacy herself. (Her husband, an co-owner of WWE, has been valued at various times as a billionaire.) It could make for quite a ride, and depending on the money she puts in, yet another headache for Dodd.