I can't pretend to be an expert on Connecticut politics, but I have been bemused all year at the spectacle of Linda McMahon, wrestling impresario, as the GOP candidate for senator in this inimitably preppie state. The cartoon fakery and over-the-top pandering of professional wrestling has always seemed to me the kind of thing that conservatives would decry as an example of how degraded American culture has become. It's exactly the cheap sensationalism that that bastion of liberalism -- Hollywood -- gets body-slammed for all the time.
But after reading the New York Times' big profile of McMahon today, I understand much better how the candidate represents core Republican values.
Like many other wrestling promoters, [Linda and Vince McMahon] classify their wrestlers -- they have some 140 or 150 under exclusive contract at any one time -- as independent contractors, rather than employees, freeing the company from paying health insurance, Social Security and Medicare contributions and unemployment insurance.
In the context of the Times' story, one gets the sense that the McMahons are not properly caring for their employees -- and this might be a political negative for them. And perhaps this is true, for some of the New York Times readers mulling over the profile while taking the train back to Westchester.
But in the context of the current Republican party, McMahon's treatment of workers seems wholly appropriate. Why should WWE wrestlers get any benefits at all, when conservatives are campaigning on repealing health reform, blocking extensions of unemployment benefits and, in some cases, even demanding (although never actually following though on) the abolition of Social Security and Medicare? Linda McMahon is perfectly suited to be a modern day GOP senator.