One of my favorite Broadway shows has always been “Cabaret,” starring Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey. One of the memorable songs is “Money,” which glorifies what we can do just by having and spending a lot of money (“Money makes the world go around …”). In the world outside politics, that’s very true, but in the world of politics, having money is no longer a guarantee of anything.
Candidates all over the country, mostly Republicans, got their party’s nomination not because of the length of their resumes, but because of the weight of their checkbooks. They got the party blessing because of their ability to lavishly spend unlimited amounts of money on their campaigns.
If the party leaders didn’t get a lesson in how to pick winning candidates this year, they’ll never get it. The biggest case in point was the Connecticut race for the U.S. Senate and the candidacy of Linda McMahon. To think that someone could spend almost $100 million on two consecutive Senate elections and lose is mind-boggling.
We New Yorkers got a taste of what the Connecticut contest was like when we saw 20-plus commercials an hour on our local television stations. Imagine what the voters of that state had to endure when their television and radio stations were swamped with McMahon ads, which took up more time than any one program offering.
Mc Mahon’s loss can be attributed to a lot of factors, starting with her business background. Successful business people do appear to have a leg up on other candidates, but being involved with World Wrestling Entertainment isn’t necessarily a ticket to victory. Professional wrestling has always had a questionable reputation as a less-than-honest sport. Seeing women wrestlers being kicked around in the ring doesn’t capture the hearts and minds of the average soccer mom.
After losing her first effort to win a Senate seat, McMahon tried a new approach on her second run. This time she claimed to have created 600 jobs in her state. Obviously, all of these jobs were in the wrestling industry. Stressing the fact that she was a grandmother somehow didn’t attract any additional female support.