Cool it

Is it a bad sign that we’re not even through September yet and the Linda McMahon/Chris Murphy senatorial showdown already has us begging for relief?

For while it seems that the TV is filled with endless McMahon attack ads against Murphy for everything from his supposedly lousy attendance record to claims of sweetheart deals for a mortgage for his house, we’re only getting started.

Now that this race could well be the pivotal one to tilt control of the U.S. Senate from the Democrats to the Republicans, the national Democratic money is starting to pour in and now there are ads attacking Ms. McMahon for those crazy sex- and violence-filled World Wrestling Entertainment clips from the bygone time of WWE past recalled wistfully by fans as the “Attitude Era.”

This is only going to get worse. We still have seven weeks of this to go and the time is now for there to be a truce where Ms. McMahon knocks off her negative ads and gets back to focusing on Mr. Murphy where her campaign should be, their competing visions of the future of the state. And if that were to happen, Mr. Murphy should immediately follow suit.

Ms. McMahon has been going negative on Mr. Murphy since before she even officially finished off Chris Shays and now that Mr. Murphy is hitting back, the rhethoric is becoming unbearable before we even get to October. Democrats have seized on those clips as proof that Ms. McMahon’s business experience is far from the positive she paints it as, and the response has been for WWE to suddenly decide those clips must be removed from the Internet since they no longer represent the kinder, gentler TV-PG WWE. But there’s no coordination between WWE and the campaign we’re sure. Ms. McMahon resigned as CEO in 2009 and no longer has any connection to a company her husband owns and her daughter runs.

And of course the scrubbing will only be temporary since, oh look here, WWE has a multi-disc DVD and Blu-Ray release of its raunchiest moments from the “Attitude Era” set for release in mid-November, which is coincidentially we’re also sure, after the election. It will make a great Christmas gift, though.

In all seriousness, the content of WWE programming while Ms. McMahon was CEO is not the issue that should be deciding this race. While WWE can try and hide its raunchy past, it can’t hide the fact that the millions of dollars Ms. McMahon has spent on this race comes from that era of pro wrestling, which was the most profitable in the company’s history when the McMahons were able to take their company public and become legitimate billionaires on the strength of DX crotch chops, bra and panties matches, first blood battles and chairshots to the head. Those wild, dangerous moments paid for Ms. McMahon’s endless negative ads and that’s not something that can be erased.

Ms. McMahon is more than free to deploy her campaign resources however she wishes. Complaining about runaway spending on campaigns is getting to be like complaining about why those dang fools need a new iPhone this week when your rotary telephone is perfectly good. Pretty soon you’ll be yelling at empty chairs and that’s just not a good place to be at all.

But there must be some kind of truce called here or else we are going to have a seriously uninformed electorate come November.

A McMahon/Murphy showdown was an exciting possibility because they could not be more different. Ms. McMahon, a successful businesswoman, sees the private sector as an example of how we can turn this economy around. Mr. Murphy, an experienced legislator who has risen through the ranks of state and federal government, believes that government can, and must, be there to help people. Let’s let those two competing visions be the basis for this election.

As long as Ms. McMahon remains fixated on mortgage agreements and Mr. Murphy talks about Trish Stratus stripping down to her underwear and barking like a dog on live television, then we’re going to have an election to forget. Perhaps it’s naive to hope that this battle can be focused on the issues, but it’s not so wrong to hope that Ms. McMahon can erase those negative ads like WWE erases its past and we can get back to talking about competing visions for this state and its future.

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