Sarah Palin endorsed three dark-horse candidates in Republican match-ups this year, and all three won their primaries yesterday: Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Carly Fiorina in California. No wonder Sarah’s being stalked by Joe McGinniss.
Now, she’s got to endorse Rob Simmons for U.S. Senate. Otherwise, Republicans can kiss the possibility of a major upset in Connecticut goodbye.
I wouldn’t ask, but the country is at stake. We have a mere 100 senators; only 17 Senate seats currently held by Democrats are up this year; and only about six of those could possibly go Republican, even in Newt Gingrich’s wildest fantasies.
Republicans have done a fantastic job predicting a landslide in the November elections, but not such a good job of doing anything that will actually help them achieve victory.
Which may explain why Connecticut Republicans rolled the dice and said: Let’s run a professional wrestling “impresario” for the U.S. Senate! … You never know.
Except in this case, you know. Running a professional wrestler in the richest, most highly educated state in the nation is going to force voters to hold their noses and vote for the Democrat, Richard Blumenthal (who’s already been endorsed by a leading group of Connecticut men who lied about serving in Vietnam).
Until recent revelations about Blumenthal’s boasting of his nonexistent service in Vietnam—and the Harvard swim team—Republicans didn’t have a snowball’s chance to pick up Chris Dodd’s old seat anyway.
But now The New York Times has splashed on its front page the news that Blumenthal has been lying about his Vietnam War service. Even knee-jerk Democratic partisans, such as Chris Matthews and Bill Press, refused to defend him.
Blumenthal immediately resigned and pulled out of the Senate race … ha ha, just kidding! That man will never voluntarily stop annoying us. Blumenthal is so churning with ambition that he probably had his first ulcer at age 9.
But no matter how much the local press flacks for Blumenthal, people won’t soon forget that he lied about his Vietnam service. It’s like finding out he likes to wear diapers or he cheated the Girl Scouts out of cookie money—but enough about Frank Rich.
Connecticut Republicans have done nothing to deserve this gift. All they need to do is field a candidate who isn’t inextricably linked to professional frigging wrestling.
Instead, last month, a majority of Republican caucus-goers favored professional wrestling impresario Linda McMahon, based on her offer to spend “up to” $50 million of her own money on the campaign.
McMahon would be a fantastic choice if money were associated with electoral victory. But it’s not.
We know this because rich dilettantes are constantly thinking to themselves: “I have $300 million, I’ve bought everything I can buy … I think I’d like to be a senator!”
In 1994, Michael Huffington spent $30 million in his bid for a Senate seat from California against Democrat Dianne Feinstein. He lost.
In 2002, Tom Golisano spent more than $74 million of his own money running for governor of New York. He received 14 percent of the vote. That same year, Democrat Tony Sanchez spent $60 million of his own money trying to become the governor of Texas—and lost to Rick Perry.
In 2004, John Kerry spent $6.4 million of John Heinz’s money on his presidential race, and still lost.
Last year, Jon Corzine, then-governor of New Jersey, spent about $24 million of his own money trying to hold onto his job. Despite outspending Republican Chris Christie 3-to-1, Corzine lost 49 percent to 44 percent. (Corzine also out-slimed Christie in that race by an whopping 106-to-1.)
In all, 20 candidates for the House or Senate in 2002 spent at least $1 million of their own money on their campaigns; 19 of the 20 lost, generally to more experienced candidates.
Even in the rare cases when the deep-pocket candidate wins, it’s not a novelty candidate—unless it’s Minnesota. Michael Bloomberg, the sitting mayor of New York City, spent an astronomical $100 million last year just to win his own office back, outspending his opponent 15-to-1. He squeaked in with 51 percent of the vote—and that was only after Bloomberg passed a massive new tax on voting for his opponent.
So Republicans better have a more impressive reason for picking Linda McMahon than “She’ll spend up to $50 million of her own money.”
But they don’t.
Any half-wit knows Connecticut will not vote for a professional wrestling “impresario” for the U.S. Senate. So unless Republicans have secret information that Blumenthal does enjoy dressing up in diapers, Republicans are forfeiting a Senate seat for no reason.
By contrast, Rob Simmons, who recently suspended his primary campaign against McMahon for lack of money, is a Haverford College graduate, a former Yale professor and an Army colonel. Unlike fantasist Blumenthal, Simmons really did serve in Vietnam, coming home with two Bronze Stars.
And Simmons, who remains on the Aug. 9 primary ballot, can win even in moderate-Republican Connecticut. He’s good on taxes, he’s good on defense—and he’s the best Connecticut is ever going to get.
Simmons was elected to Congress three times from a very liberal Connecticut district, beating an incumbent Democrat in his first run. As a result, he had the distinction of representing the largest number of Democrats of any Republican in the House of Representatives. Even in the dark Republican year of 2006, Simmons lost to his Democratic challenger by only 83 votes.
Instead of sitting around, idly predicting massive Republican landslides this fall, how about Republicans work on running candidates who might actually win?
If only we had some popular former governor, preferably a moose-hunter, whose endorsements are gold … Then we’d show ‘em.