From 1987 to 2001, Tom Buchanan was WWE's Chief of Photography. Buchanan is responsible for capturing many of WWE's famous images of the years. This past Friday, he posted a blog on Facebook ripping former WWE CEO Linda McMahon and her political aspirations.
The following is an excerpt from the post:
(Caution: Extended POLITICAL POSTING about Connecticut…please do not read any further if politics, and the future direction of our nation offends you.)
It’s time for me to weigh-in on the Connecticut Senate Race in which Linda McMahon is challenging Representative Chris Murphy. If you are a Connecticut voter I hope you will hear me out, and if you find my comments interesting I hope you will share them with your friends and neighbors. I live in Vermont now, but for about 14 years I worked for Linda McMahon at WWF/WWE (1987-2001). She has done well as the CEO of a professional wrestling company, and Linda is nice enough in person, but based on my direct and personal experience I think she would be a terrible selection as a United States Senator. Please let me explain why.
First, we need serious people in the U.S. Senate who have legislative experience and an ability to work quietly to craft compromise legislation. Linda has no such experience. She has worked exclusively as a chief executive at her own company where she is accustomed to telling subordinates what to do, and always getting her way. Compromise is simply not part of Linda’s experience set, and she has made no effort to gain that needed skill and experience. She could have served as a state senator for a few years, or even served as an elected city or county level official, but she doesn’t seem to have an interest in the nitty-gritty skills required of a successful legislator.
Second, we need quiet Senators who have a demonstrated ability to work with others, and not seek personal glory. The United States Senate already has an abundance of famous rich people stoking their egos and unable to get along, or to even try to reach consensus. Linda McMahon is a self-styled celebrity executive worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and that is exactly what we don’t need any more of in Washington.
Third, Linda McMahon has twice sought to purchase the Senate seat by using her extraordinary wealth to buy name recognition and organizational support. In her 2010 campaign she spent a reported $50 million, and she’s spending lavishly again now. In every state there are outstanding legislators who have distinguished themselves over many years, but these experienced and successful legislators have been dissuaded from running for national office by the need to raise vast sums of money to compete with millionaire wannabes. Linda’s approach is troubling because she is using money in place of experience, but also because it intimidates good citizens with relevant experience, driving them away from politics and inflicting long term harm on the democratic process itself.
Forth, Linda McMahon has shown very little business success beyond the wrestling world, and in the wrestling world her success is as much a credit to the creative enterprise of her husband as it is to her own business dealings. Linda’s flagship company, WWF/WWE, has excelled in recent years, but most of her business interests beyond wrestling have failed miserably. WWF/WWE tried to move into professional football by launching the XFL, but even with the buy-in of NBC Television that effort fell flat. She tried to develop a franchise around professional bodybuilding with a company called World Body Building Federation (WBF), but after two years and many millions of dollars, the effort was shuttered as a failure. Part of the bodybuilding project was a TV show called Bodystars and a nutritional supplement called ICOPRO, but both of those side efforts quickly collapsed in an embarrassing pile of financial rubble. Linda also made an effort to break into the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) with two cars and a professional support team, but that lasted just a couple of years before the company slammed head-first into a marketing and financial crash-and-burn. Linda tried to redevelop a hotel complex in Las Vegas as a WWF themed attraction, but there too the company was in over its head, and when the project bogged down Linda shrugged and silently walked away from the expensive fiasco. And Linda took a very hands on approach to creating a restaurant franchise with a splashy flagship in Times Square, but it was an abysmal failure wrought with poor management and embezzlement, and it imploded with a balance sheet dripping brilliant red ink. Linda has even tried to muscle the company into Hollywood movies, but hasn’t had much success in that venue beyond the occasional film driven by wrestling talent and promoted on the existing wrestling programs. In short, Linda McMahon has shown financial success with the core wrestling product, but just about every time she has stepped outside of the wrestling business she has failed miserably. That’s a bad record to bring to the management of the United States of America.
Fifth, WWE has faced near-bankruptcy on several occasions and only made it through the periods of collapse by blind luck, and with the hard work and sacrifice of its staff. It might be alright for an executive to risk the bankruptcy of a business, but we need Senators who won’t risk the bankruptcy of the nation. Linda has shown time and again that she is willing to risk it all, and too often that risk has ended in failure and ruin.
Sixth, when Linda ran for the Senate in 2010 she proudly boasted to her corporate shareholders of slashing the company workforce, while at the same time the company was swimming in profit and the McMahon family was extracting dividends worth tens of millions of dollars. Her long standing loyalty to wealthy shareholders above hard workers is deeply disturbing, and not the kind of leadership that will serve the interests of most Americans.
Seventh, when WWF/WWE shifted from private ownership to a public company valued at more than a billion dollars, Linda granted free stock to family friends, but provided her long time employees with worthless ‘offering price’ options that granted no value whatsoever for their years of hard work. It was those workers who struggled through one downturn after another, and who helped the company claw its way from near bankruptcy to a billion dollars in value, but Linda kept the profits for her own family and gave the workers no piece of the enormous value they had created. Linda has consistently enriched herself at the expense of the workers, and has consistently failed to pass along meaningful value to the line-workers who create that wealth. We need United States Senators who recognize the contributions of workers, and who understand the importance of rewarding work over wealth. Linda is demonstrably not that person.
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