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It's about more than money

Published November 07. 2012 4:00AM   Updated November 07. 2012 2:28PM

Money can't buy a Senate seat, at least not when you're a Republican running in a Democratic state, have no prior experience in government and made your fortune in a business that a large portion of the electorate considers unsavory. That seems to be the lesson Republican Linda McMahon should take away from her second straight defeat in a Senate bid.

After spending between $90 million to $100 million of her own personal wealth, the former professional wrestling executive is left with two losses to show for it, this time losing to Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy in the race to replace retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman. Perhaps it is time for her to refocus on her real strength, the entertainment business. If you can't win at politics with that much money it is time to try something else.

The Republican Party might also reconsider the wisdom of going with money over political experience and party loyalty. In 2010 party faithful rejected former Congressman Rob Simmons, a decorated veteran and a moderate with a proven record of winning votes in Connecticut, in favor of the deep-pocketed Ms. McMahon. The result was the election of Sen. Richard Blumenthal. This election the party rejected another former congressman, Chris Shays, with the same results.

With her relentless attacks, Ms. McMahon drove up the negatives of Sen.-elect Murphy. She had some success in smoothing out her image with folksy commercials about her rise from poverty. But she never proved herself to be senatorial and that, combined with the long coattails of President Obama running strong in the state, led to her defeat.

In Washington it is time to start working together to form compromises on deficit reduction, an economic plan, immigration reform and other issues. This does not mean the political parties must sacrifice core principles, but it does mean being willing to bend and search for some common ground, something Republicans in Congress have largely been unwilling to do.

We find cause for optimism in the strong victory Tuesday of Connecticut 2nd District Congressman Joe Courtney, a Democrat who showed that a willingness to reach across the aisle can prove popular. We can only hope that with a bitter election behind the country, more lawmakers in the new Congress will practice the same approach.

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