The Curious Case of Chris Shays

Former US Rep. and US Senate candidate Chris Shays is suffering from a serious case of “I-can’t-believe-I’m-Losing-This-Race Syndrome” and it’s making him cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. Shays just can’t seem to grasp the fact that barring a miracle, he’s going to lose the Republican US Senate primary to free-spending political novice Linda McMahon; and he’s going to lose it big. How in the world can an 21-year congressman lose a spot in the general election to a woman who made her fortune in the nefarious world of professional wrestling and who spent $55 million of that fortune in losing to Democrat Richard Blumenthal two years ago?

All signs point to what should have been a candidacy that had a good chance of at least being the Republican nominee if not Connecticut’s next US Senator. Shays made it clear from the start that McMahon’s wrestling background was fair game. The McMahon camp fumbled it badly, sic’ing the WWE’s lawyers on columnist Chris Powell and his newspaper the Journal Inquirer after Powell characterized the WWE as peddlers of porn. Yet even that didn’t help Shays, not even when the rest of the press circled the wagons around Powell.

One would think Shays was also handed a golden opportunity to gain traction when McMahon decided to collectively flip off the state’s newspapers’ editorial boards. She could afford to; the last Quinnipiac University poll showed McMahon leading by 29 points and more importantly, it showed McMahon would do better in a match up against likely Democratic nominee US Rep. Chris Murphy.

All of this spells doom for the Shays candidacy. However, it’s hard to tell just when Shays started to drink from a tall bottle of crazy. Shays first said he would not support McMahon if she beat him. “I have never run against an opponent that I have respected less — ever — and there are a lot of candidates I have run against,” said Shays. “I thought she was embarrassingly clueless [in the last debate]…You have a candidate who is basically giving the finger to all the editorial boards…She is not willing to come before you and respond to all your questions…She is basically saying … and it is a huge distortion to say, she is out there meeting the public and that is the better way to do it — bull—-,” Shays said. “I think she is a terrible candidate and I think she would make a terrible senator.”

If that wasn’t enough, Shays turned into a full Peach Orchard Squirrel in the Wall Street Journal this past weekend when he was quoted saying of the mood in the country, “The mood is—I want my f—ing country back.” Nice. That’s the way to show you have your personal thing together—drop an F-Bomb in the paper of record for conservatives who will vote in the primary August 14.

Shays has the support of the Republican establishment in Washington, the backing of the state’s largest newspapers, some key players in the Connecticut Republican Party, but not apparently, of the voters.