Does the political theater associated with the government shutdown resemble professional wrestling?
Like professional wrestling, we know the outcome before the match ever starts. Like wresting, the combatants take turns at the mike ahead of time blasting the other side. And like professional wrestlers, each combatant has a personal brand that has to be maintained: Barack “Brainiac” Obama; Harry “Cool Hand” Reed; “Fiesty” Michelle Bachman; John “Hold-‘Em Together” Boehner.
And the fans love it. It doesn’t matter that every contest is stage-managed. It looks good. The fans on the right and the left love the overwrought political rhetoric; everyone else seems to enjoy the show, even if it does get repetitive.
A few years ago the link seemed even closer, with ex-wrestler Jesse Ventura on the political stage. His colorful persona and flair for the dramatic belied Minnesota’s normally staid reputation. Jesse “The Body” used political theater to promote a personal agenda without the benefit of an organized party. Performance is power.
As we watch the drama unfolding in Washington now, we should remember: even professional wrestlers in carefully choreographed productions get hurt. And if they’re not careful, they can hurt others as well.
Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
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